MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami sports legend Bernie Rosen, a pioneer in local sports coverage, has passed away at the age of 93. Bernie wasn’t known for being on TV, but for what he did behind the scenes.
Rosen, started the first local TV sports department in Florida at WTVJ in 1949.
Messages of condolences are flooding Twitter.
Bernie Rosen was the Godfather of South Florida sports TV. None of us are here w/out him. Every day at WTVJ started with an 8am wake up call from Bernie. Every game included a meal with him in the press box. He saw it all and covered it all. RIP Bernie we’ll all miss you. pic.twitter.com/4CdKBHFuOc
— Mike Cugno (@MikeCugnoCBS4) December 9, 2020
He was recruited out of the University of Miami, along with fellow hurricanes Ralph Renick and Bob Weaver to help launch WTVJ, one of only 16 local broadcast TV stations in the entire country.
Bernie ran the sports department for 35 years. During its humble beginnings, Bernie didn’t have a car and only made about $150 a month so he used to take the public bus while carrying all of his heavy camera equipment in order to shoot stories.
Under his leadership, Bernie became nationally known and respected.
65 Years at WTVJ: A Tribute to Sports Director Bernie Rosen (2014).
He covered every local sports story including the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins, the University of Miami Hurricanes, and developed an amazing relationship with boisterous boxer Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, while he trained at Miami’s 5th Street Gym.
Bernie also hired the nation’s first female sportscaster Jane Chastain in 1967. Under his guidance, Chastain was a trailblazer at WTVJ and eventually became a network star.
He also paved the way for sports figures like Chris Myers, Roy Firestone and Suzy Kolber.
All worked under Bernie’s watchful eye but he was also the first to put a sports intern named Tony Segreto on the air, where he stayed as sports anchor and news anchor for 30 years.
Rosen was honored with the Golden Circle Award presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for more than 50 years of service joining only Bob Weaver to receive that recognition.
WTVJ Celebrates Bernie Rosen on his 92nd birthday in July of 2019 below:
After 35 years as sports director, Rosen retired to a part-time role as sports assignment editor, serving in that capacity until 2013.
Funeral arrangements have not been released, but a celebration of life event is expected to take place next year.