By Bill Hillman
As is so often the case with conceptions, it is difficult to pinpoint the precise moment when Broadcast Legends was born, Broadcasters need no excuse for a party. In the Bay Area, they have gathered in small groups for decades to talk about their past.
John Holmgren, for example, tells of lunches with Charlie Smith or Verne Paule at the Presidio Officers Club. It was only natural that when old timers got together that they should talk about their careers in broadcasting and exchange stories of what they had done or seen or heard.
Verne Paule himself recalls such lunches with Rich McGlinchey at the old Hungry Hunter in Santa Rosa. Sometime in the early ’90s others joined Verne and Rich, including Rod Sherry, Knowles Robertson and Chet Casselman. Knowles Robertson remembers that some lunches were held in Sonoma.
In addition to lunches in Santa Rosa and Sonoma, there were also informal gatherings at the Presidio Officers Club hosted by John Holmgren. Paule says that in 1992 when Ken Ackerman joined the ancients, he was the last of the seven to join those who are now considered the founding members of Broadcast Legends.
In October 1992, there was a lunch at the Presidio Officers Club — again hosted by Holmgren — at which fourteen broadcasters in attendance were asked to tell stories about their broadcast careers. As the lunch came to an end, the fourteen then became the charter members of Broadcast Legends. If there is a birthday for the Legends, it is probably that day in October 1992.
Within a year, the size of these luncheons had grown from fourteen to more than a hundred. Verne Paule, with tongue in cheek, suggested the group should call itself Broadcast Legends.
Whatever claims there may have been for an earlier origin, it is clear that, by 1993, Broadcast Legends had not only been conceived, born and nurtured through its infancy but had emerged as a healthy, functioning and wildly popular organization.