zberg was not among those featured.
“Russ wasn’t eligible because he’s still at
it,” Appel says. “That in itself is remarkable.”
Salzberg—the last of the old guard—is
uncertain of the future of local news and
sports. All he can do is stay honest, passionate and hell-bent on not deifying the
“The easiest thing…is to say just what
everyone wants to hear,” says Salzberg.
“Well, that’s not me.”
But Salzberg is more than his colorful
TV persona. He and Vikki, his wife of 34
years, have raised two daughters, now 28
and 31. To stay game-ready, he picks up
five metro-area newspapers every morning to prepare for his day’s work and then
runs six miles at Packanack Lake in Wayne.
Sports has always been a passion, but
it was not Salzberg’s original occupation.
After attending Loyola College in Montreal, where he majored in sociology and
psychology, Salzberg headed to Toronto
and sold real estate from 1977 to 1983.
He was good at it—but it wasn’t him. “I
that I don’t want to do this anymore. So
my wife says, ‘What do you want to do?’”
The answer was obvious. With Vikki’s
blessing, Salzberg spent a year in train-
ing, grabbing whatever sportscasting
work he could get.
In 1983, he won a Toronto radio contest
with the prize of three hours of airtime
daily at $1.07 an hour for three months; he
stayed on for seven. The following year,
he landed his first mainstream job on Toronto’s CITY-TV. To stand out, he started
wearing multihued sweaters on camera.
A sartorial trademark was born.
Salzberg says his employers have always allowed him to be himself. So when
New York beckoned in 1988, he packed
up his Technicolor-dreamcoat sweaters and took to the air, a bold character
breaking into a crowded market. By the
mid-’90s, however, Salzberg decided the
casual look had run its course.
“The sweaters served me well for a
long time,” he says. “In fact some people
still call me ‘The Sweater.’ But you know
what? To me it looked a little disjointed
sitting at an anchor desk with everyone
“When I’m talking to the viewer, they
don’t have to agree with me, they don’t
even have to like me....But I want them
to understand I know what I’m talking
about. And I’m talking from the heart.”
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