Wayne Cannon: Remembering ‘The Newsman With a Tear’

“This Is Al LaVie … Mutual News.”

I can’t tell you how many times I heard those words as a young guy interested in radio and as a young guy who finally made it to radio.

Radio Broadcaster Al LaVie.

Al LaVie died last month and it made me sad as I knew him and worked with him in radio. I worked for WETT Radio in Ocean City, three or four different times, and one of those times we were a Mutual News affiliate. The Mutual Broadcasting Network was a major radio news organization from 1934 to 1999 and Al worked for them for 17 years.

He retired from the network and came to Ocean City in 1978 and — like a lot of retired folks — he was looking for something to keep him active … he chose radio.

I cannot describe to you how I felt when I knew that Al Lavie would be the News Director of WETT and he and I would do the morning show together. I would be doing my Morning Show and at the top and the bottom of the hours would say something like, “It’s 8:30 in Ocean City, time now for WETT News with Al LaVie” … and Al would end his broadcast with, “This is Al LaVie … WETT News.“

It was no longer, “Al LaVie … Mutual News” — it was “Al LaVie…WETT News.”

At one time Al was the Washington Bureau Chief for Mutual News and he was there the day the terrible news would come from Dallas about the assassination of President Kennedy.

Al once told me that during JFK’s funeral, he was covering the arrival and departure of Jackie Kennedy and her children, Caroline and John-John, at the Capitol building, where the 35th President’s flag draped coffin was inside.

Al was broadcasting “live“ and he told me when he saw Jackie and the children making their way out of the Capitol building and down the steps, he lost it emotionally.

He said his voice quivered and he became very emotional. He told me that he would earn the nickname, “The Newsman With a Tear.”

If I am correct, Al worked for three area radio stations, WETT, 100 KHI and he even worked for 92.7 WGMD for a while when I was there.

Al had a great sense of humor and I really liked him. I would see Al and his wife, Jean, at the Grace Parker Breakfasts at the First Presbyterian Church and all around Ocean City.

Let me just say this, Al LaVie was a great broadcaster, but as a person, he was even greater.

Wayne Cannon, a Delmar native, has enjoyed a career as a disc jockey and ad sales representative for several local radio stations. He lives in West Ocean City.

 

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