By: Ken Kerschbaumer, Editorial Director | Published: December 16, 2009
The 2009 class of the Sports Broadcasting
Hall of Fame was inducted on the evening of Dec. 15 at an emotional
ceremony at the New York Hilton Hotel. This year’s class of legends
included sportscasters Dick Enberg and Keith Jackson, former PGA Tour
Commissioner Deane Beman, network TV executives Barry Frank and Chuck
Howard, and technical innovators Garrett Brown, Steve Laxton, and John
Porter. CBS Sports lead play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz hosted the
“This is without a doubt the greatest award
of my professional life,” said John Porter, inventor of wireless camera
systems that transformed NASCAR and auto racing coverage as well as
coverage of the America’s Cup and even NASA space missions. “I call
this the greatest honor because it is given by our peers, men and women
who I have worked among for the past quarter century. It is also, by
definition, an individual achievement award. And if I have achieved
anything in my life it has been my ability to surround myself with
Porter’s sentiments were echoed by all of
the recipients, including Keith Jackson who accepted live via satellite
from Los Angeles.
There were two posthumous inductees: former
ABC Sports producer Chuck Howard, who defined the position with a
demanding style and a drive for perfection that was passed on to those
who worked for him, and NBC Olympics Technical Director Steve Laxton.
“Anyone could tell that he
absolutely loved his job and his co-workers by the way he talked about
all of you and the great memories he would share with us when he came
home,” said Nancy Laxton, Steve’s widow. “”He was such a great man in
every aspect of life and we miss him dearly.”
Barry Frank of IMG Media was inducted into the HOF.
Dick Enberg during his acceptance speech.
Jim Nantz, CBS Sports lead play-by-play announcer, hosted the ceremony.
Deborah Norville accepted a donation for the Broadcaster's Foundation of America.
Former PGA Commissioner Deane Beman was inducted for making golf more TV friendly.
Garrett Brown, inventor of the STEADICAM, during his induction speech.
This year's award for HOF inductees.
John Porter, inventor of in-car camera systems, with his HOF award.
(L-to-R): Steve Laxton's daughter Megan, his mother Shirley, friend Dave Mazza, and widow Nancy with Steve's award.
Mark Loomis accepted on behalf of ABC Sports broadcasting legend Keith Jackson.
The late Chuck Howard's wife Carol with Chuck's long-time friend Donn Bernstein.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was a
presentation by Steve Hellmuth, SVG Chairman and NBA Entertainment
Executive Vice President, Operations and Technology of a $25,000
donation by the Sports Video Group to the Broadcasters Foundation of
America (BFA). Deborah Norville, Inside Edition host and director of
the BFA, accepted the check.
“This check will assist greatly with our
mission to help broadcasters in need,” said Norville. “Every month we
provide aid to radio and TV professional who, through no fault of their
own, find themselves in desperate need of our help. Advanced illnesses,
accidents, and even death have brought havoc to their lives and to the
lives of their families.
Here is an overview of this year’s complete class:
During his 20-year tenure as PGA Tour Commissioner, Beman was the first
to envision a golf course that would accommodate large galleries and
make viewing golf a user-friendly experience, resulting in the
construction of TPC Sawgrass and its famed Players Stadium Course.
Garrett Brown is the sports business’s premier inventor. As if
inventing the Steadicam wasn’t enough, Garrett is credited for creating
the Skycam, Divecams, and railcams which pursue athletes worldwide.
Dick Enberg is one of the most versatile play-by-play announcers ever
to take the microphone, from his 25 years with NBC Sports to nearly 10
years with CBS Sports where he still covers the NFL, college
basketball, and the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. Next season he will
broadcast approximately 120 San Diego Padres MLB games for Channel 4 in
Frank has been the leading sports rights agent and packager in the
U.S., having represented the International Olympic Committee, Major
League Baseball, the National Hockey League, the National Basketball
Association, the International Skating Union, and the United States
Tennis Association, in their television negotiations.
As vice president of ABC Sports, Howard covered nine Olympics, the
Super Bowl, World Series, British Open, Kentucky Derby, Indianapolis
500, and NCAA football. He teamed with Roone Arledge and Jim McKay to
create ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
During his 40 years with ABC Sports, Keith Jackson was on air for the
first Monday Night Football game in 1970, made a name for himself
announcing college sports, and was in the announce booth on football
Saturdays for more than 30 years before retiring after the 1998-1999
Steve Laxton is best known as the technical director of the Olympic
Games and worked freelance with all of the major networks, including
ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, and HBO. He was the primary designer of the Sony
MVS switcher series.
John Porter was the first to put in-car cameras into Nascar auto
racing, which changed the way the sport is viewed today. He pioneered
wireless applications for every sport including the America’s Cup and
continues to develop new wireless technology to this day.
To learn more about this year’s class visit http://www.sportsvideo.org/portal/hof/