Category Archives: Obituaries

Gabe Pressman, New York Broadcasting Giant, Dead at 93

Legend and icon, words that are commonly misused and overused. But they could have been written just for Gabe Pressman. The Bronx native was 93. He was a fixture at WNBC for decades, getting a lifetime contract with his second stint in 1980.

The pioneering broadcaster is credited as the first street reporter in New York, when he joined WNBC in 1956.

“Gabe was the real deal!” Sue Simmons, his longtime WNBC colleague, remembers. “There was no one more respected in our newsroom. In my moments of insecurity, he was always gently supportive.”

Along the way, he interviewed mayors, governors and presidents. Pressman would do just that, “pressing” his subjects to answer for a hard-hitting story and becoming a leading proponent for the First Amendment.

There was plenty of shock in 1972 when Pressman switched channels to WNEW (now WNYW).

Former News Director Ted Kavanau got word from his general manager Larry Fraiberg that Pressman liked the Ten O’Clock News.

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Tuned In Exclusive: Lisa Colagrossi’s Husband Says Morning Shift Was ‘Contributing Factor’ to Her Death

11081013_402089466636141_5445076497163986496_nIt’s been a month since the WABC-TV family lost Lisa Colagrossi. But the ones really dealing with the tragedy are her husband of 17 years, Todd Crawford, and her two boys.

Crawford, in an exclusive conversation with Tuned In, says he’s overwhelmed by the support from the broadcasting industry.

“It was very comforting and very touching,” Crawford says. “What we knew before all of this happened is how important that she was to us. But what we didn’t realize was how special she was to a lot of other people around the country.”

While Crawford is so appreciative of the condolences, he recognizes it can only provide temporary support.

“We’ll never replace someone like Lisa. We would need four people to replace one Lisa; that’s how much she meant to our family.”

Colagrossi died suddenly from a brain aneurysm after working on a story in Queens for the morning newscast on Channel 7.  Crawford says the medical problem is genetic, but Colagrossi had no symptoms and there was no a family history.

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Tributes for Veteran Business Anchor Ken Prewitt, Dead at 68

Ken-PrewittKen Prewitt, a man who brought his strong knowledge of financial news to radio and TV for decades, has died. He was battling brain cancer since 2012. Prewitt was 68.

In command of his copy, Prewitt was known for long stints providing business news updates on various stations, primarily WCBS 880, first with Wall Street Journal Radio, then through Money Magazine.

During the last decade, Prewitt redefined his spot as one of the best business broadcasters, bringing his booming voice to Bloomberg Radio in 2005, serving as morning host for much of that time until his illness forced a leave in 2013.

Veteran broadcaster Janice Kirkel shares a unique perspective on Prewitt, having worked together at Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

“Ken was someone you could talk about absolutely anything with — not just business news, but theater, history, politics, music,” Kirkel, a WFAN update anchor, tells Tuned In. “He always had great stories to tell and a great sense of humor.”

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Colleagues Cope with Loss of Lisa Colagrossi

11081013_402089466636141_5445076497163986496_nFriends and co-workers are in mourning after the stunning death of Lisa Colagrossi. The veteran Channel 7 reporter died from a brain hemorrhage after covering a story Thursday morning. She was 49.

Longtime WABC-TV anchor Bill Ritter says what most close to Colagrossi are feeling.

“We are all crushed, devastated,” Ritter tells Tuned In. “Lisa was the ultimate pro, and set the bar for how to work hard and effectively as both an immersed reporter and an immersed mom and spouse. I’m filled with sorrow, but also with joy for having known her.”

A familiar face since joining WABC in 2001, at home Colagrossi was hockey mom to her two sons.

In a statement, Dave Davis, President and GM at WABC, says, “All of us in the Channel 7 family are in shock over her sudden death, Our attention is now focused on helping her husband and two children through this difficult time.”

After finishing her morning shift covering a Queens house fire, Colagrossi collapsed in the news van and was rushed to the hospital. Unable to regain consciousness, she died Friday morning.

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Channel 7 Reporter Lisa Colagrossi Dies From Aneurysm

wabc_bio_lisacolagrossi_160x200Lisa Colagrossi, well respected within the walls of WABC-TV and among her many peers, died after suffering a brain aneurysm while on a story Thursday in Queens.

Tuned In learned the family made the painful decision to remove Colagrossi from life support Friday morning. She was 49.

She worked the early shift on Eyewitness News This Morning to spend more time with her boys, ages 11 and 15.

Colagrossi joined Channel 7 in September 2001, freelancing just days after the 9/11 attacks.

One good friend and local broadcaster describes Colagrossi as “kind, generous, and a women’s woman in a business that is tough for women to be together.”

Perhaps shocked, the station did not air a tribute Friday. Many colleagues, however, turned to Twitter and Facebook to grieve.

