NBC10’s own Vai Sikahema was honored last night by the Broadcast Pioneers. Vai was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame during an award ceremony at the Hilton Hotel on City Avenue in Wynnefield Heights.
Born in Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga, in 1962, Vai moved to America at the age of 7. He attended Brigham Young University where he played football and earned a degree in Broadcast Journalism. While playing with BYU, he helped the Cougars win the national championship in 1984 and is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame.
Vai also enjoyed a successful NFL career as a running back and kickoff returner from 1986 to 1993, including two years with the Eagles. During his career, he was selected to two Pro Bowls and is among the NFL’s all-time leaders in number of punt returns and second in punt return yardage.
Football wasn’t the only sport Vai excelled at. Growing up, he wanted to be a professional boxer and boxed at an amateur level for several years. He fought against former baseball player Jose Canseco in a memorable celebrity boxing match back in 2008, winning by first round knockout. Vai ended up donating his winnings to the family of Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski, a fallen Philadelphia Police Officer.
Vai joined NBC10 in 1994. He serves as our Sports Director and also co-anchors our afternoon newscast, showcasing his versatile skills as both a sports reporter and news anchor.
During his career with NBC10, Vai has covered several Olympic games as well as all of the city’s local sports teams. Vai also hosts our weekly “Wednesday’s Child” segments, our program which promotes the adoption of children from our area. In 2011, he was honored by the Congressional Caucus of Adoption in Washington, D.C. for his work with the program.
Vai won two Emmys for his work in television. He also won the Deseret News President’s Award in Salt Lake City, Utah back in 2012 for his weekly column, “Vai’s View.”
Vai currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, Keala. The two serve in leadership positions in their church and are also active in Boys Scouts of America as well as the United Way, dedicating their lives to finding forever homes for at-risk children through adoption.
Despite his many personal and professional accomplishments, including the recent hall of fame induction, Vai remains humble and thanked those who helped him throughout his career.
“I never really took any classes in broadcasting college.,” Vai said. “So all the people who have taught me television are all the people here at NBC10. The producers, the photographers, everyone here has really taught me journalism. I appreciate that so much. I try hard and I work hard. I love the job.”
The entire NBC10 family congratulates Vai for a job well done!