Me and Vince | JIM FURLONG

Vince Gallant is dead. He had a good run at it and was well into his 80s when he passed. I hadn’t seen Vince much recently. A couple of times at Radio Television News Directors meetings but that was about it. When he worked with NTV News, though, I knew him very well. He was our News Director for a while. When he came to us, I was aware he had anchored the ATV News in Halifax. That was important in broadcasting. Through work Vince and I got to know one another. We ran together, so to speak. We did news together. We partied together. In my younger years we hung out.

As a broadcaster, Vince was the best. A lovely voice and an unforced delivery that you don’t run into very often. In many ways he was the best “voice” I had heard in broadcasting. It was smooth as velvet, but he also knew the news business and he had the marvelous gift of being able to write clean copy because he understood news. While he wrote clean copy, he himself didn’t need clean copy to broadcast a story well. He could get an outline and fill in the story and he could do that easily because he lived news. I find that over the years the good ones in the business just don’t work at it. They “live it.”

I saw Vince socially when he was with NTV. We were at the same places and very often we were with the same people. The Press Club when it was up on Hamilton Ave. comes to mind. So does the Strand Lounge on Saturday afternoons. The Sports Tavern over on Boncloddy St. was another haunt. It was a favourite watering hole for us and people like us. What did we talk about? Well, news of course. Vince was filled with stories from his journalism past that ranged from the New York blackout story to a Mafia encounter he had when working in Montreal. He knew a lot and was a great storyteller.

When Q Radio picked him up after the shape of broadcasting changed in Newfoundland, I was disappointed because Vince was made for television. As mentioned, the voice of Vince Gallant was great but so was his TV “presence.” He delivered well. Prior to writing this I had looked at an old video tape of Vince reading the Evening News. The tape reminded me that he was with us in the days before teleprompter and while he had a script you never got the sense, he was reading it. It just looked like he was telling us the nightly news.

Over the years I worked with a lot of gifted broadcasters but Vince was surely in the top three. He may even have been number one. He really was that good.

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