A Celebration of the Life of Jim O'Brien

(Left to right) W. Carter Merbreier (Captain Noah), Cathy Gandolfo, Marc Howard
Paul Norton, Joe Pellegrino, Bill Russell and Steve Levy
Broadcast Pioneers Luncheon at the Bala Golf Club, Philadelphia
Wednesday, May 21, 2008

WOW! This was HUGE! Our Wednesday, May 21st luncheon was a "Tribute to Jim O'Brien." It's been a quarter of a century since the untimely passing of one of Philadelphia's most beloved broadcasters, Jim O'Brien. Jim was the main Channel 6 weathercaster and the mid-day news anchor. He's also known for being one of the Boss Jocks on Famous 56, WFIL Radio and co-host of Channel 6's "Dialing for Dollars."

On our panel, we had:

Cathy Gandolfo, who worked with Jim at WPVI-TV and WFIL, Famous 56
Marc Howard, Jim O'Brien's former co-anchor/later main anchor on KYW-TV
Steve Levy, former Channel 6 newsman & former NBC 10 news anchor
Paul Norton, Jim's announcer on WPVI-TV's "Dialing for Dollars"
Joe Pellegrino, Action News Sportscaster when Jim was doing weather
Bill Russell, Jim O'Brien's stage manager, crew chief & lighting director

Our moderator was W. Carter Merbreier (better known as Captain Noah). Carter and Pat (Mrs. Noah) had dinner with Jim O'Brien the night before his unfortunate skydiving accident. Making introductory remarks was Broadcast Pioneers member Bernie Prazenica who is the current President and General Manager of 6abc, WPVI-TV. Plus, we played one of our Trivia quizzes based about Jim O'Brien's life. It was hosted by Steve Ross, former WFIL Boss Jock. Winners received a DVD of Classic TV shows plus a WFIL Radio keychain. Plus everyone in attendance received a different WFIL Radio keychain.

Generous Kal, our own Vice-President Kal Rudman decided that underwriting four $1,000 scholarships this year (given away at our April luncheon) wasn't enough. He's threw two thousand dollars more into pot for two additional $1,000 scholarships. These two were awarded at our May luncheon in the memory of Jim O'Brien. Way to go, Kal! The winners were:

Bunker Seyfert, a junior (Film & Video major) from Drexel University
Micah Haun, a junior (Cinema & Television major) from Drexel University

This all took place on Wednesday, May 21st, at the beautiful and historic Bala Golf Club, 2200 Belmont Avenue (across the street from the State Police) in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia. It's only minutes away from Channels 6 & 10 and the radio stations in Bala Cynwyd.


Former WFIL Boss Jock Steve Ross speaks about Jim O'Brien

Kal Rudman of the Friday Morning Quarterback talks about Jim O'Brien

President and General Manager of 6ABC, Bernie Prazenica recalls Jim O'Brien

Our Panel Discussion

Please note that our audio on the panel discussion is in two parts for easier and quicker loading on your audio player. Once you have the audio playing, the second part will start automatically after the first segment is finished.

Also, please be aware that the first third of the audio of Bernie Prazenica is not good quality. For some unknown reason, our normal recording system didn't record the first two minutes of what the President/GM of WPVI-TV said. We had to pull that audio from a secondary source which is not top quality. Once we get passed that segment, we go back to our normal audio source and continue with Bernie's remarks with clear sound.

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Jerry Klein
© 2008, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
All Rights Reserved

The e-mail address of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is pioneers@broadcastpioneers.com