George Hale is a radio icon and virtual institution in Bangor. He arrived in Bangor to begin his long and varied radio career in 1956. He started at WABI radio (910 AM) and TV (Channel 5) and worked both mediums for more than three decades before the radio station was sold. Hale co-hosts a morning talk show with Ric Tyler for Blueberry Broadcasting Inc., on Bangor’s WVOM (103.9 FM) and Augusta’s WVQM (101.3 FM) from 6 to 9 a.m. each weekday. He also still broadcasts University of Maine football TV games, which he began in the late 1950’s, and does a weekly sports commentary segment for WABI-TV.
Q. How are your brackets faring, and who’s your Final Four?
A. This year I didn’t do the brackets from start to finish, but my Final Four, which I did after the first round, includes Kansas, Butler, Ohio State and Connecticut. I think OSU and Kansas play for the national title with Kansas coming out on top.
Q. What’s your personal favorite all-time broadcast moment?
A. The time Maine went to the College World Series back in 1964. Maine had never really been on the national stage in any sport other than skiing. The whole state was behind us and there was a great welcome home. Jack Butterfield did a great job with that group and Joe Ferris was the MVP. That probably for a period of time had to be the most exciting thing I’ve done. That will always stand out in my memory and it’s probably never going to happen again with the way they organize the NCAA playoffs now.
Q. How have you spent your offseason vacation time?
A. I like to travel but don’t as much as I used to. I love to go to Florida and Arizona whenever I can. I’ve been to Florida, North Carolina (twice) and Arizona. I just got back from three weeks on the beach in Florida since the winter started. There’s actually not really any college or pro baseball training camps are around. I have a daughter in North Carolina, a daughter in Arizona, and my son and I both go to St. Augustine. I like to spend time at the pool and at the beach and exercise a lot and walk the roads or bicycle a lot.
Q. What time of year/season do you look forward to most?
A. I’m a great summer lover from the time it starts to the last day it’s still warm.
Sports-wise, I love all the seasons, but from a professional standpoint, I love watching the Red Sox and watch them virtually every day at some point. I also love broadcasting football in the fall. It’s fun for me. I think it’s still as fun for me to broadcast games now then when I first started. I think I’m more laid-back now than I was in the mid-50’s back in New Jersey. It was a high school football game and I did it from the roof of a building across the street from the field. We did the game with binoculars.
Q. Where do you see the future of radio going with the advent of iPods, iPads, the Internet, social media, and smart phones?
A. Radio has always been able to adjust and every time people try to write it off, it comes back stronger. I think radio will continue on its present track for quite awhile. Talk radio has come to rejuvenate radio, especially AM in some areas. Radio will always be local, despite all the stations around that are part of a satellite network. Even in most of those, though, the morning shows are local and other segments have local flavor. I think there will always be a place for local radio. I do that morning talk show with Ric Tyler and I would say 90 percent of our talk content is about local events. I think it’s more difficult to be in radio for younger people coming into the business because local stations aren’t hiring tons of people like they used to.