Morey Hershgordon grew up 15 minutes outside of Philadelphia, so he has some sense of what he’s getting into in the Boston market when he takes over as Channel 7′s lead sports anchor next month.
“Much like Boston, there’s a great sports passion,’’ said Hershgordon, who spent the previous 4½ years at WPRI in Providence. “Only Philadelphia has lost a lot more through the years.”
But even as Hershgordon arrives in the ninth-largest television market in the country, he knows that his favorite audience always will remain the one person that made up his first.
Hershgordon, a 28-year-old Quinnipiac graduate, found his way to sports broadcasting the most heartwarming of ways. Beginning as a child “around 5 or 6″ and well into his professional career, he would call games — sometimes in person, sometimes over the phone — for his grandfather, who had lost his sight as an adult.
Gil Kayson was a graduate of Penn State, an avid golfer, and a passionate Philadelphia sports fan. At age 40, he lost his sight because of a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa.
Gil was in his 60s when his grandson Morey was born. As Morey grew, they bonded over sports, and soon found that unique way to grow that connection.
“When I was a little kid, I’d go over to his house nearby on a Saturday and mute the television and would give him the play-by-play of the Phillies game at 7 o’clock,’’ said Hershgordon. “My grandmother would make us dinner and I’d stay over and then do the same for the Eagles game at 1 o’clock the next day, giving him play-by-play and sideline reports and making up injury updates. And then I’d go back home.
“He had such a big love for sports, and it was such a great way for us to connect and build our relationship through the years,’’ said Hershgordon. “He was my best friend. I never had an older brother. He was my rock.”
Hershgordon continued as his grandfather’s personal broadcaster through his time at Quinnipiac and even when he was in his first job at a small station in Wisconsin.
“I’d be watching a game in college and I would mute it and I would call him up and I’d be like, ‘Pops, you watching the game?,’ and he’d be like, ‘Of course, what else do you think I’m doing?’ ”
Gil Kayson died July 10, 2021, the day Hershgordon got the news he was being promoted to sports director at WPRI.
“I was grateful that I got to be on the phone with him a month earlier when I got the good news that it was going to happen and share that with him,’’ said Hershgordon. “Even though I don’t physically get to hear his voice or get to give him a hug anymore, I know he’s looking down for sure and he’ll be watching me from my first day.
“He’s with me to this day, and for the entire new audience that I’ll have in Boston, I’ll always keep it close to my heart that he was my first audience.”
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