In Depth

Walking With the Giants

Broadcaster Charles Osgood Joins Illustrious List of Past NAB Honorees

When veteran broadcaster Charles Osgood receives the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award today in Las Vegas, he will become the latest in a long line of luminaries to receive the honor, which was first handed out in 1953, 30 years after the organization was founded.

Mr. Osgood, anchor of CBS News’ “Sunday Morning” and of CBS Radio Network’s “The Osgood File,” joins an elite group that includes two presidents of the United States—Herbert Hoover and Ronald Reagan—and legendary icons of broadcasting including CBS founder William S. Paley, David Sarnoff, Edward R. Murrow, Bob Hope, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite, Cokie Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Peter Jennings and Charles Kuralt.

“Charles Osgood has received some of the highest praise in broadcast journalism for his engaging wit and imaginative commentaries,” said NAB President-CEO David K. Rehr. “We are honored to recognize him for the significant contributions he has made to the broadcasting industry.”

This is Mr. Osgood’s third honor from the NAB. He was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 1990 and was awarded its Marconi Radio Award in 1993 for outstanding performance.

“Are there any awards he has not received? This may be the only one,” said Dennis Wharton, NAB executive VP of media relations, citing Mr. Osgood’s trophy case, which includes four Emmy Awards and three George Foster Peabody Awards. “The Distinguished Service Award goes to only one person, and is recognized as the absolute highest honor we present every year. The recipients are the crème de la crème of broadcast icons. We think Charles Osgood stands among those giants.”

The recipient is determined by NAB’s board of directors based on staff recommendations of the broadcasters who have made significant and lasting contributions to the broadcasting industry.
The criteria: life-long service to the business, viewers and listeners—and a talent that lifts one to the top tier of the industry.

“He’s a broadcaster who appreciates the art of a well-crafted sentence. I respect that quality in him, that he understands the craft of great writing,” Mr. Wharton said. “With Charles Osgood, you’re comfortable inviting him into your home and hearing him on the radio. He respects the audience, which is something I think that sets him apart from some of his younger contemporaries.”

Another thing that sets Mr. Osgood apart from other DSA honorees is his concurrent work in television and on the radio.

“It’s an unbelievable honor, and we’re thrilled about it,” said Bart Tessler, senior VP of news and talk programming for Westwood One, which syndicates “The Osgood File” to 284 radio station affiliates. “He’s a consummate professional in everything he does. The style and substance and content of the pieces are beautiful.”

“He has carved out a unique position in television and radio. He’s distinct,” agreed Mr. Osgood’s boss, Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports. “You hear his voice on the radio, and it’s like no one else’s in terms of content and creativity and recognizability. On TV he has an aura and ease about him that makes him the perfect anchor for Sunday morning. There aren’t that many people who have those qualities, and you’re instantly reminded of it.”