Broadcast Pioneers member David Madden
KYW Newsradio Official Photo

In 1983, Broadcast Pioneers member David Madden was a newscaster at WFIL Radio. Of course, we all know that David Madden has been with KYW Newsradio for decades. He also hosted a late Sunday evening telephone talk show on WFIL Radio, called "Crossfire.".

On the Sunday Jim O'Brien died, September 25, 1983, the plan for the 11 pm to 1 am broadcast was to be an open forum program, but the events of that day would quickly change the nature of the broadcast. It turned into a two-hour tribute with the general public and friends and co-workers of Jim O'Brien, many of whom are members of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.

Even though on the 1983 broadcast, Dave Madden stated that George Michael was on the program, he was not. He was on the local newscasts that preceded Crossfire. We do not have any of those newscasts. We also do not have the segment with Jim Gardner.

In 2008, Broadcast Pioneers member David Madden e-mailed:

George did NOT appear on the show. He did an interview prior to it that was used in newscasts prior to the program. Gardner DID. Unfortunately, I guess, it was never recorded by Jerry Donahue that night.

As for me, it was a real challenge that day, a Sunday. WFIL's news commitment was greatly reduced by then. I worked solo on news from 9 to 5, then came back to do Crossfire in the evening. Fortunately, (Broadcast Pioneers member) Jerry Donahue was a wealth of information, paired with the file Carol Harris had kept on all the people who worked at the station. (Broadcast Pioneers member) Jay Meyers, the PD at the time, basically gave us free reign to do whatever we wanted to honor Jim's memory.

The greatest help came, though, from the late Jay Cook. Jerry put me in touch with him in Florida. Within an hour, several of Jim's colleagues were on the phone sharing their memories with us. Tom MacDonald, now of Metro Networks, was also vital that day. He served as one of my producers, and covered channel 6's press conference for me that day. Thanks to him, we got our inside number to the people at channel 6, and several people, including Jim Gardner and Marc Howard, called in to the show.

I had often criticized O'Brien on the program for playing both sides of the street; serious news anchor one minute, happy go lucky weatherman the next and suggested at the time he couldn't do both. Of course, he proved me wrong and I actually learned from him how you could be both serious, and a little playful, in news. I use that ability today. And, needless to say, no one could question the man's commitment to his work. It's a commitment rarely seen in the business these days.

What we have of this Crossfire broadcast is about an hour and 24 minutes of that program, scoped into a continuous running program.

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From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo courtesy of KYW Newsradio
Audio courtesy of Ron Turner and the website
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