Roman Around

combating liberalism and other childish notions

A FEW WORDS ABOUT GEORGE WEBER

Posted by Andrew Roman on March 26, 2009

radio-george_on_air

I want to take a moment and pay tribute to a man I knew and to whom I owe a great deal. His name is George Weber, and he was murdered this past weekend here in New York City. His killing has made national news – as have the lurid details of the circumstances that led up to his death.

Words fail me – and I want so very much not to sound cliché and trite.

I think George deserves that.

I knew him, and as anyone can attest to who has had someone in their own lives cut down in such a senseless manner, it is difficult to comprehend. It is even more difficult to sort out and make sense of.

Surreal is too weak a word.

Indeed, while the news media, expectedly, has been consumed with his grizzly demise, I have been peppered with memories – some that trigger instantaneous smiles, others that lure me into extended periods of thought. Yet, that, too, sounds so “off-the-rack” and contrived.

I think George deserves better than that.

So, seeing as how I am already disgusted with the tabloid-like coverage of his death – and seeing as this man was far more than just a name attached to a gruesome killing – I wanted to put something positive out there.

George Weber was a radio man. And a damn good one. Indeed, he was “a news guy,” as he famously called himself.

But he was more than that.

He was unique and remarkably talented – a non “big voice” news anchor and reporter with impressive big time skills – a consummate journalist who had news shooting from his pores.

His style was conversational. He was not the typical “top of the hour” voice from above. Rather, he was the voice from next to you. He was clearly one of the big boys, but exuded approachability. To his great credit, he truly was. His delivery was smooth, and he was very easy on the ears. His instincts were unparalleled and his ability to engage the listener – as if he were sitting with you at the dinner table – was uncanny. He was informative, but never sounded like he was reading from a script. True, he had a wonderfully, warm voice, and his reports were always remarkably substantive, but his delivery was his hook. It was that natural everyday-guy style that brought him from small-town Pennsylvania into the big leagues in relatively short order – including stops in Denver, San Francisco and finally, New York.

Indeed, he was a skilled writer and had a wonderful cadence in his reports, but he also had the ear of a producer, a veritable master at incorporating audio into his segments, drawing the listener into the story.

He was at Ground Zero covering the story when the second tower fell on September 11, 2001. For a while, it wasn’t clear whether George survived the collapse. When he finally called into WABC, it was some of the most compelling radio I have ever heard.

There was nowhere else he would rather have been.

That’s what he did.

The truth is … we weren’t especially close. We certainly were not best friends or anything. However, I was fortunate enough to spend several months working with him and had the privilege of having several long conversations with him during that window of time when our paths crossed. I had spent several years in small and mid-market radio when I began an apprenticeship with him at WABC in New York. I wanted to sharpen my skills and learn from the best in the hopes of furthering my own career. Indeed, I had met plenty of radio people in my day, but George was the first person I had met who was as passionate about radio as me. Even more so.

Many I had encountered along the way professed their love for the medium, but George lived and breathed radio – a cliche, yes. But entirely accurate.

He was, literally, a mentor, a teacher, and one of the warmest people I have ever had the honor of associating with. Luckily, we had progressed from a teacher-student relationship to reaching the point of calling each other every once in a while just to see how things were. In fact, if not for George Weber, I would never have gotten my job at Sirius Satellite Radio.

He was as unselfish as anyone I ever met in a medium filled with inflated egos, prima-donnas and hacks.

His voice was as familiar as anyone’s – not only here in New York, but also in Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles and in his home state of Pennsylvania. He was as dedicated as he was good.

As for the New York leg of his career, he spent a dozen years at WABC (770AM) where he was an integral part of the “Curtis and Kuby” radio program as the “news guy” (Curtis Sliwa – conservative, Ron Kuby – ultra-liberal) giving us the stories we’d be “talking about all day.”

The events of last weekend have brought to light a private side of George Weber that, obviously, the rest of us were not meant to know about. The story will continue to unfold and the heartbreak of his family and friends will be exacerbated as details continue to find their way into news casts and blogs everywhere.

Grieving is hard enough.

The man who once reported on the biggest stories around is now the story.

Whatever demons George may have had secretly, he certainly did not deserve to have his life ended in such a horrific manner. He had a lot more to give.

From one radio guy to another … thanks, George.

I wish we could have talked more – especially about radio. I wish we could have worked together more than we did.

You were good.

Rest in Peace, my friend.

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5 Responses to “A FEW WORDS ABOUT GEORGE WEBER”

  1. K said

    Thank you for your nice tribute. Time will show that certain things being reported now are not the truth. George was a nice guy and very talented. He made a terrible mistake, but that does not taint my view of him. No, he was not good, but great at radio. He raised the bar and we all aspired to be as good as he was.

  2. Cindy said

    I did not know George Weber, but I felt like I did. He was either in our car or home daily on the radio. He really brought the news to life, now sadly he has become the news.

    I find myself grieving his death on one hand and getting more ticked off on the other. How could such a smart man be so dumb? Surely he knew hooking up with strangers was not safe. Surely he knew taking pictures as they claim was scattered around his apartment was not smart.

    Now sadly his family is left to go through all of this personal things and learn things about George that probably even they did not know. How sad for them. How embarrassing for them.

    I hope this lesson is learned by all the public figures in this world. They probably do not understand that we, the regular folk that listen to them, look up to them and let them in our home and lives daily feel like they are part of us, part of our family and what they leave behind is people like me, wanting to grieve for his death, wanting to kick his ass, sitting here scratching my head and not understanding why he did not know or care about the dangers of what he was doing. Did he know that kid was only 16? Why not, google him and he would have known. Did he not care? Was he so tormented on the inside about being gay? Was he so lonely he looked for love in all the wrong places?

    A very sad ending to a very special talented man.

    I pray god will forgive him his sins and let him into heaven.

  3. Ralph said

    If he figured his socio-economic advantage on the boy would give him power, he was right.

    Why is everybody making him out to be some sort of martyr?

    He was loved, respected, etc., and I wouldn’t wish this sort of fate on anybody, but he had it coming.

  4. K said

    Ralph, you are a sick ticket. No one deserves what happened to George. This is a tribute page, there’s plenty of other hate blogs out there that you can post on.

  5. erictheredvm said

    Nice tribute, Andy. Thanks for those heartfelt words. As a fan of (pre-Imus) morning WABC radio, I was shocked and saddened by this story.

    http://VocalMinority.typepad.com
    The Jewish Republican’s Web Sanctuary

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