Video of event (5 parts)

William H. Birch

William Birch, better known as Bill, was born in Chicago, the son of successful news cameraman Harry Birch. Bill was always interested in photography, and he started a newsreel in both high school and junior college. Bill joined the camera local directly out of high school, the youngest member at 18. While on summer breaks during college, he did lab work at Burton Holmes Films and Agfa Ansco Camera. After college, he joined Movietone News Chicago, working his way up to cameraman, learning from his father, veteran cinematographer Jack Barnett and newsreel cameraman Emile R. "Monty" Montemurro.

Bill enlisted in the Signal Corps in 1942 and was assigned to director Frank Capra's unit in California. The unit worked out of Fox Studios shooting propaganda films including the "Why We Fight" series, one of Capra's most important films. Bill worked with people like Ray Harryhausen, John Huston, Claude Binyon and Theodore Giesel (Dr. Seuss). After the war, Bill returned to Chicago to work for Movietone News. A few years later, he went to NBC and launched its Midwest Bureau.

Bill was responsible for hiring John Chancellor and worked very closely with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. He covered presidents from Truman to Reagan and filmed stories such as Castro's rise to power and the riots in Selma, collecting many awards along the way.

In the 1960s, Bill opened his own company, Wm. H. Birch and Associates. He continued to cover news on a freelance basis, but also shot commercials, industrials and documentaries. In addition, he began a successful movie career as director of photography for several first and second units. Although his first love has always been film, he went into video in the ’70s and recently learned HD cameras. Bill remains active in video production and is willing to lend his vast experience and expertise to those who share in that enthusiasm.

Bill is a member and participant in: I.A.T.S.E. International Photographers Local 600, N.A.B.E.T. Local 41, I.B.E.W. Local 1220, the Directors Guild of America and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He is married to Marjorie Fritz-Birch. His son, Randy, was also a photojournalist for NBC News --- the third generation behind the lens.

Bio from Induction Year Program Book

H. Thaine Lyman

It’s difficult to think of anyone who had as much positive impact on the lives of up-and-coming television professionals as H. Thaine Lyman. College chairperson, television camera operator, mentor, philosopher, teacher extraordinaire --- all these hats fit Thaine very well.

Thaine was born in Huron, South Dakota, and raised on a farm along with 13 brothers and sisters. He joined the Navy at age 17, serving in fire-gunnery control on a ship during World War II. After the war, Thaine married Margaret Sauntry in Sioux City, Iowa. Margaret and her original fiancé had signed up for dance lessons. Thaine was their instructor and, as they say, the rest is history!

Thaine and Margaret moved to Chicago in the Summer of 1948. Thaine went to work as an engineer for WGN Television, broadcasting from the Tribune Tower studios in its inaugural year. In the studio, Thaine operated camera with precision for programs that included “Bozo’s Circus,” “Garfield Goose and Friends,” “The Phil Donahue Show” the “10:00 pm News” and “Nightbeat.” Outside the studio, he worked remotes ranging from Cubs games to high school basketball tournaments to the Miss Illinois pageant. Directors of those remotes raved about Thaine’s ability to stay a step ahead of them in capturing creative shots for viewers.

In the early 50s, Thaine launched a career that paralleled his hands-on work at WGN-TV. He began teaching at Columbia College and became the first person to head its television department. As an instructor, Thaine was extremely knowledgeable, fair and driven to make sure good students landed careers in TV. As an administrator, Thaine developed a television curriculum for Columbia and hired instructors, many from within the industry, who could best teach courses in the ever-evolving medium.

Thaine received several honors for his work at Columbia College. Perhaps he was most proud of the director’s chair that he received from Chicago Women in Broadcasting for his tireless efforts to create inroads for women into an industry dominated by men.

Thaine died in 1983. His wife died 25 years later. They are survived by three children --- Kathy, Thaine and Mark --- 10 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

Bio from Induction Year Program Book

Paul Nagaro

Paul Nagaro's high school teachers urged him to become a history major in college. But the young Nagaro claimed he had no interest in doing that.

He had one dream when he graduated from Chicago's Lakeview High School. He wanted to play professional baseball. But an injury before a crucial minor league try-out ended that dream. At age 18, Paul refocused on a new direction. While contemplating college, he landed a job at the former Essanay Studio in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood where he hoped to shoot commercials. Just days before he was to report to work, the studio announced it was relocating to another state. Dreams dashed again.

His tenacity to find a job in television paid off when WMAQ-TV hired him as an electrician/lighting tech on a three-man film crew. His main responsibility was to light various news locations while working alongside a news cameraman and soundman. Nagaro soon was upgraded to photographer and made the switch from film to video and eventually to the digital age of storytelling. In his 38 years with NBC, Nagaro has covered presidents, from the death of President Truman to the election of President Obama. His assignments have sent him all over the country and overseas. He's covered national sporting events and shot documentaries and made-for-TV movies. Nagaro has won numerous Emmy® Awards and other prestigious awards. His most memorable assignment was a documentary on Misericordia Home for special children titled “All the King’s Horses” that received a Peabody Award. He won several awards for "The Scars of Belfast" which documented the plight of children in war-torn Ireland. He also shot Channel 5's playwrights' Festival Productions, among them "Tab Lloyd" with Jim Belushi.

