I’m honored to play a very special role at what to me is the best news station in America. Because in covering business and economic news and the financial markets – representing our great national newspaper, The Wall Street Journal – I serve three different constituencies, simultaneously:
1) Investors and financial market professionals who want the most relevant, specific information,
2) the casually interested, who’d like to learn more about the economy and the markets if only the news were presented in a linear, logical and conversational way…and,
3) everyone else, many of whom are just hanging on for Tom Kaminski, Craig Allen, and the headlines! And for them in particular, I try to make the reports as breezy and entertaining as possible (and thank you WCBS for indulging me in such bits of silliness as the factory whistle that I use as the “closing whistle” just before the market close on Fridays).
A lot of what I do comes from my broadcast heroes, like the first truly hip, slick, and cool disc jockey (when he arrived on the scene in New York in 1950), Al Jazzbeaux Collins, who taught me that a steam whistle is a lot hipper than a clanging bell…that is, unless the bell is on the front of a steam locomotive! And Steve Allen, whose inspired wordplay still influences my every comment.
So my thanks go out to WCBS Vice President/General Manager Steve Swenson, Program Director Crys Quimby, and News Director Tim Scheld -and of course my friends at the Journal– for bringing me back to my true and beloved broadcast home, Newsradio 880.
Some Q’s and A’s:
Why I went into broadcasting: I wanted to cover politics, to be down on the convention floor with Mike Wallace and Harry Reasoner and Roger Mudd. Had they given me one of those Apollo 11-era CBS headsets with the antenna, I would have been ready with a “That’s the story from the Wyoming delegation, Walter.”
Favorite broadcasters: baseball play-by-play guys, mainly… the voices of my hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, Bob Prince and Jim Woods (The Possum)… Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Vin Scully, Phil Rizzuto, Harry Caray, Ernie Harwell, Jerry Coleman. Also Win Elliot, who for so many years did such graceful and whimsical work on the weekend CBS Radio Network sports updates. And Charlie Osgood, and Hughes Rudd, and Eric Sevareid (I used to hang on his every word!).
Pets: Two cats, Azucar and Diablo
Favorite Food: Tapioca
Favorite High-Calorie Drink: Egg Nog
Favorite Spirited Drink: Irish Whiskey
Favorite Apple: Jonamac
Favorite Hot Dog: The Original Hot Dog Shop in Pittsburgh
Favorite Film: North by Northwest (I’ve seen it at least 70 times)
Favorite TV Genre: Any old cop show with a jazz score and lots of big cars in action
Favorite All-Time TV Show: SCTV
Favorite Authors: William Manchester, Joseph Epstein
Favorite Columnist: The Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz
Favorite Book: Never Leave Well Enough Alone, by the great
industrial designer Raymond Loewy (favorite chapter: “Sex and Locomotives”)
Favorite Economist: Milton Friedman
Favorite Musicians: I’m a jazz guy, so if names like Gene Quill and Gary Foster and Warne Marsh don’t mean anything to you, then you can skip to the next section…
…but if you want to delve a little further, especially into my music activities, visit my website: rayhoffman.com.
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