From: Jim Burns on

Not Calling In to WFAN Anymore, but Short Al From Brooklyn Is Still
Talking" -

Late last September, I got a call from Corey Kilgannon, a TIMES
reporter, about my piece on the ushers at Shea possibly being in
jeopardy of losing their jobs, at the new ballpark...


Corey seemed like a good guy, and I Googled him, to see some of his
writing. It turns out, he was the fella who wrote that terrific "Doris
From Rego Park" tribute, some years back.

Flash forward several months:

Short Al From Brooklyn, has gone missing from his nightly phone calls,
to WFAN.

Missing for weeks.

Now, I have a place in my heart for many of the panoply of characters
who call the Overnight.  

At least, some of them.


Al has been calling Sports Talk since, I think, before WFAN's inception.

I also knew him a little bit, off the air. (Some producer had once given
him my number.)

And Al's phone was now disconnected.

I called Corey, to see if it might be an interesting piece, to try to
track Al down. Corey agreed, but within a couple of days, by
coincidence, Short Al called in to one of the shows.

He had been ill, hospitalized, and was now living with his daughter.

The only glitch was, his daughter wouldn't let him call in to the
station anymore. (In what had to be a Kafkaesque moment, Al called one
of the Overnight hosts, when his daughter began yelling at him to "Get
off the phone, at this hour of the morning...")

This Octogenrian who had called WFAN almost every night for over twenty
years, was now losing his devotion... (And, it's amazing how many FANS,
the regular callers to the WFAN, actually have: Folks kept calling in,
wondering if Short Al was all right.)

I called Corey, thinking an article might embarrass the daughter into
letting her father pursue his passion once again.

Kilgannon thought it was worth pursuing.

And, as you'll see, he wrote a terrific piece.

Jim Burns (James H. Burns)
July, 2009