Charles Osgood

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For the psychologist, see Charles E. Osgood. For the American artist, see Charles Osgood (artist).
Charles Osgood
Birth name Charles Osgood Wood, III
Born (1933-01-08) January 8, 1933 (age 83)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Show The Osgood File
Network CBS Radio News
Time slot Varies
Show CBS News Sunday Morning
Network CBS News
Time slot Sunday morning, 9:00-10:30
Country United States
Spouse(s) Jean Crafton
Children 5
Website OsgoodFile.com

Charles Osgood Wood, III (born January 8, 1933), known professionally as Charles Osgood, is an American radio and television commentator and writer. His daily program, The Osgood File, has been broadcast on the CBS Radio Network since 1971. Osgood is known for being the host of CBS News Sunday Morning, a role he held from April 10, 1994 until September 25, 2016.

He is also known for being the voice of the narrator of Horton Hears a Who!, an animated film released in 2008, based on the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. He published a memoir of his boyhood in 2004.

On August 28, 2016, Osgood formally announced his retirement from CBS News Sunday Morning, with his final appearance airing on September 25.[1]

Childhood and education[edit]

Osgood was born in the Bronx, New York City in 1933. As a child, he moved with his family to the Liberty Heights neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic school. His memoir about growing up in Baltimore during World War II is called Defending Baltimore Against Enemy Attack (2004) and he recounts his perspective from age nine.

Osgood graduated from Fordham University in 1954 with a bachelor of science degree in economics.

Early career[edit]

For the first dozen years of his career, except as noted below Osgood used his legal name professionally either as “Charles Wood” or as “Charles O. Wood.”

WFUV Radio in the Bronx, New York[edit]

While attending Fordham, Osgood volunteered at the university's FM campus radio station, WFUV. He often played piano between records on his shows and frequently collaborated with other students including future actor Alan Alda and future producer and director Jack Haley, Jr.[2]

United States Army Band[edit]

Immediately after graduating from Fordham, Osgood was hired as an announcer by WGMS (AM) and WGMS-FM, the classical music stations in Washington, D.C. (today WSPZ and WTOP-FM respectively). Shortly afterward, however, he enlisted in the military to be the announcer for the United States Army Band. In 1991, he explained this turn of events in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

[After college graduation] I went right to work for a classical musical [sic] station in Washington called WGMS. I was an announcer. I learned a lot doing that.
I was about to be drafted in the Army, this was 1954, and I ran into a guy while I was having dinner with a friend of mine and he was dressed in a white uniform, the most fancy uniform this side of the Ritz Hotel. It turned out he was the announcer for the United States Army Band. I asked him when he was getting out and he said within the next few weeks, so the next morning I was parked out at the commanding officer's office. He was impressed with the fact I could pronounce Rimsky-Korsakov. That's how I got the job. I spent three years with the United States Army Band. It was a great experience.[3]

Besides acting as the band's master of ceremonies, he performed as a pianist with the band and sang with the United States Army Chorus.[4]

John Cacavas and their 1966 single "Gallant Men"[edit]

His roommate was John Cacavas who composed arrangements for the band. They would collaborate on many songs, a relationship that would continue through the 1960s. In 1967, along with U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen (R-Illinois) together they won a Grammy Award for best spoken word performance for their single Gallant Men.[5] As Dirksen read a patriotic poem written by H. Paul Jeffers about the dignity of duty in the armed forces, it was framed by Cacavas and Osgood’s martial music and stirring choral refrains.[6] In 1967 it peaked at number 16 on the Billboard 200 record chart.[7]

Other announcing work in Washington, D.C.[edit]

Stationed adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery at Fort Myer during his service with the U.S. Army Band, using pseudonyms Osgood worked as an announcer for radio stations in the Washington area to supplement his income and experience. He hosted the morning show on WEAM (WZHF today) as "Charlie Woods."[8] At WGMS, he called himself “Carl Walden.” At WPGC (AM) (WJFK (AM) today), a rock station, he referred to himself as “Chuck Forest.”[9]

Private radio show for President Eisenhower during his hospitalization[edit]

In September 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered a serious heart attack during a vacation in Denver, Colorado and was confined to a hospital room there until November. During this time, under the auspices of WGMS Osgood hosted a closed-circuit program of classical music delivered exclusively to the president's room to encourage his relaxation and convalescence.[10]

WGMS Radio in Washington, D.C.[edit]

