MEMORIES OF PAT SUMMERALL
by Harvey Hauptman
retired WCBS anchor/reporter/writer
With the exception of the obituary posted on the Appreciation site, nothing has been made of Pat Summerall's early days at WCBS Radio. Even that obituary made what I believe was a mistake, saying, "Summerall started announcing games for WCBS radio in New York ..." As I remember it, we didn't broadcast any games that Pat worked on. We did carry Yankees baseball, but no other games. The obituary also says Pat joined CBS in 1962 as a part-time analyst. Pat did network radio spots on a daily basis during the football season. As I recall, Phil Rizzuto took over in the baseball season.
Anyway, the obituary says Pat "was WCBS's morning man before the station went all news," neglecting to say what Pat was actually doing. He was the host of the show that had been Jack Sterling's spot on the schedule and, as Pat later told me, "I was a disk jockey who didn't know anything about music." But, with a very able staff -- John Chanin was the producer -- Pat was billed as "Super Summerall." The program's hokiness also referred to the two helicopter pilots covering traffic each morning as "Wilbur" and "Orville." Unfortunately, I don't remember their real names.
Summerall in Giants "88" Jersey -- but in a twist of fate he became part of the Newsradio 88 team
Charlie Osgood and I did the news cut-ins during the program and later I became the guy doing five early morning sports reports -- according to a promotional piece the station put out -- "showcased within the framework of the Pat Summerall program." The release went on to say, "Following each report, Harvey and Pat Summerall engage in a bit of light conversation which adds spontaneity and informality and contributes to 'open end' flavor of these reports" Really!! It was mostly "jock talk" and on Fridays would go on for quite some time while Pat and I made our picks for the week's college and pro football games.
With the advent of the all news format, the Daily News of August 21, 1967 reported, "Pat Summerall will continue on the WCBS-Radio payroll as Director of Sports. His morning show is being dropped at the end of the month in the station's switch to news. But he'll continue to be heard on its wavelengths. The ex-grid star is going to team with Harvey Hauptman for 12 sports reports each weekday."
And that we did -- Pat during the morning and I in the evenings. We had our own private office with Mike Palmer and later Jack McDonogh providing writing help and Mary Lou Shiels as administrative assistant/secretary. Pat was involved in TV coverage of NFL games on the weekends. That arrangement lasted for the first year of the all-news format. A close look at the budget when the year was up put an end to that sports arrangement. Everyone went back to other staff jobs. Pat and I worked very well together. He was easy-going, self-effacing with a fine sense of humor. He wasn't what you might call a "typical sports or nothing ex-jock." He had a master's degree in Russian history and was very much interested in what was going on in the world. He was a pleasure to know and I'm proud to say he and I were colleagues and friends
Bold Gold Media Group, Scranton, PA
To add a small footnote to the wonderful piece Harvey Hauptman wrote about his days with Pat Summerall at NEWSRADIO 88. And to fill in that brief period when the 88 management team were hoping to develop Pat into a DJ/morning show host.
Jack Sterling left WCBS. I stayed on as a newsroom "gofer," clearing the wires.. writing Traffic. weather.... fill stuff. One day the Program Director, Jim McQuade, brought Pat to my desk in the Newsroom and said: "Bob, I'd like you to meet Pat Summerall. Do you think you could prepare sports reports for Pat to use in his new show?" For the next six months I'd drive in from my home in Conn, arriving at CBS at 4:30A to bang out scores and highlights for Pat.
When Jack Sterling hooked up with WHN, I left CBS to join Jack at WHN. I can't recall a single moment I did not enjoy my brief time with Pat.
Don't remember the real names of Wilber and Orville either, Harvey. But the first Chopper 88 pilot was a guy named Bob Richardson from Cleveland, as I recall.
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