Stan Savran, broadcaster, 76

It was Stan Savran's job to write about sports, to talk about sports, and he did it well enough to be a mainstay in that business for decades. But what made Savran different, what made him special, was that he was just as accomplished at listening.

Savran, a Cleveland native who made Pittsburgh his home and Pittsburgh sports the love of his life, died on Monday, June 12, at his home. He was 76.

"Today is a sad day in the City of Pittsburgh as we lost a legendary person, media icon, and close friend with the passing of Stan Savran," said Steelers President Art Rooney II via a statement posted on the team's website Monday evening. "He was a gentleman in every way possible, and he did so much for our city and Western Pa. with his honest candor and knowledge of all sports, both locally and nationally. Stan was involved for many years working on our Steelers Radio Network as well as doing several Steelers' interviews and shows, while also being a valuable contributor to our Hall of Honor selection committee.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family during this difficult time. He was truly one of a kind and will be missed, but always remembered."

A devoted fan of Cleveland's Major League Baseball team who once served as its batboy before attending college at Miami (Ohio) University, Savran never got over the 1997 loss to the Florida Marlins in the seventh game of the 1997 World Series, but those who listened to him on the radio, or watched him on television, or read his column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette knew him only as a fan/commentator/critic of his adopted city's sports teams.

His career in Pittsburgh began at WWSW-AM in 1976, where he worked for three years until that station switched formats. He then moved to KQV where his visibility and popularity began to rise.

Starting in 1981, Savran began working at WTAE-TV as a sports reporter and anchor, and he also began doing a five-days-a-week one-hour sports talk show on WTAE-AM that followed Myron Cope's two-hour slot on the same station. After leaving WTAE in 1991, Savran re-branded himself on "SportsBeat," partnering with Guy Junker for a cable-television version of his radio talk show that was broadcast on KBL.

KBL evolved into Prime Sports, which then became Fox Sports Pittsburgh, then FSN Pittsburgh, then Root Sports, then AT&T Sportsnet. But "SportsBeat" continued to grow in popularity, largely through the Savran-Junker on-air camaraderie, and then Savran's ability to carry the show solo when Fox Sports executives removed Junker in 2003.

"Stan did everything off the top of his head," Roger Lenhart, Savran's longtime producer once told Kevin Gorman of the Tribune-Review. "He would have a daily meeting for 'SportsBeat' with a yellow notepad and would write everything down. Everybody is amazed that he never used a 'prompter.' Never. On-site shows? Never. He was just an old-school guy. I was like, 'How does he remember all of this with no 'prompter?' The only time I remember him scripting something was the last episode of 'SportsBeat.'"

Wrote Gorman: "It was just two Pittsburgh guys talking sports, and they couldn't comprehend that," Savran told The Athletic. "When they canceled 'SportsBeat,' it was devastating to me. We were on longer than 'Gunsmoke.' It just crushed me."

In 2008, Savran and Junker were reunited on ESPN Radio 1250 as co-hosts of the "Stan and Guy Show," which ran from 2008-10, and then he also hosted a daily show on ESPN Pittsburgh 970AM-104.7HD2.

But for many Steelers fans, Savran will be associated with his role on a postgame talk show he did with Charlie Batch that aired on the Steelers Radio Network. It became appointment listening after Steelers' victories, but also following losses when Savran and Batch would bear the brunt of the fans' anger and/or frustration, while never failing to try to inject some rational discussion into the midst of the angriest rants.

"Stan Savran: Words cannot express how much you meant to me and my family. I will truly miss you on air, as you made my job a whole heck of a lot easier," Batch wrote on Twitter following the announcement of Savran's death. "More than anything, the talks we had offline. I will be forever grateful to you! THANK YOU for being a role model, mentor, but more importantly a friend. Love you Brother! RIP."

For many years, Savran also served as the host of other Steelers flagship programs such as "The Bill Cowher Show" and "The Mike Tomlin Show" and was a member of the team's Hall of Honor selection committee. He also hosted a number of other team programs and events.

To the teams he covered faithfully, Savran sometimes was a critic, a needler; to the fans he was a voice to their opinions and frustrations; but to his colleagues in the business, Stan Savran was a mentor, a consummate professional, a man who never big-timed anyone, someone who always was quick with a joke, a one-liner, a personal compliment, a word of encouragement, or a heartfelt thank-you.

Shortly before the 2023 NFL Draft, I tried to offer some measure of support to him following yet another difficult bit of medical news, while offering to join him on his show whenever the time came as well as an ear for whatever he might need on a personal level.

"Thanks, Bob. It's been a stiff challenge but not unlike others I've faced," he replied via text. "I plan on beating this, too, and would love to be back on the air well before training camp. You're one of my go-to guys. I really appreciate your support and friendship and encouragement!"

That is Stan Savran in a nutshell.