Jack Dawson


November 10, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Last Saturday evening, veteran local broadcaster Jack Dawson gathered with other WMAR-TV Channel 2 alumni at Baltimore's Tremont Grand Hotel, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the station that first took to the air on Sept. 29, 1947.

"What people don't know about me is that I taught chemistry at Towson High School from 1950 to 1956, and later at Southern High School, from which I graduated in 1946. Going back there was a real trip," Dawson, former longtime WMAR-TV sports director and evening news sports anchor, said yesterday.

Dawson - whose real name is Jack Deuber - was born and raised in Baltimore. After graduating from Southern, he earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the Johns Hopkins University in 1950.

His broadcasting career began in 1948 at WMCP, an early Baltimore FM station, now WWIN, where he worked as an announcer, classical music disc jockey and program director before a new general manager fired the whole staff on Christmas Eve in 1958.

He later circulated between the city's three television station, doing live on-air commercials for New Deal Optical, until getting his break in 1959, when George Rogers, WMAR-TV news director and anchorman, brought him onboard as a summer fill-in staff announcer.

"When you were a staff announcer, you did what they assigned you to do. I kind of drifted toward sports," he said. "I'd never played sports, but I enjoyed them from the standpoint of a fan, plus I liked to write. When you were in sports, you wrote your own stuff."

Dawson's career took off, and in addition to being WMAR's sports director and anchor, he held behind-the-scenes production assignments, until retiring in 1992.

Once a regular on the sports banquet circuit, today Dawson serves as emcee of the annual Al Cesky Scholar-Athlete award dinner.

"Most of the kids don't even know who I am, because they were 3 years old when I retired," he said, laughing.

Dawson, 78, a Towson resident, who has been married to his wife, Elaine, for 57 years, keeps busy at Towson United Methodist Church, where he's a member, and attending his grandchildren's soccer games.

He also remains an unabashed fan of classical music.

"I'm still a longhaired music fan. I'm an audiophile. I like the sound of it more than its construction," he said.

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