Patrice Rafferty

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Patrice Rafferty
Born (1949-04-13)April 13, 1949
Indianapolis, Indiana
Died February 21, 2016(2016-02-21) (aged 66)
Other names Patty Rafferty
Patrice Swaringen
Spouse Archibald Coolranch (m. 1970–74)
Glenn Swaringen (m. 1983–2016) (her death)
Children Cathryn Swaringen (1985-)
Ariel Swaringen (1990-2014)

Patrice Rafferty (April 13, 1949 - February 21, 2016) was an American entrepreneur and television personality. She was noted for her contributions to the Fantasy telvision industry. Rafferty was dubbed the first media mogul, the enfant terrible of the entertainment industry and fantasy television scene and the godmother of two female anchor teams and the Vote for the Girls format[citation needed]. She had trained hosts and news anchors such as Ava Zinn, Holly Everman, Karly Ryder, Andrea Jameson, Ted Shields, Frank Davidson, and Deborah Ward.

Early life[edit]

Patrice Rafferty was born in Indianapolis and the third of four girls born to Rosa Watlins, a chef, and Marco Rafferty, who had struck up a conversation with Rosa at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while he was betting on who would win the Indianapolis 500.

After Rafferty's parents married in 1954, they lived in a council house near Lawrence, Indiana, and had daughters Shirley (b. 1942), Joanna (b. 1946, also a chef), and Patrice. Four years later, Rosa gave birth to a fourth daughter, Jacqueline, in 1953. Twenty-four years after Patrice's birth, Rosa collapsed and was taken to St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis where she died of a brain hemorage at the age of 56.

Rafferty attended Crispus Attucks High School and graduated in 1967.


After graduating from Crispus Attucks, without any qualifications and decided to train as a journalist, initially at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Aged 18, she began her career at then-CBS station WHOO-FTV (now ABC) in Indianapolis as a general assignment reporter and served as weekend anchor for Eyewitness News 24 (now 24abc Eyewitness News) from 1976 to 1980.

After leaving WHOO, Rafferty founded ATE Media Company Broadcasting (now ATE Media Corporation) and acquired 18 Corithian stations before adding President and chief operating officer (COO) in 1984.

During those years Rafferty had working for her were future Vote for the Girls moderators Franky Zinn (now Ava Zinn), Holly Everman, Robyn Hurd, Leonard Lai (formerly Stephanie Lai), WMRI-FTV anchors Marshall Davidson (died in 2002), Patricia Edwards (retired from WMRI in 2011), Pete Ward, WHOO-FTV anchors Karly Ryder and Ted Shields (retired from WHOO in May 2015), WAWZ-FTV anchorwoman Andrea Jameson, WTXI anchorwomen Cindy Daniels and Deborah Ward among others.

Although Rafferty worked nearly 50 years to pursue her ambition, she ultimately found that, in spite of her accomplishments, recognition and fame, her career did not provide her with adequate returns in her personal life. So, in 2014, she announced her retirement from ATE Media Corporation, which she did on December 17, 2015.

"I was being judged by people who had less knowledge than me, so what was it truly worth? I gave the FCC too much respect, and I belittled myself. I had three options: I could be a prisoner of my world and continue to work seven days a week, I could live a lie and not be behind the scenes or I could retire, spend time with my grandchildren and re-invent myself."

During her early career at ATE Media, Rafferty regularly ejected patrons from watching if Rafferty took offense at their comments. When a viewer that was watching Cleveland's WCOH asked Rafferty to pair two anchormen, a weathergirl, and a female sports director for WCOH's 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts in 1985, Rafferty personally did so, but paid the two anchormen 40 percent less salary and took a trip to the viewer's home and Rafferty kicked the viewer in the crotch. Also a young anchorwoman at then-independent Chicago station WAWZ (now an ABC affiliate), a station Rafferty built and signed on in 1983, who once complained of cold air in WAWZ's newsroom in 1986, she had the female co-anchor do WAWZ's 9 p.m. newscast bundled up for bitter cold temperatures.


Rafferty announced her retirement from the TV industry in October 2014 and stepped down from ATE Media Corporation on December 17, 2015 after 40 years in broadcasting.

Personal life[edit]

Rafferty has been married twice. Her first husband was television exec Archibald Coolranch. Her second husband, Glenn Swaringen, was a meteorologist at WTOR-FTV in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Glenn died on December 21, 2017.

Rafferty met Archibald Coolranch in 1970 at a Chicago nightclub while Rafferty was on a road trip. Within three weeks, Coolranch and Rafferty were engaged. Patrice Rafferty says in a 2013 interview, "I was so intoxicated at Archie's looks that I forgot to think about his personality." Engaged for two months, Coolranch sold the wedding in a deal to Montgomery Ward. The wedding took place at a Chicago church, where Ted Shields was the best man, and Coolranch had forgotten to invite his father and brothers. Rafferty knew the marriage was a mistake when she saw Coolranch's $1,000 tuxedo. Coolranch looked dressed to go down the runway rather than the aisle. Coolranch says of the 15-week marriage (that ended in 1974), "We went to Lake Michigan for our honeymoon. On the first day, Patrice turned to me and said, 'I don't love you.' We spent two miserable days when we didn't speak and she went shark fishing. Then I left." In is one interview about the marriage, Coolranch has hinted that something unspeakable happened on the honeymoon: "Something very bad did happen but I'm not going to say what it was. It really wasn't a pleasant experience for me and my family."

