Syracuse broadcast legend Phil Markert dies

May 30, 2024 by
Phil Markert, mid 1980s, photo from

He was on the radio for more than a half-century, and he was the very first voice viewers heard when ABC television affiliate "Colorful Channel 9" (WNYS-TV, now NewsChannel 9 WSYR-TV) debuted in 1962. Longtime Syracuse broadcaster Phil Markert has died at the age of 92.

News of Markert's passing first came Wednesday night by way of a Facebook post by Mike Otis, a former Syracuse-area broadcaster who has been running his own advertising firm in North Carolina since 1998. However, it wasn't confirmed until NewsChannel 9 posted a story on Thursday.

"Markert in the Morning" was known for offering listeners a mixture of humor and music -- much of which was provided by Markert himself, with a piano right in the studio. Using a headset with a boom mic (similar to the ones many play-by-play announcers often wear), Markert could speak or sing while providing his own musical accompaniment. Many listeners remembered Markert's "Buy it or Bag It" segment.

Markert worked at the legendary 62 WHEN, in the heyday of steep competition amongst Syracuse's AM radio stations. He eventually moved to WTLA, retiring in 2006. Although he moved to South Carolina, he promised listeners he would occasionally come back -- and he did just that, occasionally putting on concerts at the Palace Theater or classes on improvisation with the piano.

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