Nagaro has taught and mentored many of the city's television photographers and says their success in the business is worth more than any award. Nagaro has had the unique opportunity to watch and document history through a lens. His high school teachers were right after all.

Bio from Induction Year Program Book

Jack Rosenberg

As Sports Editor of WGN Television and Radio for more than 40 years, Jack Rosenberg was instrumental in building a nationally-renowned sports department. He was affectionately called “Rosey” by his colleagues, and known to millions who heard references to the seldom seen maestro of the WGN Sports operation.

When WGN-TV broadcast more baseball games than any station, Cubs and White Sox fans heard Jack Brickhouse, Vince Lloyd, Lloyd Pettit and Harry Caray mention Rosey frequently as he provided facts, trivia and stories throughout the telecasts. His memory was encyclopedic and the clacking of his typewriter became a familiar sound.

A television sports pioneer, Jack began his career as a writer and producer at WGN in 1954 before the advent of color TV and instant replay. Jack snared Vince Lloyd’s exclusive interview with President Kennedy on the Lead-Off Man and Jack Brickhouse’s interview with President Reagan, a former baseball announcer. He also produced WGN radio broadcasts of Chicago Bears (with Brickhouse and Irv Kupcinet) and Big Ten football (with Vince Lloyd and Lou Boudreau), founded Tribune Radio Networks, and implemented the series of celebrity guest announcers to fill-in on Cubs telecasts (with Steve Stone) while Caray was recovering from a stroke in 1987.

For decades, Jack has mentored dozens of current and aspiring sportscasters, writers and producers who readily sought his advice and wisdom. When Brickhouse was inducted into the Media Wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, he asked Rosenberg to write his speech. Several old-time New York sportswriters labeled it the best-ever speech at Cooperstown. Brickhouse told them to “Tell Jack Rosenberg…he wrote it.”

A Pekin, Illinois, native and Navy veteran of World War II, Jack was an award-winning newspaperman for the Peoria Journal-Star prior to his move to WGN. He was instrumental in organizing the Jack Quinlan Memorial Golf tournament that raised thousands for charity, and currently serves on the Faculty Board of Directors at Swedish Covenant Hospital.

Jack and his wife Mayora were married for 51 years. She passed away in 2007.

Bio from Induction Year Program Book
Jack passed away December 27, 2020.

Tom Schnecke

It’s hard to remember a time when Tom Schnecke wasn’t involved in Chicago media. This March marked his 34th year of continuous employment at a Chicago network-owned station. Today, Tom is Vice-President of Operations and Engineering at WBBM-TV, where he manages a staff of over 60 technicians, directors, stagehands and IT support personnel.

Tom’s TV connection goes back to his freshman year in high school when Jerry G. Bishop used a song parody Tom had written for “Svengoolie" on his Friday night show on Channel 32. Before he graduated from high school, Tom was answering the request lines for WMAQ Radio. By 1977, he was working as country music radio programmer. He was made a full-time NBC engineer in 1979 just shy of his 21st birthday.

While still in radio, Tom was assigned to several major NBC Sports remotes. In 1985, he became the producer and engineer for all Chicago Bulls broadcasts until the sale of WMAQ Radio in 1988. Tom was transferred to WMAQ-TV eventually becoming Manager of Studio Operations and then of News Operations. He was considered the go-to guy for NBC with his final project being the design of the WSNS studios at the NBC Tower.

In 2003, Tom moved to WBBM-TV where he implemented new technology at the McClurg Court studios, planned the station’s transmitter move to Willis Tower, and led the design and construction of 22 West Washington, Chicago’s first all-HD station.

Along the way, he obtained two Associate degrees from Harper College, a BA from Columbia College, and an MA in Radio, TV and Film from Northwestern University. Tom has served as a Faculty Advisor to the Harper College radio station and he remains an active participant in activities at Northwestern University, Columbia College and the Television Academy. Tom has received 17 Emmy® Awards for technical achievement and production, and a Silver Dome Award from the Illinois Broadcasters Association. He has been honored as a “Distinguished Alumni” of Hoffman Estates High School and Harper College.

Bio from Induction Year Program Book

Howard S. Shapiro

Howard Shapiro has had a remarkable 48-year career in Chicago television. Perhaps the most notable of his many accomplishments is that he spent his entire career working for one company. Howard’s career began in 1956 when he got a job as a mailroom clerk at what was then WBKB-TV, Channel 7. He became a Stage Manager in 1959, working on “Playboy After Dark,” “The Marty Faye Show,” “American Swing Around,” and “Kup’s Show.”

