Arnold Dean, 82, launched one of nation’s first sports call-in radio shows
By ASSOCIATED PRESS December 10, 2012 8:32PM
Updated: January 12, 2013 6:23AM
ROCKY HILL, Conn. — Longtime sportscaster Arnold Dean, who created one of the nation’s first sports call-in shows at a Hartford radio station, died Saturday morning.
He was 82.
Dean, who was born Arnold D’Angelo, died at his home in Rocky Hill, a Brooklawn Funeral Home employee said. His death came a day after having his pacemaker replaced, his family told the Hartford Courant.
During a career that spanned more than 60 years, Dean interviewed such legends as Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. He talked to them on his “SportsTalk” show at WTIC-AM in Harford. The show, started in 1976, was one of the earliest all-sports call-in shows.
Guests on the show said Dean always made them feel comfortable.
“When Arnold Dean asked for an interview, I actually looked forward to it,” Jim Calhoun, former University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach, said in a statement. “He was extremely easy to talk to and listened to what you had to say. He was just an incredible guy.”
Geno Auriemma, women’s basketball coach at Connecticut, said in a statement that Dean reminded him of an earlier time when gentlemen reporters were the norm.
“I had great respect for the work he did and more importantly for the person that he was. He was and always will be the Dean of Connecticut sports,” Auriemma said.
Dean interviewed more that coaches and players. He was fan of big band music and interviewed Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. He also interviewed former White House press secretary Pierre Salinger shortly after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
Dean joined WTIC in 1965 and started “SportsTalk” 11 years later. WTIC General Manager Suzanne McDonald said Dean was “a treasured member of our WTIC family, and a much-beloved member of the broadcast and sports community.”
WTIC Operations Manager Steve Salhany said Dean “was a consummate professional, consummate gentleman, and an all-around good person.”
Dean started his broadcast career as a teenager in 1948 at a radio station in his hometown, Cortland, N.Y. He never really retired and was on the air as recently as two weeks ago.
His wife, Helen, died last year. He is survived by three children.