My Hero, Charles Osgood | God's World News

My Hero, Charles Osgood

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    Charles Osgood poses for a portrait on the set of a CBS show in New York in 1999. (AP/Suzanne Plunkett)
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    From left to right, radio personalities Dick Clark, Charles Osgood, Frank Stanton, and Paul Harvey pose with awards at their induction into the Emerson Radio Hall of Fame in 1990. (AP/Marty Lederhandler)
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    Charles Osgood at CBS radio in 1972 (Getty Images via CBS)
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    Radio remains a passion for Nick Eicher.
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    Nick Eicher at WORLD Journalism Institute in 1999
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The only season during which I rarely snoozed my alarm clock was winter. I’d wake up early for the school-closing announcements on our CBS radio station, just in case an overwhelming blanket of snow covered the roads overnight.

“Our Lady Catholic School, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of the Pillar, Our Lady Queen of Peace . . .”

Come on, get to the Ps already. Parkway, Parkway, Parkway, say it!

But before the closings and after top-of-the-hour news was a broadcast called “The Osgood File.” I’d never heard anything like it.

When the host, Charles Osgood, died at his New Jersey home in January at age 91, good and old and full of wit, it all flooded back to me.

“There are things that everybody knows, and some of them are even true,” Osgood started one broadcast. “But you have to watch out for the things that everybody knows, because some of them are not true. We all know, for example, that happy, cheerful workers make for a happy, cheerful workplace. . . . But a new study done in Oslo has found exactly the opposite.”

Workers who are overly happy can also be overly confident, Osgood reported. They tend to arrive at simple, obvious solutions to problems. “The glum people, on the other hand, were less confident and looked deeper, and found more creative solutions.”

So, “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go. But in the case of the Seven Dwarfs, according to [the new theory], Grumpy might put in a more productive workday than Happy.”

Many a time, he’d break into rhyme, as in the story of a woman named Paula. She learned through a help-wanted ad that her company was looking to hire someone . . . for her job. Miffed, she placed her own ad announcing, “I quit.” Osgood wrapped the story this way:

Communication, harsh or sweet, has to be a two-way street.

Sometimes you talk for what you earn. Sometimes you listen and you learn.

And in Paula’s case, they would replace her before they had to go and face her.

She did communicate with candor. What’s good for goose is good for gander.

I couldn’t not listen, even as a too-cool teenager. At the time, I disc-jockeyed at a student radio station in the YMCA basement. As my love for Osgood grew, so did my love for journalism. Eventually like-minded friends and I dropped the record format in favor of all-news during our on-air shifts.

I bought Osgood’s books and in a biography I learned that he never went to journalism school. He graduated from Fordham University in New York with an economics degree. I wanted to be just like him, so I combined economics and journalism in college.

I wound up interning at that same CBS radio station that carried Osgood, bounced around for a couple of years writing for politicians, and landed at WORLD helping to edit the magazine.

Radio remained a passion and when I could do something about it, I teamed up with friend Joseph Slife and we developed The World and Everything in It.* That was 2012. The program has been going ever since.

With a parent’s permission, check it out sometime. As Charles Osgood would say, “I’ll see you on the radio.”

by Nick Eicher, co-host of The World and Everything in It in St. Louis, Missouri

Why? Learning from others can inspire your life choices. In turn, your choices may later motivate someone else.


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