Local Radio Legend Hangs up His Headphones
People use the word “Legend” very loosely nowadays. But when it comes to radio in the Binghamton area, Roger Neel is a legend. After 42 years of being on the airways in Binghamton, all of which were spent at WNBF, Neel retired after his show ended this morning at 9 a.m..
When I first started radio, and I would be out doing a live broadcast, at least one person at each broadcast would ask me if I knew Roger Neel. I would respond by saying, no I don't know him, and every single one of them would say, “he's such a great guy”.
Many years later, I finally got to meet Roger. He was the most personable radio talent I've ever met. As soon as you met him, you felt comfortable just like you were talking to a friend you've known for years. I never heard anybody say a bad word about Roger.
He moved to Binghamton in 1978 when he was hired by WNBF to be the radio play-by-play man for the Broome Dusters. Roger is a big sports fan and he played football both in high school and collegiality for Westminster College.
Roger worked his way up to his current position as Brand Manager for both WNBF and CBS Sports Radio 1360 WYOS.
I've worked with Roger for well over three years now and I can honestly say I've never seen anybody that worked harder in my life. Roger has been the play-by-play announcer for Binghamton University Basketball for the last several years. There's been days where after the team played an away game, the bus would return to Binghamton around 4:30 in the morning, and Roger was back at work an hour later to do his morning show on News Radio,1290.
Roger would work, on average, over 12 hours a day, and he would be in here on weekends as well. He was very generous with what little time he had outside of work. He has donated so much of his time and talents over the years helping others through the American Heart Association, Chow, and many other organizations.
Roger was so dedicated to getting the news to the residents of Broome County, that he would often sleep at the station during storms and floods so he would be here when it was time for him to go on the air.
According to WNBF, Roger is a member of the Southern Tier broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Binghamton Hockey Hall of Fame, and Slippery Rock High School's Athletic Hall of Fame.
When I asked Roger what he will be doing with all his free time, he told me that he's looking forward to getting back to the gym and spending time with his wife.
Even though he's retiring, Neel's voice will still be heard on the airwaves in Binghamton. Roger will still staying on part-time to cover the play by play duties for Binghamton University Basketball as well as Southern Tier High School football this fall on WNBF.
On Thursday, Binghamton Mayor Rich David, acknowledged Neel's contributions to the residents of Binghamton by presenting him with a Key to the City, and a proclamation declaring today, Friday 6/19, Roger Neel Day in Binghamton. And today, 6/19, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar proclaimed that today will be Roger Neel Day throughout Broome County.
Roger, congratulations on a great career! Enjoy sleeping in and all the extra time you'll have on your hands. You deserve it. Thank you for showing the rest of us how it's supposed to be done.