Shortly after we rang in the year 2019, I received a phone call from Ashley Johnson, advertising coordinator for the New Pittsburgh Courier. “Hey Aubrey, Chris Moore called and left a message for you to call him.”
After I thanked her and hung up, I began to worry. I wondered if I had written or said something out of kilter that may have offended him because I have been blessed to know Chris for over four decades and from the early beginnings that I have practiced my craft, he has always been the measuring stick that many African American journalists, especially me, have strived to reach and maintain.
He has guest-hosted many times for host Ellis Cannon on PCNC’s Night Talk. He has now added KDKA radio to his ever-evolving body of work. Many of you probably also recognize him from his work on the Black Horizons show on WQED-TV. He has co-hosted and produced the Emmy-winning series which holds the distinction of being the longest running minority-affairs program on public television, airing since 1968. He also produced and narrated Wylie Avenue Days, an Emmy Award-winning documentary on the Hill District.
The phone rang and Chris answered with that slight southern drawl still trying to seep through. “Aubrey, Happy New Year. I am doing a show centered around Mike Tomlin and the Steelers, I am going to feature sportswriters that may have a different take on the issues currently surrounding the team. Are you interested in being part of the panel? Interested?”
Interested was a very, very huge understatement because at that very moment, I was almost transported through the telephone to KDKA’s radio studios to begin the show prematurely, far in advance of the scheduled broadcast.
The participants on the illustrious panel were Bill Neal, Brian Cook, Kevin Cameron, Smokin’ Jim Frazier and myself. This was a truly historical and momentous occasion. The broadcast was scheduled for one hour but Chris extended it an additional hour because we had not even scratched the surface of many issues that remained after 60 minutes of discussion.
Smokin’ Jim was at his best, being his thought-provoking and controversial self, offering up a unique rationale as to subject matters such as the possible firing and replacement of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
Kevin Cameron was, as always, balanced and informed, never afraid to challenge any theory or opinion that may have been hatched from emotions as opposed to facts. My fellow Courier sports columnist Bill Neal was his usual self, half-Californian laid back and half-Penn Hills firebrand. Brian Cook is the current president of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation as well as a former reporter for Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation and American Urban Radio Networks, and has been a bright star on the horizon of Black sports journalists for more than a decade. In addition to providing his behind-the-scenes insight, he profiled his IT skills, live streaming portions of the program while it was in progress.
Chris Moore was vintage Chris Moore, acting as both provocateur and facilitator, bringing out the best in all of us, while simultaneously addressing issues bridging the gap from yesterday to today, using those experiences as a foundation to anticipate and plan for tomorrow. As for me, I never even remotely visualized that I would live to see the day that over 150 years of Black sports journalistic experience would be gathered in one room, alive and well, not being forced to honor one or more in memoriam while broadcasting to the nation.
Mr. Spock once said this: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” On this day we were truly, “One nation under a groove,” being of sound mind and spirit ready to render unto the world and the universe our thoughts, theories and opinions that were mostly unfiltered and almost exclusive only to the Black experience. Proof once and for all that when given the opportunity we could be more than regurgitators of the Eurocentric process.
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