Co-workers and colleagues are remembering Chicago radio sportscaster Eric Brown as a consummate professional and a genuinely nice guy.
A 26-year veteran of CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9, Brown died of cancer Tuesday at 58. He had been on a leave of absence since last fall.
“Eric was a reporting mainstay for the Bears successes in the 90’s, for the Bulls six championships, and it gave him a lot of joy to report and talk about two Blackhawks Stanley Cup champions in 2010 and 2013,” the station reported on its website. “Baseball was a day to day endeavor, and Eric tackled it without complaint, and with the easygoing effectiveness that was him.”
Rod Zimmerman, senior vice president and market manager of CBS Radio Chicago, called Brown “the consummate professional, a polished broadcaster and a great teammate,” adding: “He was always willing to go above and beyond to get the story. A friend to everyone he met. We will miss him very much on the air and in the office at Newsradio. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Brown, a native of Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood and graduate of St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, joined WBBM Newsradio in 1988 after nine years at WISC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin. He began his career at WBAY-TV, the ABC affiliate in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Dave Eanet, sports director of Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN AM 720, headed the sports department at WBBM Newsradio when the station had an opening — and Brown was looking to come home.
“We wanted to find a Chicago guy, even if he was out of market, to cover sports in Chicago,” Eanet recalled. “I was in Plattevillle covering Bears camp, and watched him. I remember thinking, ‘This guy knows his stuff,’ and that’s what I told my boss at the time, Chris Witting. Eric was solid as a reporter, dependable as they come, and very knowledgable. Above and beyond, one of the nicest people I will ever work with. Really tragic.”
Chris Boden, reporter/anchor for Comcast SportsNet Chicago and a longtime colleague, remembered Brown as “a kind, gentle, respectful man and friend who lived his life in a way in which he didn’t deserve the hand he was dealt. . . . Eric always did what he had to do in radio, and if he didn’t care for it, the objection was brief and he moved on. He was conscientious, hard-working, reliable, and got his stuff right.”
Ron Gleason, director of news and programming at WBBM Newsradio, said: “People here at WBBM loved Eric. He was incredibly positive during his ordeal. He was one of the nicest people I’ve ever known. We will miss him greatly.”