The next two days will be very special for ESPN’s Chris Berman. The sports media icon who joined the company in the fall of 1979, one month after its inception, will receive a pair of distinguished awards in recognition of his outstanding career.
First, the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) will induct Berman into its Hall of Fame tonight in Salisbury, N.C. Berman, a six-time National Sportscaster of the Year (1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 2001) will be part of the class of 2016 alongside college basketball analyst Bill Packer, Sports Illustrated feature writer Gary Smith and the late best-selling author David Halberstam.
ESPN’s Ryan McGee will emcee the 57th Annual NSMA Awards and several ESPN executives will be in attendance, including President John Skipper, Executive Vice President of Production and Programming John Wildhack, and Seth Markman, senior coordinating producer of NFL shows.
“Chris is a true ESPNer and ESPN would not be the company it is today without him,” said former ESPN President George Bodenheimer, who will officially introduce Berman. “Through nearly four decades, all the days, all the nights, all the travel, all the shows, in his own distinct manner, Chris has informed and entertained the sports fans of America.”
Said Skipper: “The impact that Chris has had on ESPN and on the industry overall is immeasurable, and he certainly deserves this accolade for a Hall of Fame career that spans nearly four decades.”
On Tuesday, Berman will fly from North Carolina to Washington, D.C., where he will receive the Newseum Institute’s 2016 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media. Named after the late USA Today and Freedom Forum/Newseum founder, the lifetime achievement award was first presented to legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite in 1989. Berman will be the first sports journalist to receive the honor.
In addition to being feted at the dinner (which will be streamed live), Berman will have the opportunity to meet the 51 aspiring high school students from across the country who are participating in the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference.