First published, December 2012
To my treasured friends and colleagues:
It was 50 years ago today, December 4, 1962, that I worked my first copy-boy shift in the legendary WNEW newsroom. It took me another 12 years, but I finally got a regular air shift, and made it to morning drive on the FM station before I left the premises for NBC on Christmas Eve 1981. In between, I played leading or supporting roles in the coverage of some amazing news stories, covered as only WNEW could cover them. I was the night editor when Apollo XIII blew up on the way to the moon. I was at Hugh Carey’s election headquarters for his stunning upset of Howard Samuels in the 1974 Democratic gubernatorial primary. I covered the Republican, Liberal, and Conservative candidates for mayor on Election Night 1977 — all of them!! I was at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on the night the Franklin National Bank failed — the biggest bank failure in U.S. history to that point. I was on the air for the 1977 blackout, when it turned out our emergency generator was out of gas, ad-libbing for 47 minutes while John Zarpaylic built a battery-powered studio around me. My picture was on the media page of the 1975 and 1976 New York Mets yearbooks. And none of it would have been possible had it not been for you. Thank you for those wonderful years at the greatest of all radio stations. It was certainly better than working.
(a follow-up e-mail from Mike Eisgrau)
But Drew—you’re only 32!
So that’s one helluva accomplishment.
Ironically—2012 has marked my 50th year in broadcasting and public relations. As a grad student in the Medill Journalism School at Northwestern I needed money —and so, besides playing cocktail piano at a local lounge, I worked the overnight shift at WGN, later switching to WLS and working with my grad school classmate, Mort Crim.
It was Mort who paved the way for me to come back to my hometown and the great WNEW Radio News—for the next 24 years, 2 months, 11 days and 10 minutes before the newsroom folded from under us. But I, like you, will always remember the glory days of WNEW News as the high point of my career. And your professionalism and friendship—as well as that of the great professional family with whom I was priveleged to work.
All the best—happy holidays and a great New Year to you Andy and all of you.