A SSOS Salute For VOA’s Retiring Howard Lesser

Posted May 28th, 2010 at 4:51 pm (UTC-4)
1 comment

Here’s a Sonny Side of Sports salute for my VOA colleague Howard Lesser, who is retiring after 30+ years at the Voice of America.  Howard is a big sports fan, and I’m sure he’ll be watching some of next month’s World Cup football matches in South Africa on TV.  I would often engage in sporty banter with Howard when he came in on the evening shift to host our Daybreak Africa show.

For many years, Howard was paired with the late Al James on Daybreak Africa, and they were familiar voices for millions of Africans waking up to start their day.  In recent years, Howard has been on the show with my colleague James Butty.

Austin Njoku, writing from Nigeria’s political capital of Abuja, says Howard’s retirement is a huge loss for listeners of the Voice of America.  And Florence Masajuwa, writing from Benin City, Nigeria, says she will surely miss Howard’s voice on Daybreak Africa.

Enjoy your retirement, Howard!

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

One response to “A SSOS Salute For VOA’s Retiring Howard Lesser”

  1. Barry Maughan says:

    It doesn’t seem possible that Howard is retiring after so many years of stellar service to English to Africa, in general, and Daybreak Africa, in particular. I recall how we finally persuaded Howard to give up an excellent on-air announcing position at a prestigious Washington, D.C. area classical music station to join us at the Voice of America. He finally got tired of the arm twisting and the Daybreak Africa program has been much richer for that decision.

    Howard joined the DBA broadcasting team as a co-anchor. But down through the years he has turned his considerable skills to every position associated with that operation thus demonstrating his range of talents.

    Over the course of Howard’s tenure, Daybreak Africa suffered the inevitable personnel changes, with two being extra traumatic and emotionally charged. But as challenging as those events were those transitional periods were always made easier by Howard’s stalwart and thoroughly professional presence.

    Working under extremely trying circumstances Howard’s steady presence held the program together when lesser broadcasters might have succumb to the pressures. So for these and other reasons the highest compliment I can pay my friend and former colleague is to describe him as the consummate professional.

    Since his arrival on Daybreak Howard has been the constant, lending continuity, style and grace to English to Africa’s morning broadcast vehicle heard by millions of loyal listeners throughout the continent.
    In many respects Howard Lesser has become synonymous with Daybreak Africa.

    For these and a myriad of other reasons he will be sorely missed by colleagues and listeners alike. But I know they join me in wishing this truly nice man the happiest possible retirement so richly earned.

    Go well, Howard. It’s my continuing pleasure to count you among my dearest friends. And I’m sure lots of folks will be saying exactly the same thing, both in the United States and Africa.

    Barry Maughan
    Chief Emeritus
    English to Africa

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Sonny Side of Sports is an energetic and action-packed look at both world and African sports, broadcast on radio, TV and the Internet. Since the show’s creation in 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

The Sonny Side of Sports is broadcast Monday through Friday at 1630 and 1830 UTC/GMT. And on Fridays at 1730 UTC/GMT, Sonny has an expanded 30-minute sports show.

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