Veteran Ohio radio/TV broadcaster Van Lane died Sunday (10/3); just two months shy of his 90th birthday. His long career not only included on air and management roles at numerous radio stations, but also hosting TV shows and even promoting horse racing tracks.
“Good afternoon racing fans!” was his trademark phrase on the Thoroughbred Racing Network, the radio network he created in the 1960s, reported WEWS-TV Cleveland. He was well known to WEWS, where he had hosted “3 Bears Talent Show,” “Magic Touch,” “Stump the Sports” and “Vanity Fair” in the 1950s.
But both before and after that he was in radio, starting at Ohio State University’s WOSU-AM and on one of the city’s largest commercial stations, WBNS-AM Columbus. After a stint in the Army, the man born Morris Paul Schechter in Czechoslovakia picked up the air name Van Lane in Georgia and stuck with it the rest of his life. After returning to Ohio and nearby West Virginia in DJ and Sports on-air jobs, Lane became General Manager of WLIO-AM East Liverpool, OH. But he soon left for WDOK-AM Cleveland as Sports Director.
The TV and race track era followed, but Lane returned to radio in 1968 as Assistant Manager of WABQ-AM Painesville-Cleveland. From there he rose to a position as Vice President of United Broadcasting Company. In 1988 Lane hung out his shingle as a consultant and continued that business right up until his death. Even so, in 1990, the year he turned 70, Lane took on additional duties as General Sales Manager of WELW-AM Willoughby, OH.
“In his 55 year career devoted to the television and radio broadcasting industry, Van worked with hundreds of radio and television owners, managers, broadcasters and account executives. He especially delighted in seeing many of the young people he trained go on to become key executives in major market stations across the country,” noted an obituary sent to RBR-TVBR.
A memorial service for Van Lane will be held Friday, October 8th at Mt. Sinai Cemetery in Mayfield, OH.