Friday, April 19, 2019

R.I.P.: Chet Choppock, Broadcaster Known As "The Godfather of Sports"

Chet Choppock (April 30, 1948 – April 17, 2019)
Chet Coppock, a longtime Chicago TV sportscaster and pioneering sports talk radio host who flamboyantly wore his bravado like his hip-length raccoon coat, has died.

According to The Chicago Tribune, the 70-year-old Coppock died Wednesday as a result of injuries suffered as a passenger in an April 11 car accident outside Hilton Head Island, S.C.

A graduate of New Trier East High School and Columbia College who grew up in suburban Northfield, Coppock was a leading sportscaster at Chicago’s NBC-5 in the 1980s and hosted the popular “Coppock on Sports” radio program, on which he greeted callers by saying, “Your dime, your dance floor.”

Chet Choppock
Coppock seemed to have hit on what he wanted to do in life as far back as high school. As he liked to tell the story, he convinced Bears star Sid Luckman to sit for an interview at halftime of a sophomore football game he was calling on the school radio station.

Born April 30, 1948, Coppock grew up idolizing the late Chicago broadcasting legend Jack Brickhouse, voice of the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls and whatever else was in front of him and his microphone.

“Jack Brickhouse wasn't just good or great, he was the single most versatile broadcaster in Chicago history,” Coppock would recall.

While attending Columbia, Coppock got a low-level job at what's now FOX-32 at age 19 and within three months was writing sports copy. He was on the air for the station before he turned 20.

Coppock picked up his bona fides in six years as a sportscaster at Indianapolis’ WISH-TV. The pro wrestling fan in him was tickled to turn up in an Indianapolis Star reader poll as both the most popular and most disliked sportscaster in town.

From WISH, at which colleagues included an up-and-coming anchor named Jane Pauley, he again circled back to Chicago, joining NBC-5. His time there was short — just three years — but he left quite an impression.

His radio shows beginning on WMAQ-AM, a shrewd blend of bellowing bombast and cajoling interviews, established a template for much of what was to follow as sports talk became its own format.

WSCR-AM 670 host Dan McNeil, once Coppock's producer, tweeted that Coppock “was a mentor and, though we often battled, a friend. Forever in his debt, with enormous sadness.”

No comments:

Post a Comment