To This Day, MA Residents Honor A NYC Trailblazer In Local TV News
Over the weekend, I took the time to reflect on the accomplishments of John Roland who passed away earlier this month at the age of 81. Although this article was long overdue, my thoughts also prompted me to look back at a gentleman who was also well acquainted with me when visiting WNEW-TV (channel 5) in my ol' hometown of New York City. Bill McCreary was an instrumental part of The 10 O'Clock News as he was with the iconic broadcast since it's inception in 1967 until he retired in 2000. Bill was also John's co-anchor and they were a TRUE team at the Metromedia-Fox outlet.
(10 O' Clock News Theme clip courtesy of TellyFarnsworth)
Mac was always nice to me, a "gentleman's gentleman" who was also a brilliant conversationalist. His personality was real and unique and his stories on the events covered in his career were worthy of my attention. When he wasn't at the anchor desk, Bill hosted a pair of informative public affairs programs "Black News" which made it's debut in 1970 and then was rebranded as "The McCreary Report" when channel 5 switched to Fox in the late 80's. His efforts made him Vice President of WNYW's News Department. Here is a clip of Bill interviewing the late, GREAT Lena Horne:
(Lena Horne-Bill McCreary clip courtesy of FOX 5, WNYW-TV)
Many residents in our tri state region can appreciate watching this broadcasting legend as WNEW was available at various cable TV outlets in the Berkshires which also included Dutchess county in neighboring New York and neighboring Litchfield county in Connecticut. Among the notable figures he also interviewed during the course of his career were Rosa Parks, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela. He was superb in more ways than one!
Mac got his start in radio as he worked at WWRL-AM and WLIB-AM before switching his talents to television. Here is a promo where channel 5's 10 O'Clock News was "The Real Deal" and was committed to bringing a top quality product on the TV airwaves:
(10 O'Clock News promo courtesy of Rb1330)
Bill left us back in 2021. He was 87 years young and his memory ALWAYS remains eternal and everlasting. Here is a tribute that aired on the show where he was an instrumental part of this terrific team from day one:
(Bill McCreary tribute courtesy of Fox 5 New York)
In 1987, Bill was given the N.A.A.C.P.’s Black Heritage Award. Spectrum News, New York One anchor Cheryl Wills summed it up best regarding Mac's dedication to his craft:
“Black newscasters were frowned upon for telling the truth about discrimination and other societal ills in urban America. Bill McCreary told the unvarnished truth, and that’s what set him apart. He told it with tremendous dignity and integrity.”
BOTTOM LINE: My living in the past allows me to look back at some near and dear moments in my life. Meeting Bill McCreary and watching him nightly on TV is truly at the top of the list. I'm sure he has caught up with John in the heaven's above and they are reminiscing about their top notch accomplishments.
(Some information obtained in this article courtesy of The New York Times)
(Featured image courtesy of WNYW-TV Fox 5, New York)
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