I had lunch with Bob Hardt today. Bob and I have so many friends in common it’s amazing we hadn’t met until today.
It’s funny how age difference shrinks as you get older. Back when I was finishing high school, Bob came to New York City where he anchored news on WABC Radio and later the ABC Contemporary Network.
I’m not sure he knew it at the time, but he came to what was America’s most influential radio station. WABC was a blowtorch. There will never be another station like it.
He sounds exactly the same. Based on the on-air kidding he used to get about being thin, his shape hasn’t changed either.
We swapped stories and commiserated about radio’s death at the hand of corporations. That part’s sad. We both love what radio was. It was a huge part of our lives.
Mostly it was a good time… a chance to connect with someone I should have known for years. And, I now have a new friend in Palm Springs.
Lots of “had to’s” today. I had to drop Steffie’s car at the dealer. I had to pick up a disk from my friend Kevin. I had to go to work – not my usual Sunday plan.
That’s why I was in the car as we approached the top of the hour. This has always been my time to hit the network news. OK – I’m a living anachronism, but I still listen to network radio news on the hour anytime I’m in the car.
WCBS had the Yankees game, so I went to WQUN. They had a ballgame too. WAVZ, now mostly Air America talk shows and CNN Radio Network news was also in the middle of a baseball game. As I tuned and tuned, I could find no network news!
I can’t remember this ever happening before. I’ve always been able to find a NOTH and nearly always it was CBS.
It has been getting harder to find over time. I remember driving up I-95 in Ft. Lauderdale this past winter and being pleased to hear Bob Hardt’s network cast from ABC. I was pleased because of how sparse these newscasts have become.
There was a time when radio stations had to commit to presenting news in order to keep their license. As strange as it seems now, top-40 stations would pause every hour for a newscast. With all the outlets available today it probably isn’t as necessary.
Write it down – May 1, 2005. The first day I could no longer depend on network radio news. It’s a shame.