Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rich Brenner Retires...

Rich Brenner Retires 039Normally I won't delve into personnel matters, but a certain passage is so calamitous I'd be remiss were I not to report it: See, Rich Brenner ... is retiring. That's hardly a newsflash to those in the Piedmont, as we've blanketing central North Carolina's airwaves with fond looks back and breathless retro-specials. Hey, it's what we do. In fact, the ability to re-rack the past in living technicolor is just one reason TV stations are far cooler places to work than newspapers. But I didn't log in to poke the local rag with a stick. No, I came to honor an elder, to spotlight the plight of one of the most beloved characters in El Ocho history. Don't believe me? Ask Wrenn and McGinty up there. They've followed Rich into the fire more times than they can remember and would gladly tell you what a leader he is - if they weren't worried they'd get all choked up and lose their Man-Card.

Rich Brenner Retires 021Local TV viewers know Rich Brenner as the consummate sports guy and I can assure you he is. No one can ad-lib unseen highlights or call other people's shots like Ritchey B. His sports commentaries are legendary; thoughtful rants and unbridled opinions you just don't see much of on local TV anymore. But for all his gravitas, the man is an a certified goofball. A lover of all things Seinfeld, Rich can quote most every episode. In fact, the first three years I worked there, he spoke to me only in third season dialogue - when he wasn't lapsing into a Dr. Evil routine from his beloved Austin Powers flicks. For the past seven years however, we've acknowledged each other every day with a weird linguistic ritual. "S-T-T-TYUUUURT!", he'll screech in a pseudo-Scottish brogue, to which I return the favor with an equaly falsetto "R-R-R-EEEEECH! It's a silly little co-worker thing that I will truly miss.

Rich Brenner Retires 011Today, there were more smiles and almost as many quivering lips. Smack dab in the middle of a highly ratcheted news afternoon, we all dropped what we were doing and went to Studio B. There, Rich's adoring sports staff paid tribute to their leader with bribes, prizes and no small amount of vintage video. Hell, there was even a Channel 2 crew on hand spread the love. Jokes were made, hosts were roasted and before it was all over there were genuine tears on the studio floor. Through it all, Rich looked a little numb. But who can blame him. With 35 years in the biz (the last 21 of them here), insatiable communication has been his way of life. Now he can finally chill a little, hug on that grandson and figure out Act Three. Hopefully the quiet knowledge he went out On Top will help him forge that gap. I for one can't wait to see where he'll pop up. Whatever entity he enriches, they'll be the better for Rich Brenner truly is the Last of the Classy. Congratulations, Rich! Now hit the showers...

No comments: