Wednesday, December 11, 2013

R.I.P.: MA Broadcaster William Hahn

William Hahn
William H. Hahn Jr., member of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2009, died of sepsis Nov. 15 in his Quincy home.

He was 89, according to

Born in New York City, he contracted polio as a boy and wore a leg brace. He rarely discussed his limp and never considered himself disabled, according to friends and family.

“He was a kind, brilliant, sweet, tough man, and by toughness I mean you had to be tough to survive at the highest levels of broadcasting for 50 years,” said newscaster Ted O’Brien, who met Mr. Hahn in 1974 when O’Brien arrived from Minneapolis to become a reporter on Channel 7.

As an announcer Hahn Jr. broke into his regular radio programming on April 12, 1945, with the news that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had died.

“You just can’t conceive of how dramatic that was because I’d never known another president. It was like God was dead,” Mr. Hahn recalled in an interview with The Old Colony Memorial newspaper of Plymouth.

For Mr. Hahn, the 1940s were the beginning of a Boston broadcasting career that spanned more than 50 years and scores of interviews with leaders and celebrities. At the dawn of the television age, he used the new medium to broadcast shows from around New England for the Yankee Network, including a three-part series on John F. Kennedy, who was then a young congressman before he ran for US Senate in 1952.

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