Don Blair’s Memories

I have an aircheck of my very last newscast in early 1989….plus…early 80’s…an incredible bulletin…news flash..when our London bureau broke the Iran hostage release story. I anchored it in NYC…we were over at 1700 Broadway by then…and Fred Kennedy, breathless, fed the great news from London.

We beat everybody by hours…including NBC Nightly News which never forgave us. Only one source for the story. Blasphemy!! My producer, a youngster, panicked when Kennedy called in saying he had the break in the story. I stood up and told him that the best bureau chief in the business was telling us it was a done deal and that I was going in to the studio and talking up the bulletin…and if Fred was wrong…we would both be fired.

He was right. I treasure that tape for obvious reasons. One of our finest moments in decades of great moments. Anyway…it wasn’t Monitor…years later in fact…but still NBC…and
there is hardly a fragment left to be heard anywhere.

Months later I asked Walt Dibble, news director at WTIC, Hartford (one of the oldest NBC affiliates) what he thought of that Sunday bulletin. He said “Don… have cassettes of it on my desk right now…and no time sales person leaves this building without one….that was what radio is all about.”
Thank you Walt. (His son, Ron, was a fireballer reliever for the Cincinnati Reds.) But don’t ask Nightly News about it. To them it never happened. We made Garrick Utley look lame.

Don Blair