George Finkel

No place better to get all the info than right from the source. Here's an autobiography that Broadcast Pioneers member George Finkel wrote:

I didn’t have a job, so I took my small amount of money, and started driving south and west. I had a degree in Radio and TV, so that’s what I was looking for.

I tried South Bend, but there was nothing there. However, I had seen a notice at Michigan that Playboy Magazine was looking for young ad salesmen. Next stop, Chicago and Playboy Magazine. I was hired as a local ad salesman in Chicago and my adventure was started.

Playboy was young, and they cut corners where they could. I was used as a model for some ads and also some Playboy products. I modeled the first Bunny Logo Golf Shirt, and the Blazer & Skimmer Straw Hat for a Jazz festival. Next Hefner wanted a TV Show, and I became the Syndication Manager for the show. It was terrible, but it was something in TV.

After two years at Playboy, I saw an ad in Broadcasting Magazine, looking for an Announcer/Director in Rockford, IL. I drove the 100 miles to Rockford, interviewed for the job, and I was hired.

Rockford was a small market station, but it was run like a “big city” operation. Separate directors did one show in the weather, news, sports block. We each had different assignments, so we got a lot of different experiences.

Rockford was a wonderful learning experience. In addition, I met and married my wife, Lynn, and our first child, Mike, was born there.

After 3 years, I was ready to move on. Another ad in Broadcasting, led me to a Production Mgr/Operations Mgr job in Evansville, IN at WFIE. Unlike WTVO, this was a “Small Market” station. I ran the production and the operations, did some directing, and also announced the commercials for a local meat market. We went through two floods and my daughter Lori was born in Evansville.

Next up for one year was WFIL, Philadelphia, as a producer/director. It was a big market station, but when the Production Manager asked me to go with him, and help him open up a new UHF station, I jumped at the chance. WPHL was into a lot of sports, and I was offered the job as Production/ Operations Mgr. It was a great chance, in a Major Market, for me and my staff, to do games, and also to help run a new station.

The station was owned by Aaron Katz and Len Stevens, and we went into sports and kids shows, plus off network reruns. At first we had Atlantic City Senators minor league football. Then Palestra Basketball with Bill Campbell and Richie Ashburn broadcasting 50 or more games a year. I was the producer/director for most of these basketball games during the first four years. Next we added 76ers road games which were called by Al Meltzer and Charlie Swift.

As we went along, we had an Eagles football game that was moved by the World Series, live tennis, bowling and finally the Phillies games. That was a lot of sports coverage and most of it was live.

My next stop was my “temporary” stop at NBC Sports. When I interviewed with Scotty Connell. He told me that it was not a long term job, just some fill in games. Nineteen years later I left after producing/co-producing /or directing 6 Super Bowls, 6 Orange Bowl games, 6 World Series, 6 NCAA Basketball Championships, and 2 Hockey Stanley Cups, including the Philadelphia Flyers first two Cup wins.

I won 3 national Emmys; one for Super Bowl XIII, one for the Milwaukee- St. Louis World Series, and one for Gymnastics at the Korean Olympics. We also have the highest rated Basketball Game in History; Magic against Byrd in the NCAA Finals.

After that I free-lanced. I directed 5 Mummers Parades, 2 or 3 on WPHL, 10 years of Miami Dolphins Pre-season football games and produced 88 Houston Rockets games.

It was quite a career.

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