Born July 1st, 1907, in Rochester New York, Bill Stern was one of radio's most entertaining and influential sportscasters. At a very young age, he embraced a passion for sports and the theatre. Stern began doing radio play-by-play commentary in 1925, when he was hired by Rochester New York radio station, WHAM, to cover football games. In 1932, he was named stage director for Radio City Music Hall, but left in 1934 to pursue a career announcing football games alongside sportscaster Graham McNamee.
In 1937, Stern was hired by NBC to host the Colgate Sports Newsreel along with Friday night boxing fights. Stern's experience in theater was highlighted in his broadcasting as he brought his wonderfully engaging theatrical style to the microphone.
The broadcast was heard under several different titles over the years including The Bill Stern Sports Review, The Colgate Sports Newsreel, and Bill Stern Sports but the series is usually referred to as Bill Stern Sports Newsreel.
Bill Stern Sports Newsreel was one of radio broadcastings most entertaining and engaging programs. Bill was prone to the dramatic and often used organ music, full dramatizations and sound effects during his broadcasts and throughout the show a male quartet harmonized appropriate melodies. His enthusiastic voice and colorful broadcasting style attracted many fans. On his shows, he told stories of sports legends and though based on truth he never let facts get in the way of a good story and kept listeners fervently waiting for the high point. Stern was a master storyteller who in his narrative used emphasis, reiteration, and long dramatic pauses to great effect.
Bill Stern's Sports Newsreel was heard on NBC radio from 1937 - 1953, and CBS radio from 1953 - 1956. Until 1951, the fifteen-minute show was known as the Colgate Sports Newsreel. There were many guest stars and each show shared a story. Some stories dealt with coincidences and other stories dealt with the simple twists of fate and though they may not have all been completely truthful, they were very engaging.
Bill Stern was also one of the first commentators of televised boxing which he did until 1956. After retiring from television broadcasting, Stern continued with radio sports reports and commentaries for the Mutual Broadcasting System in the late 1950s and 1960s. During this period, he resided in Rye, New York, where he lived his last fifteen years.
Bill Stern died on November 19th, 1971 at the age of 64. He will always be remembered for the enthusiastic and entertaining style he brought to the Bill Stern Sports Newsreel.
Posthumously Stern was elected to the National Sportscasters and Sports Writers Hall of fame in 1974 and the American Sportscasters Hall of fame in 1984. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of fame.