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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Still #1 in our hearts

Editor’s Notebook: Still #1 in our hearts

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This one will separate the men from the boys when it comes to longevity in the, cough, “DMV.” And if you’ve been around the DMV long enough, you’d never be caught dead calling it the DMV. Blech!

It was in an edition of the Northern Virginia Sun back this week in 1989 that one of the columnists opined that Glenn Brenner was “far and away” the best sportscaster on D.C. TV news.

Now, that was not a statement everyone would agree with. Glenn was king over at Channel 9, but George Michael ruled the roost at Channel 4, and had his own legion of followers. Each got paid tons, had lots of airtime and large staffs. Michael was more about the sports (except when he went off on tangents like bull-riding, pro rasslin’ and NASCAR). Glenn was more about having fun, with some sports thrown in just to make it legit.

In fact, if you liked them both, you didn’t need to pick: If memory serves, Brenner came on about 6:30 p.m., with Michael then coming on down the dial at 6:50 or so. So for nearly a full half-hour, you had not just sports, but two big personalities, to enjoy.


Alas, as those who know this tale can attest, Brenner died way too soon, felled by a brain tumor at age 44. I’m pretty sure every anchor in town, no matter the channel, welled up with tears as they reported that news. Most of the viewing audience did, too.

In addition to George Michael, there were plenty of good sportcasters who were on the air in ensuing years, but the loss of Brenner definitely ended an era. And once Michael hung it up, the days of big-time TV-news sportscasters in D.C. were gone.

But some of us have the memories!

ALSO FROM THE HISTORY FILE: Back in May 1958, the Sun reported, President Eisenhower was going one of those things he excelled in – bobbing and weaving and trying to buy time in an effort to have things work themselves out – as he gave mixed messages whether he would send federal troops into Virginia to enforce court-ordered school integration.

Ike had done it before – he sent the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock in September 1957, and nobody, but nobody, messes with the 101st Airborne. He may not have been passionate about integration, but he saw a bigger, Cold War picture in the ugly scenes of defiance emanating Little Rock: “Our enemies are gloating over this incident and using it everywhere to misrepresent our nation,” he said in a televised address as he ordered in the troops.

As it turned out, Eisenhower didn’t have to send the federal troops into Virginia for the first time since 1861. State leaders – reluctantly, grudgingly and without any grace – moved to allow integration starting in 1959. They took their sweet time in it, though; some schools, even here in Northern Virginia, still were mostly segregated by the time I got to classrooms in the mid-1970s.

  • Scott McCaffrey
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