Thursday, April 02, 2009

Anchors away

Local TV news is seeing the end of its big-money anchor era. In New York, local legend sportscaster Len Berman is retiring after 25 years or so. We worked with Len at WNBC, and were there for his first sportscast at News 4 New York. The combination of Len and Marv Albert, the hardest working man in show business, was unbeatable even among the giants they faced in competition. We've been away from NYC for a while now, and it's odd to see a photo of Len looking, well, old. We recall Len as a real sweet guy, were there for his first "Spanning The World" clip segment (and always wanted to tell him that "Spanning the Globe" sounded better) and remember how, in the studio he'd always bare his upper row of teeth to get his smile on before he began his sportscast. Good guy.

And meanwhile in Los Angeles, long tall pinstriped Paul Moyer, a dedicated and totally Angeleno newscaster on KNBC (as in NYC, the "classiest" local news operation), has announced his retirement. Moyer is known worldwide for the recorded spat he had with a female co-anchor (above) which is said to have inspired Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy. We see Moyers around town, or riding in the Fourth of July parade.

This, of course, is only the beginning. The economy, technology and information access have conspired to end this era of big hair and big salaries. Expect to see many more familiar local news giants-- real reporting journos who write their own copy like like Len and pompous TelePrompter reading talking heads alike-- fold up their tents and hand over the reins to the 20-somethings. Time marches on. And we're still figuring out Twitter.

*UPDATE: Our Man Elli in Israel, a veteran NYC sports journalist, adds:

"I never worked with Len, but would see him around the locker rooms and clubhouses, and in the press rooms of New York sports teams. He was a genuine good guy, who never took himself seriously but took his job seriously, and in that he was excellent-- knew his stuff, and presented it in a way that made non-sports fans listen-- and enjoy. He ranks up there with
Bill Mazer among the N.Y. sports journalist Hall of Famers. And hey, whatever happened to Bill?"

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