When his tour with the U.S. Army Band was completed, in October 1957 Osgood returned to WGMS full-time as announcer Charles Wood and as a special assistant to the general manager.[11] Before the end of 1958, WGMS promoted him to program director.[12]

Narrator on compilation album "FDR Speaks"[edit]

In 1960, credited by name and as a WGMS announcer, he provided introductions and commentary on a six-record album of a collection of thirty-three speeches by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt titled FDR Speaks. Edited by historian Henry Steele Commager, it included a welcome by the president's widow, former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Their son Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. recited one of his father’s speeches.[13] The Billboard magazine reported that FDR Speaks "was one of the most listened-to-attractions" at the 1960 Democratic National Convention which nominated senators John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson as its candidates for President and Vice President of the United States.[14]

WHCT Television in Hartford, Connecticut[edit]

In April 1962, the parent company of WGMS, RKO General, transferred Osgood to Hartford, Connecticut and promoted him to his first job in television: the general manager of Channel 18, WHCT (WUVN today).[15]

WHCT was the first TV station in the United States to be licensed to use Phonevision, a system developed by Zenith that scrambled the station’s picture and sound. This limited viewing to paid subscribers who were issued decoders attached to their television sets and telephone lines. The station offered its subscribers premium programming such as first-run movies, live sporting events, and cultural programs like ballets and symphonies, all with no commercials.[16] Although RKO expected to operate WHCT at a loss for the three years before the Federal Communications Commission was due to renew the station's license, by early 1963 the financial realities became too difficult to bear unabated.[17] In a 1985 interview with Broadcasting magazine, Osgood explained:

[The station] lost money at an alarming rate... [RKO] left me off the hook very gently. They said, "you’re fired."[18]

ABC[edit]

Unemployed at age 30, Osgood turned to one of his Fordham classmates, Frank McGuire, who directed program development at ABC in New York. In 1963 McGuire hired Osgood to be one of the writers and hosts of Flair Reports which related human interest stories on the ABC Radio Network.[19]

"I went from being the world's youngest station manager to being the world's oldest cub reporter," he quipped in a 1981 interview with People magazine.[20]

Another new McGuire hire for Flair Reports whom Osgood befriended at ABC was Ted Koppel.[21]

Becoming "Charles Osgood"[edit]

He began using the name "Charles Osgood" at ABC because the network already had an announcer named "Charles Woods." In a 2005 interview with Inside Radio, Osgood related the story:

They didn't want to have a Charles Woods and a Charles Wood. When they told me to pick a name, I used my middle name as my last name. It’s worked out well and is a little more distinctive and professional.[22]

Osgood moved over to CBS Radio in 1967 when it became clear, in his words, that he "wasn't going anywhere" at ABC.[23]

Later career[edit]

In August 1967, Osgood anchored the first morning drive shift for WCBS after its conversion to an all-news format. The first day of all-news programming aired on WCBS-FM after an airplane crashed into the AM station's antenna tower on New York's High Island, keeping WCBS off air until a temporary tower could be erected.

Osgood is host of Westwood One's The Osgood File, heard four times each weekday morning drive time on radio stations nationwide. Each three-minute Osgood File focuses on a single story, ranging from a breaking development of national importance to a whimsical human-interest vignette. Some of these he does in rhyme, which is why he is known as CBS's "Poet in Residence."

On television, Osgood has been hosting CBS News Sunday Morning since 1994, having succeeded the original host Charles Kuralt. Osgood's tenure as host has now exceeded that of Kuralt. He has also anchored the CBS Afternoon News and the CBS Morning News. Osgood hosted his last episode of Sunday Morning on September 25, 2016.

Among his personal trademarks are his bow-tie, his weekly TV signoff "Until then, I'll see you on the radio," and his propensity for delivering his commentaries in whimsical verse. Example: When the Census Bureau invented a designation for cohabitant(s) as "Person(s) of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters", or "POSSLQ", Osgood turned it into a pronounceable three-syllable word and composed a prospective love poem that included these lines, which he later used as the title of one of his books:

"There's nothing that I wouldn't do"
"If you would be my POSSLQ."

Osgood regularly pronounced the 21st-century years 2001, 2002, etc., as "twenty oh one, twenty oh two..." as opposed to the more common "two thousand one, two thousand two", etc.

Author and journalism[edit]

In 1956, he wrote a three-act play called "A Single Voice."[24]

He writes a biweekly syndicated newspaper column. He is the author of six books: Nothing Could Be Finer Than a Crisis That Is Minor in the Morning (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1979); There's Nothing That I Wouldn't Do If You Would Be My POSSLQ (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1981); Osgood on Speaking: How to Think on Your Feet Without Falling on Your Face (William Morrow and Company, 1988); The Osgood Files (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1991); See You on the Radio (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1999); and the most recent, Defending Baltimore Against Enemy Attack (Hyperion, 2004).

