A New York-based sportscaster who pioneered radio’s sports talk format and co-hosted "Sports Extra" on WNEW-TV has died. The New York Times reports that Bill Mazer died Wednesday at 92.
Mazer was nicknamed "the Amazin’" because of his deep knowledge of sports facts and figures, the story notes. On his retirement in 2009, he had more than six decades of broadcasting under his belt.
While growing up, Mazer played punchball, but also attended a yeshiva and considered becoming a rabbi. He decided on sports after realizing “I was paying more attention to Van Lingle Mungo than I was to Moses," he said, referring to a Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher of the 1930s.
Mazer covered sports in Buffalo for 16 years, and then was hired by WNBC-AM to create a talk format in 1964, allowing fans to call in and talk sports with him. He went on to host an interview program on WOR-AM and to provide commentary for the CBS hockey game of the week. He also provided commentary for the Knicks, the Nets, the Rangers and the Islanders, the story reports.
He spent 20 years at WNEW-TV in New York, starting in the early 1970s, helping to establish "Sports Extra" — considered to be the first sports wrap-up show of its kind. He also reported sports on WNEW’s "10 O’Clock News."
The piece adds: "It was the news anchor John Roland who proclaimed Mr. Mazer the Amazin’ after Mr. Roland started tossing him arcane sports questions during the broadcasts, and Mr. Mazer almost invariably knew the answers."