Bonds of Friendship

Friends of Robin De Wind share special moments

By Mike Costanza

Television viewers who watched Robin De Wind cover the news for many years might not have known that she’s not all business.

“She’s a lot of fun, and always has been a big sports fan,” says Tracy Tomalty Frank, a longtime friend.

Frank met De Wind back in 1983, when both were students at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford. De Wind majored in communications and Frank in accounting, but different career goals didn’t prevent them from becoming friends. They even roomed together for a time.

“She was warm, outgoing,” Frank says. “Someone who carried on a great conversation and always wanted to know a lot about people.”

De Wind also had great taste in music.

“I think I went to my first Earth, Wind and Fire concert with her in Rochester, probably back in 1983,” Frank explains.

Frank went on to become a certified public accountant, and lives with her family in the Syracuse suburb of DeWitt. De Wind stayed in the Rochester area — she now lives in Fairport — and spent decades in television news. Frank watched her career grow.

“She had a great career, and it was very fun visiting her, because she was clearly a celebrity around Rochester,” Frank explains.

De Wind went on to found the Robin De Wind Media Group, is divorced, and has joined her ex-husband in parenting their daughter.

These days, the two old friends get together a couple of times a year to share a good dinner. They often talk about their daughters — Frank has two in college and De Wind’s is in the ninth grade.

“I’ve gone through a lot of the things that she’s going through now,” Frank said.

Cutting the rug

On occasion, the two have even headed out to a dance floor.

“She’s a very good dancer,” Frank added.

Pam Smith first ran into De Wind in 1992. At that time, she was producing a weekend news program at WROC-TV.

“It was my first television job, so I was pretty much in awe of how everything was working,” she says. “I remember her just being whip-smart.”

The two developed a friendship that has lasted to this day.

“We shared several things in common,” Smith said. “We both loved movies and sports. We both enjoy a nice dinner; we always have steak and a glass of wine.”

One time, the two friends decided to have a tailgate party at a Buffalo Bills-New England Patriots game, complete with dinner cooked in the stadium’s parking lot. Though some might have grilled hot dogs, De Wind threw on steaks. Neighboring tailgaters were impressed.

“Robin cooked the steaks on a small grill in the dark,” Smith says. “She can cook a mean steak!”

Both of the friends have gone through changes down through the years. Smith is the producer of WHAM-TV’s 5 p.m. news, married and a mother of two sons, and De Wind’s career and life have changed in important ways. Despite all that, they still appear to share many of the same interests — they enjoy movies so much that when they get together, they throw quotes from films to each other.

“One of our ‘bucket list’ trips would be to California to sit in the stands of the Academy Awards,” the Livonia resident says. “I hope we do.”