Elisa Distefano is a groundbreaking entertainment journalist who charms her TV audience with her larger than life persona and enormous range of talent. Known for anchoring News12 Long Island’s morning show, the vibrant newscaster provides millions of viewers with up to the minute traffic reports and breaking entertainment news live from the network’s studio. Elisa’s diverse position at the Woodbury station enables her to simultaneously host and produce a variety of feature segments which are taped daily on location. When Elisa is not working for the cable station, she can be found writing and blogging for websites and numerous Long Island publications.
Aside from Elisa’s amazing journalistic achievements, she is also a devoted wife, a new mom, and a promising entrepreneur. In 2014, Elisa married Mo Cassara, an on-air college basketball commentator for ESPN and CBS Sports, and together they have a 10 month old son, Christian Thomas. The dynamic duo not only shares the same strong work ethic and love for broadcasting, but they also enjoy working together outside of their roles in the media. They own two restaurants located in Point Lookout-The Point Ale House which is a community bar and grill, and Mo’Nelisa an Italian family style eatery that caters to the local residents.
Elisa’s passion for her broadcasting work at News12 Long Island is demonstrated through her boundless enthusiasm apparent on- air every day. In fact, nothing seems to interfere with her performance and effort, not even lack of sleep. Elisa says she manages to function with very little rest caused by sleepless nights caring for her baby and early mornings waking up for work. “My son is teething so I use the term sleeping loosely,” Elisa explains laughing. “I don’t know if I actually sleep. I just take little naps. I get up at 2:00 AM and I arrive at work at 3:30 AM. Once I get to work I immediately begin editing or writing scripts. We are on the air from 5:00 to 9:00 AM, and after the live show I usually tape packages until 9:30 AM.”
As soon as Elisa finishes broadcasting in the studio, she hits the road with her camera crew and appears virtually anywhere and everywhere taping feature segments on countless topics from food to fashion. Elisa tapes on location all over Long Island and New York City interviewing A-list celebrities from red carpets at the most prestigious movie premieres and concerts in Manhattan, to society’s most influential celebrity-hosted events in the Hamptons. “The toughest part of my day is getting to work and getting on-air. Once the show goes live then it is easy. People often ask me when I’ll be finished with work, and I say when my work is finished.”
Although Elisa spends much of her time outside of News 12 Long Island supervising her two restaurants and contributing feature editorials to various publications, she still manages to volunteer time to numerous causes including her own charity event, the Sneakers and Sandals Ball. Proceeds from the event go to Long Island Cares, an organization which provides emergency food relief for Long Island. This summer the Sneakers and Sandals Ball will be held on Tuesday, August 1st at Buoy Bar in Point Lookout. For more information and to purchase tickets go to licares.org/sneakersandsandalls.