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Early southern Illinois radio-TV personality Erv Coppi dies

November 17, 2018

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — One of southern Illinois’ earliest and best-known radio and TV stars has died.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that Erv Coppi died this week at 92.

Longtime friend Joey Helleny says everyone in southern Illinois knew Coppi from the 1960s through the ’80s.

Coppi was a World War II veteran and college graduate when he started at WFRX in West Frankfort. He covered the December 1951 Orient #2 coal mine explosion which killed 119.

His biggest radio hit came when he moved to WGGH in Marion. He simulated a live audience for “Egyptian Ballroom” and announced each big-band record as if the artist were live.

He joined public television station WSIU in 1969. “Uncle Erv” hosted “Movie Night” and used an encyclopedic knowledge to introduce classic and horror films.

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