5 Questions for Warner Wolf
Recently, the New York Post's Andrew Marchand spoke with Warner Wolf. After being let go by WCBS-TV Ch.2 in May 2004, Wolf does sports on WABC-770 AM's morning show, "Curtis and Cuby," and has his own Saturday morning show on 1050 ESPN Radio. On Feb.2, he was a part of ESPN Classic's "Legends" college basketball series and provided the analysis for Seton Hall-Georgetown.
Q: When WCBS-TV let you go, what was the greatest disappointment?
A: I think I would have said that I was disappointed that after all those years, working alongside Dana Tyler and Ernie Anastos and watching the station make a steady improvement in the 11 o'clock ratings- including last May's 11 o'clock rating book, which was the highest it had been in 10 years- that management decided to break up the team, taking Dana off the 11 o'clock, taking me off altogether and now Ernie's leaving (for Fox 5). That was the biggest disappointment.
Q: When you came up with "Let's go to the videotape," what was the story behind it?
A: When they first put me on television it was about 1969. There wasn't too much videotape then. We mostly shot our own games with film. Through the late-night syndication, it was a Warriors-Bucks game. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was going against Nate Thurmond. I said, "The Warriors led 98-90 in the fourth quarter and look at this defense that Thurmond puts on Jabbar." No tape came up. So I said, "You have to look at this exchange between the two of them, between Nate Thurmond and Kareem." No tape. Finally, I said to the director in the booth, his name was Ernie Bauer, "Ernie, lets go to the videotape." And the tape rolled. After the show, Ernie came out and said, "Warner, that's great. I'm doing 25 things in there. When you said, ‘Let's go to the video tape,' I immediately punched it up. So do it again tomorrow night."
Q: What was it like to be in Rocky IV?
A: It was a different dimension for me. The funny thing is, people still come up to me because they keep playing that movie over and over again. They say: "Hey, I saw you in Rocky IV." I'm glad they asked me to do it.
Q: Will you ever retire?
A: No. The great thing about radio is that as long as your voice is still strong you can go on forever. Look at Paul Harvey.
Q: You've been on the air more than four decades. (Wolf is 67.) Do you think that in TV it seems like you can't be a certain age?
A: Yes. It is a form of age discrimination. In other words, instead of looking at it as a news correspondent that is older has more experience, some executives look at it that he or she is not appealing to the younger audience.