Saturday, June 20, 2009

WPVI's Papa Dies

An icon of Philadelphia television has died. Gary Papa had been at WPVI-TV since 1981 and its Sports Director since 1990. I watched him when I was growing up in Audubon, Pa. He died after a four year fight with prostate cancer.

Sometimes you watch people on TV in big markets and wonder how they got there. Whose butt got kissed by whom to complete this transaction? Not with Gary Papa. Even when he was only on weekends, you could see his commanding camera presence, hear is mellifluous voice and see the comfort and ease he had talking to the camera. His renowned work ethic didn't hurt his cause.

And the one time I met him in person, outside the Dean Smith Center where UNC was set to play #1 ranked Temple in 1988, he was a decent guy.

Anchor Jim Gardner broke into programming to announce the news yesterday:

When Papa broke the news of his illness to the station's general manager, the boss replied, "We're all renting. No one's buying."

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