Family[edit]

Osgood's family consists of his wife Jean Crafton, their five children (Kathleen, Winston, Anne-E., Emily J., and Jamie), and three grandsons.[25]

Osgood's nephew, Emmy Award-winning composer Christopher Mangum, composes film scores, including themes for National Geographic specials and The Discovery Channel.

Honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Charles Osgood announces retirement as anchor of CBS' "Sunday Morning" after 22 years". CBS News. August 28, 2016. 
  2. ^ Parisi, Albert J. (April 24, 1994). "New Jersey Q & A: Charles Osgood; A New Face at CBS 'Sunday Morning'". New York Times. New York, N.Y.: New York Times. 
  3. ^ King, Susan (May 5, 1991). "Charles Osgood: His Personal News Slant". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Chandler Publishing Co. 
  4. ^ Lyles, Tracey (January 13, 2015). "Famous Military Veterans". Army Live. Washington, D.C.: United States Army. 
  5. ^ Lentz, Harris M. III (2015). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2014. McFarland. pp. 57–58. 
  6. ^ "Dirksen in Landslide - Cap. Presses Rolling". The Billboard. Cincinnati, Ohio: The Billboard Publishing Company. December 17, 1966. 
  7. ^ Bronson, Fred (March 4, 2000). "Trivia Trivia Trivia". Billboard. New York, N.Y.: Billboard Music Group. 
  8. ^ Langdon, Chuck; Shephard, Lee (January 27, 2007). "Bill Trumbull... Radio Legend". Out of the Past. 6m44s minutes in. Edward Cooney, Out of the Past Productions. Fairfax (Va.) Public Access. 
  9. ^ "Fifth Estater". Broadcasting. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications. September 9, 1985. 
  10. ^ Kilian, Michael (June 28, 2001). "'Say Sumpin' Funny Joe:' Author Charles Osgood documents G.I. humor during World War II in `Kilroy Was Here'". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Ill.: Tribune Publishing. 
  11. ^ "People". Broadcasting. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications. October 15, 1957. 
  12. ^ "Radio Stations, District of Columbia, WGMS". Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1958. 
  13. ^ Roosevelt, Franklin Delano; Commager, Henry Steele; Roosevelt, Eleanor; Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, Jr.; Wood, Charles (Osgood) (1960). "FDR Speaks, Authorized Edition of Speeches 1933-1945". Washington Records. Crown Publishers. 
  14. ^ "POLITICAL MELODY: Tunes to Play Big Part in Political Campaign". The Billboard. Cincinnati, Ohio: The Billboard Publishing Company. July 18, 1960. 
  15. ^ "Fates & Fortunes". Broadcasting. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. April 30, 1962. 
  16. ^ "Superior Programs, Toll TV Need". Broadcasting. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. July 9, 1962. 
  17. ^ "Hartford revisited: Will pay TV work?". Broadcasting. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. January 21, 1963. 
  18. ^ "Fifth Estater". Broadcasting. Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications. September 9, 1985. 
  19. ^ Lustberg, Arch (2002). How to Sell Yourself: Using Leadership, Likability, and Luck to Succeed. Franklin Lakes, N.J.: Career Press. ISBN 1564145859. 
  20. ^ Diliberto, Gioia (November 2, 1981). "It's Charles Osgood All the Time, for All the News That's Fit to Rhyme". People. New York, N.Y.: Time Life Publications. 
  21. ^ Koppel, Ted (2000). Off Camera: Private Thoughts Made Public. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 0375410775. 
  22. ^ Kinosian, Mike (April 18, 2005). "OsGood As It Gets" (PDF). Inside Radio. Atlanta, Ga.: Tom Taylor. 
  23. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (June 26, 1994). "TELEVISION; Charles Osgood Isn't Disturbing The 'Sunday Morning' Peace". New York Times. New York, N.Y.: New York Times. 
  24. ^ "Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third series". January 1, 1957. Retrieved August 28, 2016. 
  25. ^ Parisi, Albert J. (April 24, 1994). "New Jersey Q & A: Charles Osgood; A New Face at CBS 'Sunday Morning'". The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2016. 
  26. ^ "NAB Hall of Fame". National Association of Broadcasters. Retrieved April 9, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 

External links[edit]