NEW YORK (WFAN) — The familiar ticking of the clock. The roll call. “I’m Bob Simon.”

As the East Coast’s Sunday nightcap following NFL football on CBS, “60 Minutes” and its team of correspondents have become as familiar to sports fans as the Jets, Giants, Packers, Bill Belichick, Peyton Manning or Megatron.

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So it was with a heavy heart Wednesday night that WFAN Sports Radio host Steve Somers announced to his listeners that Simon, a titan of network journalism, had died in a crash on the West Side Highway. Somers spoke for viewers everywhere — sports fans, news junkies and those under the CBS umbrella — in calling the news “stunning,” “awful and terrible.” He was 73.

“The point is that Bob Simon, in the very, very rich history of ’60 Minutes,’ set a standard of excellence or at least reached that standard of excellence that was set from the very beginning,” Somers said, “from Don Hewitt with the producing and again, the aforementioned (Mike) Wallace and (Harry) Reasoner and all of the others.”

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Simon had contributed regularly to “60 Minutes” since 1996. His last piece this past weekend was on the Academy Award-nominated film “Selma.”

“Bob Simon was as good as they came in terms of interviewing, in terms of reporting,” Somers said. “A real, real journalist. And from all accounts — I didn’t know him, I’ve never met him, only was a view like so many millions of others — but such tragedy. And listen, anybody dying in an accident, whether you know of them or not, is always a tragedy. But certainly it hits home because you got to know him, watching him on TV. So it is just a tragedy and condolences, of course, heartfelt prayers … go out to his family, go out to the viewers, go out to his friends.

“Just a sad happening from just hearing about it a little while ago. … Again, heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family and friends and viewers. And that was all of us.”

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