WFUV (90.7 FM), Fordham’s public radio station, honored three greats in music and media at a Manhattan celebration filled with respected artists, longtime loyal listeners, and passionate supporters and music lovers. The event raised $500,000 for New York’s listener-supported, commercial-free “Rock and Roots” station, which broadcasts from Keating Hall on the Rose Hill campus.
WFUV’s sixth Annual Gala paid tribute to prolific singer and songwriter Rosanne Cash, veteran newscaster Sam Donaldson, and legendary sportscaster Bob Costas at a benefit held May 9 at the Edison Ballroom on West 47th Street. The station’s community service award went to the Agnes Varis Charitable Trust, which supports affordable access to the arts, education, and healthcare.
A Grammy-winning artist and author of a critically acclaimed memoir, Cash spoke warmly about WFUV’s support upon receiving the 2013 Artist of the Year Award.
“[It’s great] to know that my favorite radio station likes me back!” she said. The daughter of Johnny Cash also praised the station for playing an eclectic mix of artists.
“It moves me to know that between Miles Davis and Bill Monroe and Patsy Cline and Buffalo Springfield, there’s a place for me.”
Cash and her band treated more than 300 guests to a rousing performance at the gala’s close, playing ballads and a foot stomping number, “Radio Operator,” about her father’s Army service in Germany and his longing for her mother back in San Antonio.
On hand to celebrate were special guests Suzanne Vega, Marc Cohn and Elizabeth Vargas, Pete and Maura Kennedy (The Kennedys), Garland Jeffreys, and Southside Johnny. The evening was filled with accolades for the station, which not only champions talented new artists, but also provides a training ground in news, sports, and music broadcasting for about 80 Fordham students each year.
“WFUV is New York’s most interesting, most creative radio station, hands down,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “Tonight is very ecumenical for us,” he joked, noting that Fordham and FUV, two Bronx institutions, were celebrating Costas, a man from Queens, and Donaldson, who is from Texas. He called them both men of “extraordinary insight and courage.”
Presenting Donaldson with the Charles Osgood Lifetime Achievement Award in Broadcast Journalism was Osgood himself, a 1954 Fordham graduate. “[Donaldson’s] fellow news broadcasters regard him as one of the best ever,” said Osgood, host of CBS Sunday Morning and an FUV alumnus.
In accepting the award, Donaldson reminisced about his decades-long coverage of the Vietnam War and of the White House. “When we started it was so much simpler,” said the 46-year ABC News veteran, yet he praised today’s “tough” broadcasters and the technology that allows them to deliver the news almost immediately.
Iconic sportscaster Bob Costas, winner of 24 Emmys and numerous other awards, was honored with the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting. Scully, a 1949 Fordham graduate, provided a video introduction recorded at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.
“To receive an award with Vin Scully’s name attached to it is really pretty much the pinnacle,” said Costas, who kept the audience rapt by dramatically reading from the transcript of Scully’s call of Dodger Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965.
Emceed by WFUV’s DJs, including Program Director Rita Houston and Morning Host Corny O’Connell, LAW ’91, the evening included a cocktail hour, an opening performance by musician Alejandro Escovedo, and a live auction. Guests bid on a songwriting lesson from Cash, a private concert with the band the Lone Bellow, and a meet-and-greet with Costas at a New York Giants game, among other items. Bidding for additional items continues until May 23 on Charity Buzz.