He was crusty, old school, smoked English Ovals, had a gray toupee and
seemed to yell a lot. But as a young broadcaster, if you were patient and looked past
the bluster, Bill Bransome could help you. By the time I became his desk assistant
in the late 70’s, Bransome had already spent “forever” in the business. Newscaster.
Sportscaster. DJ. Whatever you could do behind the mike.
This was KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia when, moments before an 11:45
sportscast on a Saturday night, Bransome yelled through a studio intercom. “I need
to know how to pronounce this kid’s name and I need to know now!,” he
commanded. The kid was a second string defensive back for a local Division 3
school that had just won a national title in football. Nobody, except perhaps the
young man’s mother, would have known whether or not his name was pronounced
correctly. But to Bransome, it mattered. And so I was the guy who woke up the
school’s sports information director to find out how to correctly pronounce the
name of a second-string defensive back on a Division 3 football team.
Recently I marked the tenth anniversary of Bill Bransome’s passing with that
memory. It reinforced an important credo for all broadcasters, that no fact is too
small, too insignificant to go unchecked. Never underestimate your audience. And
never underestimate who might help you in this crazy business.