Written tributes remembering Bill Singer
By Richard Landis
Bill Singer was generous to those seeking a career in broadcasting. He was without a doubt self-effacting. If he felt someone was more talented than him, he encouraged that talent. If he believed someone was struggling in the broadcast profession, he went beyond normal help to encourage betterment.
Bill was to coin a phrase "a rare bird" in broadcasting. There was not one envious bone in his body! He was secure in his ability, thus he was always open to aiding and teaching others to be the best that they could be.
Bill never made the so-called "bigtime." He probably could have gone to the networks, but he realized early-on that his joy was in doing more local events and to make them sound as professional and as "bigtime" as he could possibly make them sound, whether over local radio stations in New Jersey, or at the many tracks where he was the announcer.
Bill loved his work because he kept it in perspective. He never faltered from his pursuit of what he considered to be his "calling," whether it was calling a race at Flemington, or if it was doing the many hundreds of radio shows in the Trenton area that made him a broadcast legend.
Bill Singer helped many of us in broadcasting, and we will never forget his unique humor and sunny style...
Editors Note: Dick worked with Bill at WTTM as well as being Sports Director at New Jersey Network (NJN) Television in Trenton. Dick hosted "Sports Open Mike" on WTTM. He was the host of "That's it in sports" on NJN and was a pioneer in getting women's sports on public television. He is currently the lead analyst to HBO Boxing matches for the English Speaking European countries.
Remembering the voice of the speedway
By HARRY BLAZE-Trenton Times
assistant metro editor
His name is officially William M. Singer Sr., the Sr. added after his son arrived.
But to me he was always Bill.
Singer died of a massive heart attack last Saturday. The attack struck him as he was serving as master of ceremonies for a big Flemington Speedway ``remembrance'' program in the parking lot of the Flemington Department Store, across Route 31 from the late, lamented Flemington Speedway.
Singer, who lived in Hamilton, was known as ``The Voice of the Speedway.'' He announced at many tracks but was best known for his work at Trenton International Speedway, where he was the main man in the announcer's booth for years, and at Flemington Speedway, where he handled the mike with amazing ease for more than 30 years.
He wasn't always ``The Voice.''
I first met him in the early 1950s at Trenton High School. He was a year ahead of me. We both went out for the football team. In subsequent years we'd joke that Bill played left end and I played ``left out.''
Not being a good football player led to my being recruited by The Times to report on the THS sports, including a few games in which Bill participated.
A few years later, I met Bill in a most unexpected place: Jack Kuhn's race car garage on Chambers Street.
I was just one of the guys who hung around the garage. Bill actually drove a race car. Not just any race car, a sprint car. They were so dangerous in those days they were called ``killer cars.'' Bill stuffed his car into the fence a few times but most of his injuries were minor.
Ironically, his most serious auto-related injuries came when he tried to stop a young punk from stealing his car. But Bill recovered from those wounds.
Once Bill put his racing helmet aside, he became a track announcer. He soon got the announcer's job at Trenton Speedway, where he got to know the great names of the Indy car and NASCAR Grand National circuits _ and at Flemington, where he met most of the very best in short track racing, particularly the owners and drivers of modified stocks.
On Monday, Flemington owner Paul Kuhl recalled how Singer would ``call'' a race. ``He had a way with his voice, his inflections, to make every race even more exciting than it was,'' Kuhl said.
His technique was to narrate, then at a key moment, _ say the cars are reaching the fourth turn _ he would add ``Ooooooh!'' in the middle of a phrase. If you were watching from the grandstand, you'd see all the fans' heads swivel toward turn four.
In addition to announcing, Bill ran the Broadcaster Training Center, where he pumped out generations of announcers and broadcasters, and also operated Bill Singer Productions, a studio.
Singer had only recently hung up his microphone at the broadcasting school, but on Saturday he was making a return visit to Flemington for the track remembrance.
I was on assignment at Pocono Raceway on Saturday but Wendy Kennedy, who for years handled public relations for Flemington Speedway, told me ``The Voice'' was in top form.
He also was in his element _ interviewing dozens of name drivers who had competed at the ``Squared Oval.''
``He was in great form and you could tell he was having a great time,'' Kennedy said, ``with all the drivers he knew so well, and he could talk about the great things he had seen them do.''
He had just finished an interview with Ken Brenn Jr. and was waiting for Billy Pauch to step up to the microphone when he collapsed and it was over immediately, Kennedy said.
It was one of those ironic things _ a Saturday afternoon at Flemington and Singer was at the microphone. He wasn't actually at the old speedway, but he was across the street from it, gazing, as it were, toward the fourth turn.
And he was in his element _ hanging around with a bunch of race car drivers.
NOTE: Harry Blaze, is an assistant metro editor at The Times. Reprinted with permission
REMEMBERING BILL SINGER...
By EARL KRAUSE -
TRENTON, NJ -- Bill Singer set the standard for auto racing announcers from the beginning of his career behind the microphone in the 1950s until his sudden passing this year.
Known as the “voice of New Jersey’s fabled Flemington Speedway for over 30 years and announcer at many other Northeast tracks, Bill passed away at age 70 in June 2004.
Ironically, he died at the Flemington Speedway reunion and race car show that took place at the Flemington Department Store directly across from the now closed speedway. As the event Master of Ceremonies, he had been interviewing drivers and personalities from the Flemington Speedway era, as always with his signature voice resonating on the microphone.