Much of Howard’s career was spent directing local news. Howard’s news roots date back as far as local newscasts with Alex Dreier and Frank Reynolds. He directed news during the entire Flynn-Daly era and Floyd Kalber’s tenure at Channel 7. He directed the 11:00 am news with Linda Yu and Sylvia Perez. Howard’s news career extended through the 6:00 pm news with Alan Krashesky and Kathy Brock and he also directed Chicago-based segments for “Good Morning America.”

While working full time at Channel 7, Howard worked on projects for ABC Network news and sports. His assignments included coverage of the 1964 Democratic National Convention, “Wide World of Sports,” NCAA Football and ABC’s coverage of six Olympics from 1972 to 1988, including extended coverage of the tragedy in Munich. He was awarded five national Sports Emmy® Awards for his coverage of the Olympics. For 20 years, Howard directed “Jubilee Showcase,” the groundbreaking, Emmy® Award-winning gospel music program hosted by civil rights activist Sid Ordower. In 1986, Howard directed the Chicago Emmy® Awards telecast hosted by Oprah Winfrey and Roger Ebert.

Howard has always been eager to share his knowledge and experience with the next generation of production talent. Howard taught classes in news production at Columbia College for 10 years. He became known as one of their most engaging and enthusiastic instructors. Several of his students have become success stories in their own right, often citing Howard’s influence as an important part of their success.

Howard is currently enjoying his well-deserved retirement with his wife of over 50 years, Sandra. They currently live in the Chicago area, travel frequently, and stay involved in activities with their five grandchildren.

Bio from Induction Year Program Book

Dorothy Tucker

Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 since 1984. Currently she reports for the station’s 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm weekday newscasts. Tucker also serves as the station’s consumer reporter, covering issues and trends to help viewers save money and avoid scams.

She joined CBS 2 from KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she worked as a general assignment reporter and talk show host. Prior to that, Tucker worked at KWGN-TV in Denver, Colorado, as a general assignment reporter. Previously, she was a reporter and weekend anchor at WREG-TV in Memphis, Tenn. (1979-80). Tucker began her broadcasting career in Peoria, Ill. at WMBD-TV, after serving as an intern at CBS 2 in 1977.

Tucker has been honored numerous times throughout her career. Her many awards include nine local Emmy® Awards, including one for her breaking news reports during the 2008 NIU shootings and two for her work on CBS 2′s 2003 and 2004 broadcasts of the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. She was honored by the Chicago Association of Black Journalists with their annual award for Outstanding Television Reporting (1987 and 1994) and received a national UPI Spot News Award.

In this age of multi-media reporting, Tucker has taken her consumer reporting to WVON Radio in Chicago. Every Wednesday, she joins “The Santita Jackson Show” in a program that promotes consumer advocacy.

Tucker is on the board of NABJ-Chicago (National Association of Black Journalists) and was co-chairman of their Katrina fundraiser which raised money for hurricane survivors who are making Chicago their new home. She graduated, with honors, from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Communications and is currently a member of Northwestern University’s Council of One Hundred. Tucker, a native Chicagoan, lives in Hyde Park and is the mother of three.

Bio from Induction Year Program Book

Anna Vasser

When Anna Vasser was a little girl, her parents sent her to bed early, not allowing her to watch the Kennedy-Nixon presidential race. So she did the next best thing. She snuck her older sister's transistor radio with her to bed so she could listen to the results. Politics has always been Anna Vasser's passion.

As a student at Drake University, she worked the Iowa caucus for WHO-TV. After graduating with a journalism degree in broadcast news, she landed a desk assistant job at WMAQ-TV. She worked her way up to writer, field producer, assignment desk editor and into the Unit 5 investigative team. In 1979, she went undercover for an investigation that exposed illegal strip searches of women by Chicago police. The story won the station the prestigious Peabody Award.

Vasser has been the go-to person for politics at NBC 5 since 1988, covering political conventions, inaugurals and producing election coverage. Vasser was named “City Desk” producer in 2003, working closely with NBC 5’s Dick Kay, Carol Marin and Mary Ann Ahern. She did this while producing daily news shows at 4:30 pm, 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm or 10:00 pm.

Aside from politics, Vasser produced several news specials around the country including 1983 Gulf War coverage from Washington, DC, Bruce Springsteen's 1985 U.S. tour, the Ryan White AIDS controversy in Kokomo, Indiana, in 1986, and the Sioux City, Iowa, plane crash in 1989. She also was senior producer at the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996.

She produced several award-winning documentaries including “The Murder and the Movement, the Emmett Till Story" reported by Rich Samuels, "An African American Homecoming" with Renee Ferguson, and the investigative series "High Crimes" with Peter Karl. Vasser also received awards for spot news in "The Fox River Grove Crash," a Telly for "1986 Year in Review," Peter Lisagor Awards for features and public service, and a UPI Award for best spot news for "The Walter Polovchak Story."

Bio from Induction Year Program Book
Anna passed away February 26, 2020.