In 1977, Rafferty started a relationship with Glenn Swaringen, a meteorologist, while they were at Market Square Arena for what was Elvis Presely's final concert. Raffery and Swaringen were married on July 4, 1983 and went on to have two daughters: Cathryn (born July 4, 1985) and Ariel (born April 11, 1990 and died March 22, 2014).


On February 21, 2016, Rafferty died from a an allergic reaction after eating macadamia nuts the night before near Fairmount, Indiana while her husband was speeding through Interstate 69 at 100 miles per hour passing a vehicle belonging to Manchester University, which was eventually involved near mile marker 253. Rafferty had reportedly been visiting her daughter Cathryn, who had recently been named chief meteorologist (and the successor of Glenn Swaringen) at WHOO-FTV. Rafferty was pronounced dead at 4:55 a.m. EDT.[1] [2]

In accordance with American journalistic tradition, the public announcement of Rafferty's death was withheld by both the wire services and competitors where ATE Media owns stations,[3] until Rafferty's family had been notified. Retired WHOO anchorman Ted Shields and retired WMRI anchorwoman Patricia Edwards then respectively delivered, live on WHOO and WMRI, the news of her death. [4] The respective Indianapolis and Fort Wayne CBS (WIFX and WTOR, both owned by NoSirGitfs), NBC (WNBI and WFTW, respectively owned by the network and United Broadcasting), and Fox (WIND and WINO+, both owned by DakMedia) stations also interrupted network programming to report Rafferty's death. Kendra Ray and Kymberly Alvaraz reported the news for WTOR, Kathy Roberts for WIFX, Neil Zachary reported for WNBI, Melinda Long reported for WFTW, Clyde Lemon reported for both WIND and WINO, and Patrick Artem for Indianapolis CW affiliate WEVI.

The cause of death was not immediately known.[1][5] It was later ruled by the coroner to have been "natural causes".

Rafferty had an invitation-only memorial on Friday, February 26, 2016, at the Brookhaven Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana. The service was scheduled for two hours, but lasted four.[6] Rafferty was buried on Monday, February 28, 2016, in Grant Memorial Park, in Marion, Indiana next to her daughter, Ariel.


On the evening of her death, the entire, nearly commercial-free hour of the Sunday 6 p.m. newscasts on WHOO and WMRI were dedicated to Rafferty's memory. Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and first Lady Cheri Daniels released a joint statement saying Rafferty "had a love of public service and a dedication to journalism that rightfully earned Patrice Rafferty the respect and admiration of not only her colleagues but also those of us who had the privilege to go toe to toe with her." Many of her colleagues in both newspaper and television reporting also offered tribute to Rafferty in this and other programs.[7]Other major news agencies in Indiana, including CBS affiliates (WXSB South Bend, WWKI Lafayette, WJDO Dayton, WCIL Chicago, and WKJM Louisville), ABC affiliates (WTXI South Bend, WLFY Lafayette, WOWO Dayton, WAWZ Chicago, and WLOK Louisville), Fox affiliates (WSBI South Bend, WLIN Lafayette, WOCB Dayton, WQCI Chicago, and WKYI Louisville) and NBC affiliates (WTSB South Bend, WQLI Lafayette, WDOH Dayton, WMAC Chicago, and WKLX Louisville) spent large segments of their programming on February 21 reporting about Rafferty's life and career.[8] Former protegee Holly Everman stated in a episode of Vote for the Girls: "Indiana lost a really fine citizen last week when Patrice Rafferty passed away. I’ve had the privilege of being her mentor for many years. I found her to be a hardworking, thorough, decent woman. And Patrice Rafferty loved the State of Indiana, she loved her family, and she loved her job a lot." On the February 22, 2008, episode of The Kathy Finklemyre Show, Finklemyre simply walked onto the stage at the start of the show. Instead of her usual monologue, Finklemyre announced that she had just received news about the sudden death of her good friend, competitor and frequent guest Patrice Rafferty. Finklemyre proceeded to show two clips of her favorite Rafferty moments on her show.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Longtime 9abc owner Patrice Rafferty has died". WMRI-FTV (9abc). February 21, 2016. 
  2. Ray, Kendra (February 21, 2016). "WMRI owner Patrice Rafferty dies from allergy reaction". WTOR-FTV CBS 41. 
  3. From Neil Zachary on NBC 18 Weekend Today in Indiana, February 21, 2016 broadcast
  4. "Patrice Rafferty dead at 66". WIFX-FTV. February 21, 2016. 
  5. Ryder (Sr.), Karly (February 22, 2016). "Patrice Rafferty, Founder and Owner of ATE Media Corporation, Dies at 66". 24abc Eyewitness News. 
  6. Hill, Eboni. "Patrice Rafferty Funeral: WHOO Owner Laid to Rest". WHOO-FTV (ABC). 
  7. "ABC 24 WHOO remembers Rafferty on Eyewitness News since her death". WHOO-FTV (ABC). February 21, 2016. 
  8. "Reactions to Patrice Rafferty's death". WMRI-FTV (ABC). 
  9. "Kathy Finklemyre Pays Tribute to Patrice Rafferty". 

External Links[edit]

Template:Patrice Rafferty