People who were in attendance said that when they heard Bill that morning it made them feel that they were right back at Flemington Speedway -- the track that was known as “Modified Country U.S.A.”
But in the middle of that wonderful day, he was stricken with a fatal heart attack.
Bill Singer was a first-class representative of racing, especially on the microphone. He started as a ³back-up² announcer to Hall of Fame New Jersey race callers Nat Kleinfield and Ted Webbe in the 1950s. Bill became Flemington¹s chief announcer by 1968, after Kleinfield retired due to illness; and would soon have that same role at numerous other speedways. Among the tracks at which he called the action were New Jersey¹s Bridgeport, East Windsor, the original paved quarter-mile New Egypt (then known as Fort Dix Speedway), Old Bridge and the State Fairgrounds in Trenton. In his career, he also announced at Dover Downs, Delaware in that mile oval¹s early years; and in Pennsylvania at Langhorne, Pocono and the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds for the annual Midget races.
In early April 2004, he had a well-received guest announcing role at N.J.‘s paved Wall Township Speedway.
Bill always recalled that Nat Kleinfield and Ted Webbe took the time to teach him when he was a young announcer and interested in learning the trade. It was something he treasured and appreciated. As such, he would always be willing to share HIS knowledge with an aspiring announcer -- such as myself, and Dirt Track Channel website editor and founder Shawn Wood.
Bill owned and operated the Allen-Singer Broadcasting Studio and announcer training school in Trenton, which opened its doors in the mid-1970s and operated through this year.
Shawn Wood is the "voice" of the USAC Carolina/Virginia Ford Focus Midget Series that travels to a variety of tracks; and a versatile motorsports announcer and writer for print and racing websites. Like so many others, he and I were graduates of Bill¹s school, where we learned about the industry
and honed OUR skills.
But of equal-importance, away from class Shawn Wood and I had the special opportunity to be alongside of Bill Singer at tracks such as Flemington.
There, he taught us the “right way” to announce a race. He also showed us how to prepare in advance the information about the drivers and teams that a really good announcer would ultimately relay to the fans in the grandstand.
Bill always believed that the spectators wanted to know what was happening “behind the scenes,” and that the announcer was the key to making their night at the track an enjoyable experience.
I also always recall that Bill was dignified on the microphone. He respected auto racing, on all levels and every division, and its participants. He never made fun of a race driver who was learning, and didn¹t see the need to make jokes or create a “circus” atmosphere. He felt that all of the racers
deserved respect, and that¹s what he gave them.
It was something I have never forgotten, and continue to use today as MY personal philosophy whenever I¹m announcing a race or writing a story.
And, as a talented announcer, Bill had a great style behind the microphone that could make the most routine race sound like one of the most-exciting!
Ultimately, Bill's professional style, knowledge of the sport¹s past and present drivers, and his stature led to his own induction into the Halls of Fame of the Garden State Vintage Stock Car Club (GSVSCC) and National Old Timers Auto Racing Club. He was also the first recipient of the Jim Delaney Memorial Award for dedication to New Jersey stock car racing, presented by the GSVSCC in memory of that late New Jersey stock car driving champion.
Bill also donated his time to causes such as the annual Matheny School for Cerebral Palsied Children benefit, a racing-based mid-winter event which raised thousands of dollars for that facility in Peapack, N.J. Bill was its emcee every year, when the event was held in the 1970s and 80s. He also announced at many post-season award banquets, of both current-day tracks and organizations and historic racing groups.
Quite literally, Bill Singer had announced racing history. He saw the sport evolve, and was on the microphone for some of its most-memorable events. As such, he particularly enjoyed attending “Old Timer” gatherings, where he visited with drivers and team members from years gone by; and their fans.
I was always honored to be co-Master of Ceremonies with Bill at the annual National Old Timers Auto Racing Club Hall of Fame banquet in Flemington.
There, Bill and I would reminisce on the microphone about racing history and of the inductees into that particular year's NOTARC Hall of Fame.
A fan of racing since he was a youth, Bill was a race driver for a number of years before going into broadcasting full-time. He drove in stock cars, and in ARDC Midgets and URC sprint cars during the 1950s.
Although he loved auto racing and made it his priority, Bill Singer was well-versed in all sports. While in high school he was an All-City football player.
He hosted the long-running “Sports Open Mike” show on local radio stations, with many local and national sports personalities on the air as his guests; as well as the popular Trenton-based auto racing show “Inside Track.” His voice was heard on Trenton AM radio stations WHWH, WPST and WTTM regularly from the mid-1950s through the 70s. In recognition of his work, he received the 10th anniversary sportscasters award from Sports Illustrated Magazine in the mid-1960s; and was a six-time, final ballot nominee for the prestigious N. J. Sportscaster of the Year Award through the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Beginning in 1972, he was advertising director for Trenton, N.J.‘s Area Auto Racing News for several years. He also did press relations and advertising work for numerous speedways.
Although his voice has been stilled, Bill Singer’s stature in racing will remain forever intact -- serving as an inspiration to present, and future, announcers of the “sport of speed.”
Editors Note: Earl is a graduate of the Allen/Singer Broadcasters Training Center, an auto racing announcer, columnist and assistant news editor with Area Auto Racing News in Trenton, NJ.