Kevin Hunsperger wants to be known as just a regular guy — someone no different than other Southern Illinoisans. Of course, that is a little difficult when thousands of people in the region recognize him as co-anchor of WSIL-TV’s “News 3 This Morning.”
Still, he says he is just like those that watch him on television.
“I’m just an ordinary guy,” Hunsperger, 44, said. “Up until three months ago, I drove a minivan. I take my kids to sports practices and I sit there and I do my own grocery shopping.”
He says while many Southern Illinoisans know him, he wants to be more than a local television personality.
“I would just as soon be known for the other things I do. I guess that’s part of using my status on TV to have an avenue to do these other things,” he said.
And Hunsperger gets invited to do lots of other things. He is a frequent emcee for charitable causes ranging from fundraisers or American Cancer Relay for Life events to performing comedy in the annual Hospice of Southern Illinois Red Carpet Gala.
“I typically don’t say ‘no’ to requests,” he said. "If I can give back in some way, I will. With the station, there is sort of a suggestion that you be involved, but I want to give back by helping with events, helping to promote things or doing something else, I do what I can.”
Before agreeing to lend a hand to a charitable event, the Carterville resident says he always considers his family first — Hunsperger and his wife of 20 years, Lisa, have three children — and, of course, he has to keep his work and sleep schedule in mind as well.
“The most popular question I get is, ‘What time do you get up?’" he said in regards to his daily 5:30 a.m. broadcast. “I get up at 1:25 a.m. and then the follow-up question asks when do I go to bed. With three kids, it’s tough, but I try to be in bed by 8:30. Some nights it’s 9 and some nights it’s 7:30. I do try to nap, too.”
Hunsperger has kept his early bedtime since becoming morning co-anchor in 2004. Originally from the St. Louis area, he graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in media studies. Working as a behind-the-camera staff member at St. Louis’ KMOV-TV, he says he began asking lots of questions and being mentored by more seasoned broadcasters. That led to an on-air job at a small television station in northern Alabama. When the station stopped doing newscasts, he spent four years on the air in West Lafayette, Indiana. Longing to be closer to home, Hunsperger was persistent in pursuing opportunities in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois, landing a reporter’s spot at WSIL in 2004. Just a few months later, he was in the morning co-anchor’s chair, a spot he’s held ever since.
He says his position and tenure opens lots of doors to service.
“Sometimes I wonder if I am only being asked (to be involved) because I am at WSIL,” he said. “While I think part of it is because of that, I also think that after 13 years, I am really part of the community now.”
One of his biggest passions is promoting health and wellness. He’s been co-chair of the Southern Illinois Men’s Health Conference since 2008 and he is very proud of the way the event has grown and matured.
“The conference evolved into the Southern Illinois Men’s Expo and in 2018 it will be the Southern Illinois Wellness Expo — we are merging the women’s, men’s and teen conferences all together,” he said. “I am the president of what is now known as Southern Illinois Wellness, previously known as Women for Health and Wellness. When we started the men’s event, I was asked to be on the board and it’s been several years and evolved into the presidency.
"It’s something I really enjoy. Health and Wellness is important to me,” Hunsperger, an avid runner, added.
He says his involvement in so many activities actually pushes him out of a comfort zone.
“People don’t believe this, but I am introverted and I need to get warmed up and comfortable in a setting. I think people sometimes confuse the introvertedness with snobbiness or being stuck up because I’ve been told that people think I don’t like them. That’s not the case, but in a social setting, I’m not the guy to walk up to someone and start a conversation. Even after 20 years in television, I have trouble approaching people and initiating contact,” he said. “I do like to give back, but it puts me out there and I want to be out there in Southern Illinois. I want to help. This is home.”