SYRACUSE -- This spring marks 65 years of broadcasting for Syracuse University's WAER 88.3FM. To mark the milestone, the NPR affiliate officially announced the opening of the "WAER Hall of Fame." At a ceremony last week in Washington, DC, legendary newsman Ted Koppel was honored as the Hall of Fame's very first inductee.
Koppel, a graduate of the SU class of 1960, got his first taste of broadcast journalism at WAER as a student broadcaster, eventually taking on the role of program director in 1959. Koppel would eventually join ABC news, working at the network for more than forty years, including the last 25 in his most prominent role, as anchor and managing editor of Nightline.
"The WAER Hall of Fame Award is the most valued award I have received," Koppel said at the ceremony.
"Ted Koppel epitomizes what WAER is all about," said WAER General Manager Joe Lee. "The station is America’s foremost media education laboratory. Ted, like so many students who have followed him, got his first hands-on experience and his first taste of radio inside WAER’s studios."
Lee went on to say the WAER Hall of Fame is like "a 'Mount Rushmore' of our remarkable alums," calling Koppel "our version of George Washington."
Alumnus Steve Geimann spoke about WAER's long-standing goal to "teach aspiring broadcasters the basics of radio, from news coverage to sports to music and public service." He said, "that was the case when ... Koppel ran the station in 1959, and it was true when I served as news director during the 1970s. And ... it remains the mission well into the 21st century." In addition to gaining a career from his time at WAER, Geimann also noted the station introduced him to "the woman who 25 years later would become my wife."
Scott MacFarlane, class of 1998, now works as a Washington Correspondent for several Cox Media stations nationwide. In attendance at last Friday's event, he remarked, "It’s exciting to think of 'Who’s next?' for this Hall of Fame. WAER’s sports and news alumni are pioneers and icons of the broadcast industry. No radio station or media education outlet is more deserving of a Hall of Fame than WAER."
We'll find out who's next this fall, when WAER hosts its second induction ceremony on September 29 at the University Sheraton in Syracuse. Lee says future induction ceremonies will take place in the fall. Inductees will be selected by a committee of WAER alumni and management.
Our thanks to MacFarlane for making sure we received the press release and photos issued after the induction ceremony. We appreciate it! All of our readers who have connections within local TV and radio are welcome to email us anytime you've got news to share from your stations -- the address is firstname.lastname@example.org.