WABC radio host George Weber slain in homicide

By | March 23, 2009 at 1:36 PM
NEW YORK –  Longtime New York radio newsman  George Weber  was found stabbed to death in his  Brooklyn  apartment Sunday morning, cops said.

The bloody body of Weber, a passionate fan of the city who spent a decade doing local news on WABC morning radio, was found just after 9 a.m. when he didn’t show up for work.

“I used to hear his voice in the top and the bottom of the hour. It’s a voice New Yorkers know. Now that voice has been silenced,” said  Aaron Katersky, 33, an ABC colleague who found himself covering a friend’s murder.

Weber, 47, was freelancing at ABC’s national radio network after being laid off last year.

Cops believe Weber was killed Friday evening. He was found in bed with stab wounds in the neck and chest, cops said.

Police were investigating the possibility he was killed by a male date.

There was no sign of forced entry to his first-floor brownstone apartment on Henry St. in  Carroll Gardens, cops said.

The front door was locked, but a back door was unlocked. The apartment had been ransacked, though it was not clear what, if anything, was taken.

The murder weapon was not recovered.

Weber would have celebrated his 48th birthday Monday.

Curtis Sliwa, who did a 5 a.m. “pre-show” with Weber for eight years at WABC before the regular “Curtis & Kuby” morning show, called his death “a tremendous loss.”

“News ran through his veins and arteries 24 hours a day,” Sliwa said.

“He wasn’t a rip-and-read newsman. He wanted to be there,” he said. “And you know what his trick was? He’d pack up his dog, Noodles, a dachshund, and walk him there. People would see the dog, they’d pet the dog, they’d get a level of comfort with him. And then he could get them to talk.”

Noodles died a few years ago.

Weber told the Daily News last year that he had turned down a job in  California  because he didn’t want to leave  New York.

“Brooklyn’s my home. I like being the news guy here,” he said.

Calling himself “the news guy,” Weber maintained a lively blog. His last entry, a rant about his battles with bedbugs, was posted Friday.

He made his daily visit to his regular bar, the Blarney Rock on W, 33rd St., as usual on Friday afternoon.

“He seemed fine,” said the waitress who saw him.

Patrons and staff at the bar, where Weber was such a fixture that his picture hangs on the wall, were stunned to hear of his murder.

“He was like family here,” said weekend manager  James Donovan. “George Web, dead? I can’t believe it. He was one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met.”

Waitress Andrea Tierney was baffled. “He didn’t have any enemies. None at all,” she said. “Who could want to kill him?”

The mood was somber yesterday at Weber’s favorite watering hole, Angry Wade’s on Smith St. near his home, where a seat was left empty at the bar in his honor.

Regulars sipped the drink he always ordered,  Wild Turkey  and  Coke.

ABC News Radio  General Manager  Steve Jones  called Weber “a consummate journalist” and said the network was “shocked and deeply saddened by the death.”

“An investigation has been launched by  NYPD  and we have been assisting them,” he said. “Our condolences and prayers go out to George’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”

Weber, a Pennyslvania native, worked his way up in the radio business, paying his dues at KIMN, KOA and KTLK in  Denver, KMPC and KABC in  Los Angeles, KGO in  San Francisco  and KOGO in  San Diego.

He was laid off from WABC in February 2008 along with veteran  John Gambling  and had been working as a freelance news anchor at ABC News Radio.

At WABC, Weber covered the 2001 falling of the Twin Towers from the scene.

“He worked all over the country, but when he got to Brooklyn, he adopted it. He knew more about Brooklyn than the natives,” Sliwa said.

“I’d go to parties at his house and he’d have all kinds of people there – artists, longshoremen, media people, everybody. You’d hang around for hours and never run out of people to meet. Everybody loved George because he really listened to them.”

Mayor Bloomberg  said Weber was “an absolutely central part” of the WABC show.

“On or off the air, and especially during our commercial breaks, his views were incisive and insightful,” the mayor said.

 Weber was remembered fondly in his neighborhood.

“He was always very funny. He had a good sense of humor,” said neighbor  Lou Pepe, 49.

“Ten years ago, everybody knew everybody. Now you’re lucky if you know anyone by sight. He was the kind you knew from the neighborhood.”

Tony Olivieri, 49, got to know Weber during the 2003 blackout, when they camped on the sidewalk cooking chicken cutlets and spaghetti.

“He did not give any airs, like he was a celebrity,”  Olivieri  said. “He was very personable. He did not deserve this.”

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