Thursday, December 24, 2009

DC Sports TV Legend George Michael Passes Away

Long time NBC4 Sportscaster George Michael passed away today at age 70 from cancer.

He was the "go to" guy for sports locally. I was a huge Glenn Brenner fan but I would also follow George when he arrived in 1980, often flipping the channel back and forth starting at around 11:18 PM to catch both sports reports.

The George Michael Sports Machine debuted over Labor Day weekend 1984 (I remember it was the same day the Dolphin's Dan Marino threw 4 TD's vs the Redskins at RFK). This show was THE sports highlights show and it grew into the first nationally syndicated sports highlights show, eventually airing in 194 markets across the United States and in 10 foreign countries.

ESPN was five years old then and wasn't in everyone's home like it is now. Some folks say ESPN modeled their SportsCenter show around George's Sports Machine. The Sports Machine was also the first to give regular national TV exposure to once obscure sports like NASCAR and professional rodeo.

He also produced The Redskins Report and Full Court Press. I loved watching him talk with John Riggins, Sonny Jurgensen, Michael Wilbon, Tony Kornheiser and David DuPree to name a few.

Everyone remembers 362-4444.

The George Michael Sports Line was another important source of information. Back in the '80's there was no internet, very little cable and we didn't have access to the Orioles, Caps and Bullets games on TV like we do now. If you wanted a score, you called the sports line. It was updated frequently and clutch when the local teams were playing out West, that's how you got the score the next day as the game ended too late for the Post to pick it up.

"For baseball scores, press 1. For football news and scores press 2. For basketball news and scores, press 3. For hockey news and scores, press 4. For all other scores press 5. For all other sports news press 6"

The Washington Post's Michael Wilbon reflects on George Michael.

The Post story.

Mike Wise: George Michael was more than a good guy to know; he was a good guy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very nice tribute. Thanks for doing it. Mom