Broadcast Pioneers member Mark Abrams has been on the staff of KYW Newsradio since 1997. He is a reporter, news anchor and news editor. Mark broke into broadcasting in Reading, PA in 1976 at the former WHUM-AM where he started as a part-time disc jockey, news anchor, reporter, and producer of a weeknight talk show, “The Night Mayor.” He was hired full-time at WHUM within a year as an afternoon news anchor and reporter.
In 1978, Mark made his first entry into the Philadelphia market thanks to Mark Thomas, a WHUM personality who was working part-time at middle-of-the-road formatted station WPEN-AM. Thomas encouraged Mark to apply for a weekend news position and introduced him to then-WPEN News Director Art Andrews. “Badgered” for weeks on a regular basis by Mark, Andrews finally gave Mark Abrams his first break on the air in Philadelphia. Mark worked weekends at WPEN until 1980 as well as his full-time position at WHUM.
In 1981, Mark left WHUM and joined the Reading Eagle newspaper as a reporter and covered general assignment stories, the police beat, city and county government. Mark eventually carved out his own beat as a transportation, energy and utilities reporter for the Reading paper and worked as a desk editor and wrote a weekly column, “Changing Dials,” covering TV-radio developments in the Philadelphia market.
While working for the Reading Eagle, Mark maintained his Philadelphia broadcast contacts and was invited by WIP afternoon news anchor Richard Scott to visit the personality-driven radio station to apply for a part-time weekend news position – even though he had not been on the air for a couple years.
Thanks to Richard Scott’s introduction, and a resume, tape and interview with then-news director Paul Rust, Mark was hired for a weekend news anchor position at WIP in1982. Mark continued to work full-time for the Reading paper and remained part-time with WIP until 1984. He worked with such Philadelphia broadcast legends as newsmen Gordon Thomas and John Paul Weber, and WIP personalities Nat Wright, Bill Webber, Tom Lamaine, and Ken Garland.
Mark actually turned down a full-time offer from WIP in 1984 to stay in Reading and continue with his print journalism career and start a family. But Mark eventually returned to his first love – radio.
In1997, he joined the KYW Newsradio staff as a part-time news anchor and editor. In the spring of 1999, news manager/program director Steve Butler offered Mark a full-time position and he never looked back.
Mark has covered a variety of stories for KYW Newsradio, making two trips to Rome – one in 2000 for the canonization of Philadelphia’s St. Katharine Drexel, and the other in 2005 for the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Mark also covered the 2008 U.S. visit of Pope Benedict XVI to New York. Mark’s most memorable day at KYW Newsradio was serving as the mid-day editor on 9-11-2001.
He was on his way to work – stuck in traffic on the Vine Street Expressway - listening to KYW Newsradio when he heard a report of a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center towers. Mark spent 14 hours on the editor’s desk that day.
A year later, Mark was sent to Shanksville, PA by KYW Newsradio to cover the one-year 9-11 anniversary at the site where Flight 93 crashed.
Mark’s work at KYW Newsradio on a variety of stories over the years has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association.
Mark is a native of Reading, PA and graduate of the former Kutztown State College with a bachelor’s degree in English.
He also earned a PA secondary-education certification in English and took several post-graduate courses in journalism through Temple University.
Mark earned fellowships for study of nuclear energy and the birth of the information superhighway. Those fellowships were awarded by the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland.
He is an Eagle Scout, Vigil Honor member of Kittatinny Lodge 5, Order of the Arrow, a Wood Badge-trained leader and staff member for three Wood Badge courses.
He is a very active leader in the Hawk Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America, having served as a Scoutmaster, Cubmaster and den leader. Mark is currently an assistant Scoutmaster and advisor for a Venture Crew.
Mark is a licensed amateur radio operator and does free-lance work as a correspondent for the Amateur Radio Newsline, based in Los Angeles.
He also serves as the chairman of Amateur Radio Newsline’s Young Ham of the Year award committee – each year recognizing an outstanding young ham radio operator for service to the community.
Mark’s amateur radio credentials netted him a staff position at the K2BSA amateur radio operations run at the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree at Fort AP Hill, Virginia in 2001, 2005 and 2010.
Mark also steps in front of the TV camera each spring and fall, serving as an anchor and reporter for Berks Community Television’s coverage of election night . He reports on the results of elections in Berks County and interviews candidates for the program.
Mark is an adjunct professor in the journalism department of Temple University where he teaches “Writing for Journalism” and “Broadcast Newswriting.”
Mark is also a board member and past president of the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association.
He lives in a suburban community east of Reading. Mark has four children – one of whom is a graduate of Drexel University.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by KYW Newsradio
Bio written by Broadcast Pioneers member Mark Abrams
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