WRCV Radio Air Studio
January 4, 1963
One of John Schubeck’s first broadcast jobs was right here in Philadelphia at WRCV Radio and WRCV-TV, Channel 3 (now KYW Newsradio and KYW-TV). He anchored a mid-morning Channel 3 newscast and several others for WRCV Radio, 1060 on your AM dial.
John was a big guy who loved to take a “nip” every once in awhile. That coffee cup he kept just off camera was said to have contained rum, not a caffeine drink.
After leaving Philly, John went to work for WGN-TV in Chicago. From there John moved to ABC-TV in New York and their local O&O, WABC-TV. There, he did newscasts and other things including movie reviews and radio newscasts for the different ABC Radio Networks.
Schubeck then moved westward to the ABC station in Los Angeles where he anchored the KABC-TV news. In 1972, John moved to competitor KNBC-TV. He remained there for 11 years in different news anchor positions. While at KNBC, he played a newscaster in the movie, “Buddy, Buddy.”
In May of 1983, Schubeck went to another L.A. station, KNXT-TV (now KCBS-TV). He had a five-year agreement with the CBS O&O that contained a “no-cut” clause, something that is very rare in this business. His contract was renewed for another two years, a deal that was worth two and a quarter million dollars. In December of that year, he was let go with the station paying off the remainder of his contract.
Like Larry Kane here in Philadelphia, John Schubeck anchored at one time or another for all three of the network O&O stations in one major market.
One time during his career, he was ending the 11 pm newscast when there was an error. The same story that he read earlier was again on the prompter. Most anchors would have opted to either read the story again or more likely to ad-lib until the end of the broadcast or until the teleprompter started working again. However, John Schubeck was not most anchors. He decided to just sit there and wait for the correct item to appear on the teleprompter. He waited. 10 seconds. 20 seconds. 30 seconds. Still no change. 60 seconds. 90 seconds. He just sat there waiting and waiting. Finally, they just faded to black after two minutes and went into the next program.
John Schubeck was a bright guy. Mild mannered anchor at night and law student by day. He finally did get his law degree but decided to write screenplays about the life of a news reporter. In these unpublished plays and in real life, he questioned why all the newscasts had to be done by a cookie-cutter formula. "Why does everything have to be exactly alike?" Friend Peter Bart once described Schubeck as a “brilliant and bizarre man who loved making a million bucks a year, but hated the price he had to pay.”
John Schubeck passed away on Friday, September 26, 1997 of kidney and liver failure. He was 61 years old.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Bill Bransome
Written and researched by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson
© 2005, All Rights Reserved
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