Once upon a time, news on local television meant something and there were giants presenting it. Al Meltzer stands among them. He was the primary sports anchor for two sterling news teams in a golden era of maturity and seriousness when sportscasts mattered.
Cable, even cable news and sports, existed from about the middle of Meltzer’s extraordinary career, but it had not diluted news presentation to the diminishing effect we find today. The person on the screen when Meltzer, always called “Big Al,” exuded authority. He was the expert, and Big Al never shied away from strong opinion or controversy in meeting that responsibility, writes Neal Zoren for Digital First Media.
He was, in ways, a broadcast pioneer because he helped to invent a new style of presence and presentation at a time when local news was growing from half-hours of headlines to one of detailed reporting, telling graphic support, and influential personalities.
In Big Al’s day, which goes from the mid-60s to the brink of this century, the person who delivered the news has as much clout as the news itself.
Yet the news never became subordinate to personality, as one sees on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. Information and persona went hand-in-hand. For news, Mr. Meltzer’s time was definitely the golden age. No one on local air today, not even bona fide greats like Jim Gardner or Ukee Washington, can boast of the status of Meltzer and his colleagues.
To read the complete story click here.