An Honest Lesson From The Broadcast Booth
Aug 02, 2017Posted by james

A few weeks ago, we lost a sports broadcasting legend. Bob Wolff’s career spanned almost 80 years. He called Don Larsen’s perfect World Series game, the greatest football game ever played—the 1958 National Football League championship game—and the two titles for the New York Knicks.

Bob was cited by the Guinness World Records as having the longest career of any sports broadcaster. He started during 1939 while a student and former baseball player at Duke University. He continued until early this year with our News 12 Long Island. During this span of time, Bob preserved a large amount of tape—about 1,000 hours of video and audio recordings—that included interviews with Jim Thorpe, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Joe Louis. He donated the tapes to the Library of Congress.

Throughout Bob’s life both on and off the air, he touched and helped many people along the way. The tributes shared during his life and since his passing indicate that he always carried himself with class and honesty.

Bob once broadcast a professional basketball game when he was not even in the arena. Bad weather prevented him from flying to Cincinnati for a Knicks game that was to be telecast on Channel 9. So, he worked the game from a television monitor while sitting in the station’s studio on the 83rd floor in Manhattan. As he told the story years later, Bob said that he did not want to make a public confession that he was not at the game, but “journalistic honesty compelled me to make an acknowledgement that circumstances were different.” He told the television audience that while the game was coming from Cincinnati the audio was transmitted from the WOR-TV studios high up in the Empire State Building.

Striving for honesty and integrity is an important lesson that requires the full attention of today’s journalists and broadcasters. For those of us in business, we, too, regularly must remind ourselves about these attributes. Without honesty and integrity, who would want to work with and for any of us?

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