Charles Osgood announced he is retiring this fall from his Sunday Morning program on CBS television (Channel 11 in Houston). For those of you unaware of this gem of a broadcaster, shame on you. You have missed out on what could be argued, the greatest storyteller of all time.
Notice I did not say journalist. For more than 22 years, Osgood was a master at informing his audience of events in a way that drew you in and would not let you go. In today's world of shrinking ratings and fragmented audiences he delivered the goods. CBS Sunday Morning continues to be a ratings leader. With a year-to-date audience of nearly 6 million viewers, it consistently tops rival Sunday morning news shows.
I first heard Osgood on the radio where four times a day, he found stories to share with his listeners, from major national news to human interest essays. His ability to use words to paint pictures left all of us who wanted to write for a living feel inferior.
When I heard he was leaving TV but would continue to host The Osgood File, I wondered if radio stations still even carry it. It had been years since I heard it in Houston. Sadly, I discovered Houston is one of two top 10 markets where the program is not broadcast (Atlanta is the other).
Somehow, stations in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago can spare four minutes so that their listeners can learn and be entertained by the man known as the CBS News “Poet in Residence.”
Bill van Rysdam is a former longtime radio programming director.