How good was Glenn Brenner? Gerry Sandusky offered one view earlier this week, after the Washington sportscaster died from a brain tumor. During a tribute to Brenner, Channel 11's Sandusky called him "the best local sportscaster ever."
"I just thought he was it," Sandusky said last night. "He was one of the main reasons I got into this work.
"I watched him when I was in college [at Towson State], and I thought any job you could have that much fun in was a job for me."
And Brenner did have fun. Did you see any of those highlights? Brenner returning from Las Vegas and strolling onto the news set in full lounge lizard regalia. Brenner sweeping a confused news anchor's script off a desk.
Channel 13's John Buren, himself very much a sports iconoclast, said: "What was his lasting contribution? It was the attitude -- a calculated disregard for the importance of it all."
Buren, who worked at a rival Washington station in 1979-80, said: "That's a mean, vicious town to work in. He was cordial to me. He was nice to me at a time when he didn't have to be."
Channel 2's Scott Garceau said part of Brenner's brilliance was his ability to maintain an appeal to a wide audience.
"I'd never seen someone who could take an act, a comedy act, and not alienate people," Garceau said. "But it's not like he wanted to be a comedy act and didn't have an interest in sports."
The key, though, was Brenner's on-air personality wasn't an act.
"Watching him taught me how to be myself," Sandusky said. "It really takes a while to be yourself on television. It's an unnatural situation."
"I'm sure there are a lot of Glenn Brenner clones out there," Garceau said. "The way I look at it is, you've got to be who you are."
And who was he? Listen to what Buren once told Brenner:
"Pound for pound, ounce for ounce, rating point for rating point, you're the best there is on the air."
Raised on the radio: Ernie Harwell is not leaving the airwaves. The Hall of Fame baseball announcer, bounced by the Detroit Tigers, has agreed to a two-year deal with CBS Radio to call its games of the week on Saturdays. Harwell, 73, had been mentioned as a candidate to join the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees. He will join CBS' crew, which includes Johnny Bench, Jerry Coleman and Gene Elston.
Super Bowl Shuffle: Home Team Sports won't let that Super Bowl fever cool for Washington Redskins fans. Throughout the week, HTS will present "The Toyota Redskins Report" live from Minneapolis, site of the Ultimate Game. Johnny Holliday and James Brown will be hosts of the show. CBS' Brown is sitting in for Holliday's usual partner, Redskins assistant general manager Bobby Mitchell. The shows will air Tuesday through Thursday at 7 p.m. and Friday at 6:30 p.m.
And if you need one last look at your Redskins heroes in the outdoors before the Big Game -- and who among us doesn't? -- Art Monk and Monte Coleman will be on "Virginia Wildlife Video Magazine" on Super Bowl Sunday, Jan. 26, at 11 a.m.
Spanning the dial, to give you the constant variety of sports: NFL Films' "Road to the Super Bowl" will air next Friday at 8 p.m. on Channel 11. This program is more a season in review that a Super Bowl preview, and is sure to be as well done as anything NFL Films produces. . . . Bennie the Fan's radio talk show is off the air again, having departed WERQ (1010 AM) earlier this week. Baltimore is down to two daily shows again -- "Sports Line" on WBAL(1090 AM) and "Sports Forum" on WITH (1230 AM). . . . Lassie and Rin Tin Tin were unavailable, so Bud Collins will be host of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on USA Network Feb. 10-11.
Bandwagon jumper: The boss was out buying Redskins paraphernalia this week -- he's a fan from waaaaaaay back, he says -- but he gave me a list of questions inside a genuine, NFL- and USDA-approved Hog snout.
Things My Boss Wants to Know: Is Dick Vitale about to market the world's first aerobic talking workout? . . . What about that rumor that several NFL players rolled in the mud on the sidelines in a late-season drive to make the All-Madden team? . . . If you try to watch the Super Bowl without seeing the pre-game show, will it hurt the trade deficit with Japan?