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Fond Memories of Veteran Radio Programmer, Kevin Metheny, But Not for Howard Stern

methenyTo millions of Howard Stern fans, Kevin Metheny will forever be “Pig Vomit,” his character
in the 1997 autobiographical film Private Parts, played by Paul Giamatti. (Stern called him “Pig Virus” in real life.)

While Metheny never worked in New York City after being fired from WNBC, he did build a deep resume as a go-to radio programmer in numerous markets.

Metheny died Friday night of a heart attack while on the job as operations manager at Cumulus’ KGO and KSFO in San Francisco.

Stern this week referred to his former boss as a “Nazi vampire.” Although he was sad to learn of Metheny’s death and that he leaves behind two daughters, Stern is not sure he “ever fully recovered” from the way Metheny ran WNBC.

Stern was hired as afternoon personality in 1982. Private Parts documents Stern’s journey to becoming New York’s top rated DJ.

In 2012, marking the 30th anniversary of Stern’s arrival, Metheny told me that the movie and book were not gospel.

“I think [there’s] a fair and appropriate amount of artists’ liberties taken with factual elasticity in order to make a more interesting project,” Metheny said.

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Death of WCBS Reporter John Slattery Shocks Colleagues

johnslattery1He was a consumate pro, who was one of the great New York TV street reporters. John Slattery passed away suddenly early Thursday. Tuned In has learned that the veteran WCBS-TV reporter died of an apparent heart attack in his sleep. A spokesperson could not confirm his cause of death. He was 63. His death comes just hours after filing a story for the station.

His death stunned colleagues and competitors alike.

“We are saddened by the unexpected passing of our friend and colleague John Slattery… He was great at reporting the news and was someone we counted on to cover big stories for us, both here in New York and around the world,” Peter Dunn, WCBS President and GM, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s wife, Suzie, and their children and grandchildren.”

During a legendary 35-year run in New York City, Slattery intersected with some of the most famous anchors the market ever saw. After a stint at Philly’s WCAU, Slattery reached the big time when Eyewitness News came calling in 1979. He spent five years with WABC, where Roger Grimsby and Bill Beutel still ruled the roost. The station also added Ernie Anastos and Tom Snyder while Slattery was pounding the pavement. While there, he was part of Channel 7’s John Lennon assassination coverage. In 1981, Slattery made history as the first reporter to conduct a post-Watergate interview with former president Richard Nixon.

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Breaking: WCBS Veteran Repoter John Slattery Dead of Heart Attack

johnslattery1He was there for the biggest stories during a career than spanned more than 30 years in New York. John Slattery died of an apparent heart attack overnight, Tuned In has confirmed. He was believed to be 63 or 64.  Slattery was a fixture at WCBS, joining Channel 2 in October 1984. The general assignment correspondent covered everything from Superstorm Sandy to the Miracle on the Hudson, and of course, the 9/11 attacks.

Prior to that, Slattery spent five years on the street at WABC-TV during the Roger Grimsby/Bill Beutel era.

Slattery was a four-time local Emmy Award winner.

More details to follow.

Photo: WCBS-TV

Remembering a Legendary Voice, Don Pardo Dies at 96

PardoHis deep voice was a throwback to the era of old time radio staff announcers. Don Pardo didn’t start his career welcoming viewers week after week to Saturday Night Live. It just seems that way. Pardo began a lifetime gig with the Peacock Network in 1944. Seventy years later he was still at the mic for SNL.

Pardo died Monday at age 96.

As Pardo joined the roster on radio, NBC and General David Sarnoff were experimenting with television. His voice would become even more popular on the burgeoning medium.

Pardo’s personality made him a go-to-guy among the NBC stable of voices for game show duty. He was announcer on the original Price Is Right and Jeopardy!. But as the latter ended its 11-year run in 1975, Pardo got another boost as SNL started later that year.

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Veteran WINS Reporter Stan Brooks Dies at 86

Steve and Stan

Brooks (r) with WCBS 880 anchor Steve Scott at the New York Press Club holiday party on December 9, 2013.

Stan Brooks was an original voice of 1010 WINS. He was a reporter, for many years at City Hall, decades on all-news 1010 WINS. Brooks, who predated the station’s format change on April 19, 1965, died today likely from complications due to lung cancer. He would have been 87 next month.

News director Ben Mevorach tells Tuned In that Brooks died at his Manhattan home surrounded by family.

“While we grieve for the loss of this great man, please bear in mind that Stan was ready for this,” Mevorach says. “He left with no regrets, he left knowing he was beloved and he left with the comfort of knowing that his children and their children knew how much he loved them.”

But, one special love of Brooks’ life belonged to his late wife Lynn.

“No man ever loved a woman more than Stan loved Lynn. He saw his own death not as an end but as a time when he would be able to rejoin Lynn and simply continue on with the sixty year love affair that they had shared on earth, ” Mevorach adds.

Earlier this month, the City Hall radio room was renamed in Brooks’ honor.

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