Broadcast Pioneers Member Dave Abramson
Broadcast Pioneers member Dave Abramson is a latter-day veteran of Philadelphia broadcasting. He was a late arrival in Philadelphia in 1980 at WPHL-TV from the cornfields of Illinois at WCEE-TV in Rockford, Illinois where he began his television arc in September, 1969, some 48 years ago. Rockford in 1969 was like Philadelphia in 1949. Two going on three stations. It was a great place to get started in something that was still inventing itself locally and full of invention and experiments with minimal equipment and knowledge. Dave did not know that he could not do what was asked. It was figured out and on the air with the help of a great staff, bad equipment and supportive management.
98th market Rockford was a great start for someone with no television experience. Dave just went to the station looking for a part-time job while at the local community college. His high school theatre experience and some college photography experience was good enough. Hired on a Friday, he became a cameraman on Monday. In 10 years at WCEE, Dave moved from the studio to directing all of the usual kids shows, news blocks, religious shows, telethons, and bad car commercials.
An old friend, Bob Clark, had moved from Rockford to WTAF (now WTXF) and called Dave to tell him that WPHL was looking for a director. WPHL was a force in the local production of commercials and a perfect fit for Dave. More religious shows, more bad car commercials, more telethons, Dorie Lenz and the best assignment was Dancin' on Air at the beginning for two seasons. It is still a legend unto its own. Dorie is a former President and former Chairman of the Board of Broadcast Pioneers. "Dancin' On Air" was produced by Broadcast Pioneers Board Member Michael Nise.
From WPHL Dave cultivated Philadelphia broadcast friends all across the city. It was not a stay at one station but a multitude of riches with all the stations. The Phillies asked Dave to help them buy their first PhanaVision screen beginning with a trip to Japan in 1982 with Bill Giles. From that, Dave began another 20 years as a free-lance director with clients all across the production spectrum and the first director of PhanaVision in 1983. It was a great time for Dave as a director for corporate clients, all the local stations, the Phillies, the Eagles, the USFL and the national networks that came to the old Vet. NBC, CBS, ABC, early ESPN, early Fox and all the visiting stations that broadcast from the Vet got Dave's help to get on the air.
Along the way Dave moved from production to engineering which he learned in Rockford in the 2" tape days. And that is what the Phillies asked for as Dave joined the staff at the Phillies in 2003. The new ballpark was coming and the Phillies needed an engineer to guide the Phillies in to the modern broadcast era with all of its iterations. The learning curve continues daily as technology improves. Dave continues to assist all the local stations and networks broadcast seamlessly from CBP with whatever technology they have in place or need. As technology plows forward, Dave's interest in broadcast history remains as a past president and now board member emeritus of Broadcast Pioneers and as a board member of the Early Television Foundation in Hilliard, OH.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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