Sam concluded his working life in 2006 as WQXR’s News Director and morning news anchor, retiring after more than a decade with the station. Before then he had worked in many prestigious local radio newsrooms, among them WOR, WNBC and WYNY, WNEW, and at the NBC and RKO radio networks.
Sam’s 58-year career began because of bad weather. His father was a Baptist minister who also hosted a 15-minute morning radio program from his study desk in the family home in Indiana. When his dad was stranded out of town by a snowstorm, 13-year-old Sam was pressed into service. He’d heard his dad on the air, so he knew how to take a story from the news, couple it with appropriate scripture, and create a short on-air homily. All was going well in that first broadcast — except for the noisy parakeet that lived in a cage in the study. So, explaining the situation to the audience, Sam took the bird out of its cage, placed it in the desk, closed the drawer, and finished the program. When he got to school later that morning, he learned about the power of radio: Sam couldn’t believe how many people had heard him. They didn’t say much about his homily, but they were very interested in what happened to the parakeet!
After that, Sam began spending time at the local station, gradually working there more and more. After college and two years in the Army, Sam worked in local television, but it was radio where his career settled. He came to New York and became a reporter and anchor at WNEW-AM in New York, when that station had one of the largest local news staffs in the city. At the NBC Radio Network, his newscasts were heard on hundreds of stations across the country.
At the top of his profession in New York, Sam worked with many celebrated broadcast names of the day, alongside the Gamblings at WOR, Charles McCord (and Don Imus) at WNBC, and it was none other than the legendary Wolfman Jack, also at WNBC, who announced that the upcoming newscast would be delivered by “Long, tall Sam Hall!”