I am diminished.
One of the most listenable "sports talk" radio personalities I've ever had to pleasure of tuning into, passed away today at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut, ten days shy of his 93rd birthday.
Bill Mazer was, in fact, "the father of New York sports talk radio," in 1964 launching a "late drive" call-in show over WNBC (660 am, now WFAN) that single-handedly moved me off AM Rock 'n' Roll1 and kept my car radio dial on the same station for the past 48 years.
And if I was at a friend's place in Manhattan listening to his program, I'd try like crazy to call him... never to correct him, but to add something to a subject on which he was discoursing.
To my eternal frustration, I was never able to get through to Mazer!
It wasn't 'til he moved to WNYW (née WNEW-TV) when news anchor Johnny Roland... who'd earlier nicknamed him "The Amazin'" for his encyclopedic recall of sports arcana... tried to stump him with a question that I'd submitted, that I ever got close.
(Roland botched the form of the question and had to give him the answer, so I can't claim to have actually "Stumped The Amazin'!")
It's difficult to find a "sports talk" host today... Dan Patrick might come close... with the ineffable sunny disposition and patience with his callers2 as that of Bill Maser.
He was endlessly entertaining and I shall continue to miss3 his delightful presence on the airwaves and the way he signed off every program:
"Good night my friends, it's been a pleasure."
No, Bill, the pleasure was all ours!
Sorry I botched the question Dean. But hey, not to many people can say they stumped Bill. He truly was Amazin'. It was an honor to sit by his side for 20 years. He always told me he wanted to "die behind a microphone." He came close.
Like to know what that hump Raissman had against him.
Mazer was a gentleman, respectful of all his callers, even youngsters. His knowledge of sports was incredible. I remember when the Knicks drafted a point guard out of Southern Illinois by the name of Walt Frazier. Mazer declared that the Knicks would be a 30% better team with Frazier bringing up the ball. The rest is history. I also recall a competitive radio show with Art Rust, Jr. but his personality was somewhat abrasive. I also read in today's Newsday that Mazer's first radio job was in Buffalo, a job Marty Glickman helped him get.
Mazer always acknowledged Glickman for his help.
I wish it had been only twice!
Miss you Dean, as well as my favorite village in the world. Thank Goodness for your blog.
I heard of his passing on the radio, missed the obit.
Did he do a Sunday night show called "Sports Extra?" Recall he was doing weekly TV hockey games, CBS?
And yes, he did hockey for CBS as well.
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