NBC Announcer Howard Reig Retires After 62 years
Howard Reig, the voice of NBC since before there was an NBC, has retired after nearly 62 years with the company.
Through the eras of John Chancellor, Tom Brokaw and now Brian Williams, Howard Reig’s voice also was heard when viewers heard they turned on the news. “This is NBC Nightly News,” the clear baritone would say, ushering in headlines from Watergate to terrorism. Now 84, with a career that spans the very life of television itself, Reig retires Friday as NBC’s last staff announcer.
A gnomish figure who walks the halls of NBC’s Rockefeller Center office with the help of two hearing aids and a pacemaker, he’s been working for NBC and its parent General Electric for nearly 62 years. His role as staff announcer is usually limited to those few key words each day. Sometimes he’d even pretape them.
Former “Nightly News” anchorman Tom Brokaw recalled Reig’s nightly opening having a settling effect. “It would be chaos around here, with things happening all over the place and big news breaking, and I’d hear Howard’s voice and know it was time to settle down and go to work,” Brokaw said Thursday.
With all his announcing work through the years, Reig is proud to be identified with the “NBC Nightly News.” “I’m a news addict,” he said. “I love being associated with the news. I think it is the most important part of our business — unfortunately surrounded by a tremendous amount of garbage.”
His career began in 1943 when, as a high school English teacher, he took a summer acting job at the GE-owned radio station WGY in Schenectady, New York, and its new sister station WRGB-TV. “They made me the first GE staff announcer — and the last,” he said. (At one time NBC once had several announcers on staff, with duties that ranged from reading commercials to reading the news. Reig’s voice will continue to be heard on tape awhile.)
I’d never heard Reig’s name or seen his face until just a few minutes ago, although I’ve certainly heard that voice many times over the years. But 62 years of almost anything deserves a mention. And, certainly, he’s earned his retirement.