Dec 24, 2009

Remembering George Michael & "The Sports Machine"

George Michael was born on March 24, 1939 at St. Louis Missouri. He began promoting Motown in the Mid West and later moved to the Philadelphia area as an AM DJ, until 1966. He then came to New York City and remained there for over a decade on 77 WABC AM Radio during it's hey day. I remember him when I first started getting into music, during my grade school years of the mid seventies. AM radio was still the thing and 77 WABC was #1, before 66 NBC took over and then we all switched to FM by the end of the decade.

Next time Michael appeared in my life was on Sunday Nights, on the first nationally syndicated sports highlight show. The show was simply titled The George Michael Sports Machine and it began in the early eighties. Back in the day before ESPN & sports networks, all we had was Howard Cosell's Monday Night Football, Halftime highlights & the baseball Games of the Week to know what was happening around the leagues. Every Sunday before going to bed for school (& later work) I would tune into George Michael's Sports Machine.

It was a great tool for sports fans, especially during Football season & pennant races. Michael just talked over the weeks highlights in his classic AM DJ style, without any agendas or criticisms. After introducing each of the highlights, he pressed a button which activated the "sports machine", video monitors attached to a computerized video reel. It was a great show & brings back alot of good memories. Michael was a Washington D.C. sports caster since 1980, and it's where the Sports Machine began.

By 2004 he was joined on the show by a female sportscaster, Lindsay Czarniak. She remained for three years, and in 2007 Michael shut down the Sports Machine for good. On Christmas Eve 2009, Michael passed away from complications from leukemia. The sports television pioneer was 70.

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