Two Passings

Two local media fixtures from two very different parts of Northeast Ohio’s media landscape have passed away in just the past few days…

THE PROFESSOR: Sports talk radio fans from the 1980s and 1990s know what the phrase “The Professor has died” means.

Geoff Sindelar actually started his run on local sports talk radio in a familiar place – as a caller to “Pete Franklin’s Sportsline” on the old WWWE/1100 “3WE” in Cleveland. (Of course, another regular Franklin caller became Clear Channel talk WTAM’s afternoon drive host – Mike Trivisonno.)

The Plain Dealer’s Grant Segal helps our memory a bit, noting Sindelar’s transition from caller to host:

In 1987, he took turns filling for the departed Pete Franklin on WWWE, then won the job outright.

“The Professor” moved on to become host of his own program on sports talker WKNR, then “SportsRadio 1220” at 1220 AM. He was one of WKNR’s signature personalities, hosting drive-time talk on the station through much of the 1990s.

Lorain Morning Journal/Lake County News-Herald sportswriter Jeff Schudel has an article on Sindelar’s passing here.

In the comments on this article, we found a link to a video of Sindelar doing an Internet sports talk segment on college football, apparently from 2007. That’s where the picture comes from. (Note that if you follow the link, the video starts automatically.)

Sindelar stepped down from his WKNR show in 1997, citing a need to concentrate on his family business. The Plain Dealer’s Segal notes that he took over G.F. Sindelar Co. from his father, a business “which sells products by manufacturers to businesses”. Sindelar was always well known as the local sports radio talk show host with “a real job”.

He was also well known as a connoisseur of sports collectibles, and the foremost expert on the topic on the radio in Northeast Ohio. If a local sports enthusiast wanted to know if a piece of sports memorabilia was a “good item!”, Sindelar was the first person to ask.

We’d also forgotten “The Professor”‘s TV work, including a North Coast Cable-based show “Sports 101” that was apparently seen nationally in the 1990s. (North Coast Cable was the original Cleveland-based cable system, which is today’s Cleveland arm of Time Warner Cable, passing through Cablevision and Adelphia along the way.)

The Segal article and later media reports clarify Sindelar’s cause of death Thursday as a cerebral hemmorage. Earlier reports, apparently based on information from friends, said he died of a heart attack.

Either way, at 62 years old, “The Professor” has passed away…

MOFFITT PASSES: Off the air, and in television, Jack Moffitt was a vital part of the local media scene.

Moffitt had a long career in television management, but his longest and most known stretch of work was as the general manager of WUAB/43, the Lorain-licensed station run out of Parma that by “playing favorites” became Cleveland’s dominant independent station.

(WUAB, of course, is today’s Raycom Media-owned MyNetwork TV affiliate.)

Moffitt didn’t revel in the spotlight, so we – without help – couldn’t tell you much about his career.

But his niece, Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting AAA WNWV/107.3 “V107.3” promotions/marketing director Suzy Peters, is an OMW reader, and put together a biography based on his personal notes. (She also passed along the picture we’ve used in this item.)

Services for Moffitt are scheduled for today (Saturday) at Chambers Funeral Home, 29150 Lorain Road in North Olmsted, with visiting hours 1-3 PM and the service from 3-4 PM.

Suzy Peters’ biography of her uncle Jack is reprinted below…and we thank her for sharing, and offer our condolences to her and her family…

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John “Jack” Moffitt, age 80, of North Royalton passed away on March 24th.

Born in Alliance, Ohio, Jack graduated from Lakewood High School, where he served as Student Council President, and went on to graduate from Western Reserve University in 1952 with a BA in speech.

His professional career began in 1943 as a curtain puller at the Cleveland Play House. He hosted a radio sports show on “Teen Time” on WJW radio from 1946-1948. He began his television career in 1947 as a page boy for WEWS, Ohio’s first TV station, and became a cameraman in 1948 as well as a film editor and news photographer.

He was drafted in 1952 and served in the Army Signal Corps as its first airborne TV cameraman, telecasting war games back to headquarters out of an L-20 Dehaviland Beaver during the Korean War.

He returned to WEWS in 1954 as their Public Service Director and Promotion Director before being promoted to Producer of all Dorothy Fuldheim programs. He took over as the One O’Clock Club Executive Producer in 1960 formatting the daily show with a live studio audience as luncheon guests.

In 1964 he joined WJW TV as an Account Executive. In 1968 he joined WUAB, Channel 43, as General Sales Manager and helped build the station and hire the staff. He became General Manager in 1972 and VP/GM in 1977. He left WUAB in 1985 to put a new independent station, KTHT in Houston, TX on the air.

From 1987 to 2001 he helped build several TV stations in Florida, Los Angeles, North Carolina and Georgia. He finally retired in 2001, capping off over 55 years in Broadcasting.

He was a founding member of the Cleveland chapter of NATAS and has won numerous awards, including 3 Emmy Awards.

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