Hal Brown Passing

By Joe Nelson
   Sad to hear about the passing of veteran newsman Hal Brown. I received this message from Mark Jeannette in my email. I wanted to share it. Thanks Mark.

Hal Brown former KSDO, KOGO, WTOP, KMPH-FM, BCA ,Passed away on March 15th from a sudden illness in Las Vegas NV. Has was on the air at KSDO-1130 Newsradio in 1978 when a PSA jet collided with a small plane over North Park in 1978. He was part of the first KOGO-NewsRadio team in 1983-84. He was the North County Bureau Chief for KGTV-10, Program director of the very first all news FM station KMPH-FM in Fresno. Hal was also the News Director of WTOP-AM in Washington DC during the Mid 90’s. Recently Hal was with BCA 1090am etc.

A Memorial Service / Surf Paddle out will be held on Apr 11 at Wind n Sea beach in La Jolla at 1pm
He is survived by his wife Joanne, Daughter Toni and his son’s Mark and Derek.


Clips of work
“We heard this huge explosion,” says Hal Brown, the announcer on KSDO’s morning news program. “I ran to part the curtains, and I caught a glint of falling metal out of the corner of my eye. Seconds later, we heard this tremendous explosion. Somehow, I knew there had to have been a midair collision. I interrupted CBS News to say there was a tremendous explosion in the North Park area. I said something like it was a midair collision and we’d get back with more details. That report hit the airwaves about 30 seconds after the crash.”

KSDO’s news director, Joe Gillespie, did something he knows is against unwritten broadcasting rules: He left his on-air post. “I heard the crash, and next thing I know, I’m looking for the keys to a station car,” he says. “I knew I had to get to the scene, and I knew the car had a radio. Before I delegated anything, I realized that I could probably do it faster myself. [Gillespie was the only one who knew where the car that had the transmitting radio was parked, and he had the keys in his possession already.] I knew we had to get something on the air. That was my goal. I didn’t want to be there just for the sake of being first.”

Gillespie believes he was at the crash site at Dwight and Boundary—tapes have him calling it Dwight and Boulevard—at the west side of the devastation. Channel 39 was at the east end. Neither Gillespie nor Britton remembers seeing the other. “My main focus was to see what was going on, then run back to the car radio to file my dispatch,” says Gillespie. By the time he reached the area of the crash, Gillespie had a live feed back to Brown, who was now running solo at the microphone, with sportscaster John DeMott working the phones.

Remarkably, Brown and DeMott were able to get San Diego Airport manager Maurice “Bud” McDonald on the phone to confirm that a PSA jet had crashed on approach to Lindbergh Field. Soon, CBS News was carrying KSDO’s reports live to the nation and the world.

BROADCAST COMPANY OF THE AMERICAS (BCA) VP/Programming HAL BROWN has announced his retirement effective JUNE 30th, 2009. Filling the shoes of the 40-year broadcasting vet with JACK EVANS. EVANS boasts 25 years in radio, six of those years in SAN DIEGO, including some time as SVP/Midwest and Rocky Mtn. Regions for CLEAR CHANNEL.
BROWN was named VP/Programming in OCTOBER, 2008. "In late 2008, BCA was struggling from a programming standpoint," BCA Pres./CEO JOHN LYNCH said. "Ratings had declined and the programming department was lacking leadership. HAL came in, righted the ship and his leadership and direction immediately reaped benefit ... I attempted to dissuade HAL from his retirement, but he was very clear when he took over the leadership of the programming department, that he wanted to retire soon ... I am pleased that Hal will continue to advise me and play a part-time role on XX [XEPRS] and provide content to the expanding XX website.
"HAL BROWN has provided a solid base from which to grow the BCA stations. I am saddened to see HAL retire," LYNCH continued. "However, JACK EVANS is one of the top programmers in the country. I have competed against JACK for many years and his intensity, his creativity, and commitment to winning is second to none. HAL leaves things in good hands with JACK EVANS."
"I'm truly honored for the opportunity to work with JOHN LYNCH and the team at BCA," EVANS said. "Looking at the successes Mr. LYNCH has had over the years, I am comforted to know there is still an owner of radio stations committed to local content for communities."


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