|Born||March 18, 1936
|Died||September 26, 1997 (aged 61)
Los Angeles, CA
|Education||University of Michigan
Loyola Law School
|Notable credit(s)||KABC-TV Ch. 7
KNBC-TV Ch. 4
Gold Mike Award
|Children||Tina, Gretchen, Elliott
John Schubeck (March 18, 1936 in Michigan – September 26, 1997 in Los Angeles, California) was an American television reporter and anchor, and one of the few to anchor newscasts on all three network owned-and-operated stations in one major market.
A graduate of the University of Michigan and Loyola Law School, Schubeck began his broadcasting career at Detroit, Michigan radio station WJR, working with station legend J.P. McCarthy. He then worked at WRCV radio and television (now KYW Newsradio 1060 and KYW-TV, respectively) in Philadelphia and WGN-TV in Chicago before joining WABC-TV in New York City as an anchor of its early evening newscast in 1967, one year before Eyewitness News was launched. While at Channel 7, he also did newscasts for the American Contemporary Radio Network. His run as anchor ended in 1969, and for the remainder of his stay with WABC which lasted until 1971, he was the station's theatre critic.
In 1972, Schubeck moved to KABC-TV in Los Angeles as an anchor, and in 1974 joined KNBC, where he remained until 1983. There he was part of a news team which, in the late 1970s, also included co-anchors Tritia Toyota and Kelly Lange, sportscaster Stu Nahan and weatherman Pat Sajak (who would go on to host Wheel of Fortune beginning in 1981). Schubeck made it a point, at the opening of each newscast, to acknowledge whichever announcer was on duty at the time (during his run as anchor at the station, KNBC's announcing staff included Donald Rickles, not to be confused with the insult comic of the same name; Peggy Taylor, who had been the resident singer on The Stan Freberg Show in 1957; Don Stanley; and Victor Bozeman), all of whom have since passed on. He also was an anchor of the prime-time NBC News Updates for airing in the Pacific Time Zone for much of his stay at channel 4.
After leaving KNBC, Schubeck joined KNXT (now KCBS-TV) where he remained until 1988. Among several of his last broadcast jobs included hosting a radio show on KIEV (870 AM) in 1993 and a brief anchoring stint at KMIR-TV in Palm Springs in 1995.
During his college years in Ann Arbor, he was heard on WUOM and as a half-time voice of the Wolverine football games. As an Evans Scholar, he became the top ranked amateur golfer in the country, eventually participating in many pro am and celebrity golf tournaments.
As would later be related by Peter Bart, towards the end of one of the 11 p.m. newscasts Schubeck anchored one night, a story he had read only ten minutes earlier was displayed again on the teleprompter. Faced with either repeating the story or doing an ad lib, Schubeck instead just sat motionless and silent, waiting for the correct story to come up, and remained that way until the newscast ended.
Schubeck was one of the earliest millionaire local television news anchors. He generated around $1 million a year during his stints. However, through his life he had battled alcoholism. Schubeck lost his life to kidney and liver failure, when aged 61. Friends say that the stress of covering news events, often involving calamity, contributed to his alcoholism, his career setbacks, and untimely death. He died in relative obscurity although an obituary appeared in The New York Times. In a tribute to a fellow journalism colleague, close friend and co-anchor Tritia Toyota reportedly paid for his memorial services.
- Obituary in The New York Times, September 28, 1997.
- Schubeck, TV Anchor, Dead at 61 (obituary). Variety, September 29, 1997.
- Requiem for an Anchorman by Peter Bart. Variety, October 6, 1997.