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Gretna Career College

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Question:
His story / interview with Lena Horn is (in my opinion) the only memorable thing 60 Minutes ever did..


Answer:
The best write-up or remembrance I saw in the media for late Ed Bradley was in a non-syndicated local column in Philadelphia's Friday Daily News. What I didn't know before was that Bradley got his start at reknowned decades-long #1 African-American oriented programming outlet WDAS, and working with legendary Soul jock Butterball. I would never doubt that Bradley knew who Butterball, and others like late Georgie Woods, and Jocko Henderson were, and what they meant to local community here, but I didn't know his broadcast roots started there. I only noticed him in the mid-70's for the first time as someone significant in broadcasting. Worth a read, for the fans and admirers of the late reporter; funny and informative, and provides some colorful depth on the man:

[open quote]

A 'TRUE JOURNALIST,' PHILLY'S NATIVE SON - By JOHN F. MORRISON

'ED BRADLEY was a serious broadcast journalist who won numerous honors and covered most of the hottest stories of the past three decades, but he also had a great sense of humor.

Like the time in the early '60s when he was a news anchor for Philadelphia radio station WDAS and colleague Joe "Butterball" Tamburro set fire to one end of the long strip of his copy paper.

"He saw the fire and started reading faster and faster," Tamburro recalled. "The fire finally reached his hands as he was finishing up. After he got off the air, he laughed so hard."

Then there was the time Bradley went riding with Willie Nelson for a TV piece about the singer. As they were mounting up, Nelson asked him if he liked to ride.

"Not especially," Bradley said.

"Good," said Nelson, "we gave you a horse that doesn't like to be ridden."

Ed Bradley, who grew up in a tough neighborhood of West Philadelphia, who never forgot his roots as he traveled the world for CBS, winning awards wherever he went, died yesterday in New York City of complications of leukemia. He was 65.

"He loved cheesesteaks and would do anything to get me to get him one," Tamburro said. "He loved Philadelphia. I remember him as a fun guy."

Bradley was a pathfinder and inspiration for black journalists. Last year the National Association of Black Journalists gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award. The group also gave him its Salute to Excellence Award this year for his report "Bridge to Gretna," which explored the reasons why white police officers closed a bridge out of New Orleans to black evacuees after Hurricane Katrina.

Reginald Stuart, Daily News national-affairs correspondent in the '80s, shared the spotlight with Bradley at the awards ceremony. Stuart, now recruiting consultant for the McClatchy Co., described Bradley as part of the "second wave of black journalists who built on the foundation laid by black pioneers in mainstream media."

"Ed Bradley was a strong journalist who stayed focused on the importance of serious journalism at a time when the industry tried to push us to fluff up the news," Stuart said. "Ed Bradley stayed true as to why we got in this business."

Bradley was to receive the Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award from Temple University at a luncheon on Oct. 24, but was too ill to attend.

In a letter read at the event, he made it clear he did not want anyone to accept the award for him, that he would return in person to receive it. But that wasn't to be.

"I knew he was ill, but not that ill," Klein said. "It was just a shock. He was a caring and wonderful man."

"Today, the world lost a true journalist and the City of Philadelphia lost a favorite son," said Mayor Street. "Ed Bradley's native city followed his career with interest from his early days at WDAS Radio through his many achievements on CBS's '60 Minutes.'

"Ed Bradley's pioneering career opened doors for many African-American journalists who continue to carry on his legacy."

The tall, handsome, bearded Bradley, with his trademark earring, bounced all over the world for CBS, working in just about every country and every major city. He was wounded by shrapnel in Cambodia, and waded into the sea off Malaysia to drag in a sinking boat while doing a report on the Vietnamese "boat people."

One of Bradley's most powerful reports for CBS News was a two-hour, two-night segment on racial segregation that focused on his hometown.

He might have let his own feelings influence his report a bit because when an elementary school principal asked him, "What do you do with youngsters who don't meet grade standards?" he retorted, "You teach them."

Bradley had spent several years as a sixth-grade teacher at the Mann Elementary School in Wynnefield before embarking on his broadcasting career, and knew what he was talking about.

The program, "Blacks in America: With All Deliberate Speed," brought him an Emmy, one of the 19 Emmys he won in a career that included 26 years on the acclaimed CBS "60 Minutes" show, replacing Dan Rather.

Veteran Philadelphia broadcaster Larry Kane recalled that when he was breaking into local broadcasting, there were practically no black faces on camera.

"He was the first real success of an African-American on the American television news scene," Kane said. "It was a real thrill to know him.

"A lot of these guys, when they get to that position, they kind of forget where they came from, but he never did."

In 1979, Bradley met legendary Philadelphia TV personality John Facenda in a TV studio. He told Facenda that his was the first face he saw on television.

"You know when I was going to St. Ignatius Parochial School in West Philadelphia," he told Facenda, "the nuns used to call television 'the devil's box.' They didn't want us watching it, but I know the oldest nun in the convent there used to sneak out every night to watch you do the news."

Bradley grew up at 47th and Aspen streets, the only child of Edward Bradley and the former Gladys Gaston. After St. Ignatius, he attended the now-closed St. Thomas More High School.

He said his parents, who were separated, told him he could be whatever he wanted to be. "When you hear that often enough, you believe it," he said.

It was while in high school that he got his first taste of broadcasting. He used to hang around the station at WDAS. He was a go-fer for disc jockey Del Shields, who let him do some news and a record show. He wasn't being paid, and when he asked Shields for some transportation money, Shields fired him.

Out in the parking lot, shedding tears, it suddenly dawned on the kid that if he wasn't being paid, how could he be fired. He marched back into the station and went back to work.

But a career in education loomed. He graduated from Cheyney State College, now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, with a degree in education in 1964 and went to work as a teacher at the Mann school.

He had been moonlighting at WDAS as a jazz disc jockey, basketball play-by-play announcer and news reader while teaching, and when he finally gave up education he returned to the station for a full-time job - making $1.25 an hour.



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