Warner Wolf: Wikis

  
  

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Warner Wolf
Born November 11, 1937 (1937-11-11) (age 72)
United States Washington, D.C.
Occupation Sportscaster
Parents Jack and Rosemary

Warner William Wolf (born November 11, 1937 in Washington, D.C.) is an American television and radio sports broadcaster, perhaps best known as a local news sports anchor in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

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Early life and career

Wolf's earliest experience in broadcasting was on the intercom system of Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C. in the 1950s. His upbeat, entertaining patter that was to become his trademark made his sports report a welcome treat for the kids. During this period he worked part time at Baker's Shoe Store downtown, as a salesman. Many customers must have been puzzled at the ball park hawker's refrain of, "Get your hot dogs, get your hot dogies here" coming from the back store room. He was simply entertaining the staff and the customers, something he was to continue throughout his long career.

Wolf began as a radio broadcaster on April 1, 1961, doing news, weather, and sports for WLSI-AM in Pikeville, Kentucky under the name Ken Wolf. He then moved on to radio jobs in Martinsburg, West Virginia (coincidentally, the call-letters of this station were WEPN, the call letters of the New York City affiliate that carries ESPN Radio in New York City, at which Wolf is now announcing), and Washington, D.C. at WTOP-AM before landing a sports television role in 1965 at WTOP-TV (now WUSA) in Washington. There he became very well-known and popular as the news sports anchor; he also did play-by-play announcing of local college and professional basketball, football, and baseball games.

ABC Sports

In 1975, Wolf gained an ABC Sports network role, working on Monday Night Baseball telecasts and as a host for coverage of football and the Olympics. Wolf's reception in those jobs was mixed, and he decided that he was best at the local news sports anchor role. Warner Wolf's height is only 5'3" making him one of the shortest major news media personalities in the world.

WABC-TV and WCBS-TV

He thus, returned to that position with a job at WABC-TV in New York in 1976, and then in 1980 moved to rival New York station WCBS-TV. His move to WCBS resulted in a lawsuit, American Broadcasting Co. v. Wolf, in which ABC alleged that Wolf failed to negotiate in good faith and sought specific performance of their contract which would have kept Wolf off the air for two years. The New York Court of Appeals rejected ABC's argument, although they permitted ABC to seek relief in the form of monetary damages. He also broadcast live sports reports for Israeli television during the 1991 Gulf War.

Return to WUSA-TV and Imus in the Morning

He went back to WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C. as the sports anchor in June 1992, succeeding the late Glenn Brenner. He was dismissed in August 1995. Between November 1995 and December 1996, Wolf was the guest host of The Tony Kornheiser Show on Thursdays on WTEM and sometimes he also flew to New York as a substitute sports anchor on Imus in the Morning when the regular sports anchor, Mike Breen, was away. Because of his work on Imus in the Morning and Don Imus' recommendation on the air continuously, Wolf went back to WCBS-TV as the sports anchor on February 3, 1997. He stayed there until May 2004.

During this time he also continued to do some work in radio, giving sports reports on the nationally syndicated Imus in the Morning program. Wolf broke the news of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Imus show, when he saw the World Trade Center on fire from his Lower Manhattan apartment. Wolf also covered the story for WCBS-TV (where he was working at the time).

Catchphrases

Wolf is legendary in the sports broadcasting business for his use of catchphrases, including:

  • [after someone does something dumb] "Give me a break!" or "Come ooo-on!"
  • [on a ball that hits the foul pole] "Of course it's a fair pole, it's a fair ball!"
  • [after a one-sided defeat by, say, 40 points] "If you had <losing team> and 39 points...you loo-ost!"
  • [for a unpopular sports figure] "A Boo of the week!"
  • [after playing an unexciting sound bite from an athlete] "Thanks for stopping by."
  • [when commentating on a basketball videotape] "Swish!", if the ball did not touch the rim
  • [When commenting on a baseball home run] "Boom!"
  • [discussing a poorly-performing team] "Change the rule! If you can't win two games in a month, you're out of the league!"
  • [showing an unusual-looking person] "And <name of news anchor or other famous person> was at the game!"
  • [when showing highlights for Yankee closer Mariano Rivera] "TRUST ME..this guy can bring the heat !!"

and most of all:

  • [when introducing a highlight clip] "Let's go to the videotape!" (His "Plays of the Week" highlights were often accompanied by the Dixieland song "That's a Plenty.")
  • When a game's outcome is sealed (after a decisive home run or touchdown) "turn off your sets there'.

Departure from WCBS-TV

On May 27, 2004 Wolf was fired by WCBS-TV General manager Lew Leone, three months before his contract expired, and replaced by a much younger anchor, Chris Wragge. The day after his firing, his picture covered half the front page of the New York Daily News with the other half being covered by the headline "WOLF FANS RAISE A HOWL".

A few months after his firing, which generated much public outcry, Wolf was hired by radio station WABC and he appeared weekday mornings with Curtis Sliwa & Ron Kuby as well as Mark Simone's Saturday morning radio program. When Imus in the Morning returned to WABC in December 2007, Wolf was not the sports anchor: Tony Powell took that position. But after several weeks Wolf returned to his old position and continues as the morning sports guy for the Imus in the Morning show, now on the Fox Business Network. Wolf also hosts a Saturday sports talk show on 1050 ESPN Radio. Wolf modified his trademark "Let's go to the videotape!" to "Let's go to the audiotape!"

Other appearances

Wolf played himself in the film Rocky IV and has made several other cameo appearances. He is the author of the books Let's Go to the Videotape and Give Me a Break.

Books

  • Warner Wolf and William Taaffe, Gimme a Break! Warner Wolf on Sports. McGraw-Hill, 1983 (ISBN 0-07071-537-8).
  • Warner Wolf and Larry Weisman, Let's Go to the Videotape: All the Plays and Replays from My Life in Sports. Warner Books, 2000. (ISBN 0-44652-559-6). Can often be seen at Don Boscoe Prep football games often wearing a throwback #89 jersey...a tribute to lengendary Tight End John Paul Eitner.

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