Thursday, January 14, 2016

Longtime KCBS broadcaster Al Hart dies

Al Hart
Longtime KCBS Radio anchor Al Hart, a legendary voice in Bay Area broadcasting, died yesterday. He was 88.

According to his family, Hart died following a battle with corticobasal degeneration, a rare, progressive neurodegenerative disease.

Hart joined KCBS in 1966, two years before the station switched to an all-news format. He was first a sidekick and producer for Dave McElhatton, another Bay Area broadcasting legend.

McElhatton, who died in 2010, eventually became a longtime anchor at KPIX-TV. Hart was at KCBS for 34 years, and most of the time was spent as the morning news anchor. He was born in Minnesota and early in his career worked in Shreveport, La., as a DJ known as “Your Pal Al, the guy with a heart."

Hart not only played songs on the radio, but he also recorded one for Mercury Records.

“Al was the broadcaster I wanted to grow up to be. His positive energy and his passion for serving the audience were an inspiration every day. I’m very, very lucky to have had him as a mentor and friend” added Stan Bunger, KCBS morning anchor.

John Madden, who worked for years with Hart on his radio show, said the veteran broadcaster would be “missed by all.”

“I’ve been lucky in my broadcasting career to work with great partners,” Madden said. “I have had Pat Summerall and Al Michaels, and I would put Al Hart in that class as well. Al was a real nice guy, a gentleman, a joy to work with, and along the way he became a good friend. He will be missed by all.”

During his 34 year career at KCBS, Hart delivered the news of the day, including major Bay Area stories such as the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and the 1991 Oakland Hills fire.

Hart retired more than 15 years ago to tend to his wife Sally, who was fighting a battle with ALS. After her death, he remarried, but it wasn’t long after that he was diagnosed with a slow killer called corticobasal degeneration.

Chronicle obit. Merc obit. KCBS obit.

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