Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ron Magers: The Last Man Standing

Ron Magers
     They were the generation after the black-and-white TV pioneers, the Floyd Kalbers and Len O'Connors, and before broadcast news shattered into tiny pieces against the Internet.
     Big personalities with big hair and fat 1970s neckties, easy to caricature: Walter Jacobson, feathers flying, squawking indignation. Carol Marin, our avenging angel, wielding her fiery sword of justice. And the king of the roost, Bill Kurtis, orotund and oracular, saved from Ted Baxter pomposity by the glint of self-knowledge.
      All have cut their anchor chains, slowly slipping out of the camera's gaze: Carol bursting into academia. Bill riding off into ranching. Walter, well, slithering someplace even more obscure than CBS.
     And now Ron Magers, the last man standing, takes his bow Wednesday night on WLS Channel 7 after 50 years in broadcasting, 35 of them in Chicago.
     "It's hard for me to take this all in," he said. "People are so nice."
     Since when? What Magers is seeing is his own niceness reflected back at him. If I had to pinpoint what kept Chicago watching Magers, night after night, rather than giving him the bum's rush to Pittsburgh, I would say it was not his niceness — that would get cloying — but his wit, that suppressed grin. Ron Magers was a funny man doing a serious job....

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  1. Agree with your assessment of Ron. Classy guy. So what's your issue with Walter Jacobson? Didn't he evolve from news reader to presenting editorial opinions?

  2. I think "devolve" is a better word.

    1. You are correct as usual. He seemed to become even more smug and self-serving in that role.

  3. Bill is actually a regular on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me on WBEZ, and he's a lot of fun. I wonder if Ron will still emcee the Heartland Alliance Gala auction. He's done it for many years and really keeps the bidding rolling.

  4. Well written article. Magers is a class act. I used to like Walter's editorials and how he exposed things.


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