Charles Osgood, a newscaster who told unconventional stories on the radio in unconventional ways — sometimes with rhyme, sometimes with humor, often with both — died on Tuesday at his home in Saddle River, N.J. He was 91.
The cause was dementia, CBS News reported, quoting his family.
Mr. Osgood became a familiar face on television as the host of “CBS Sunday Morning” from 1994 to 2016. But his passion was the medium he had grown up listening to in the 1930s and ’40s, so much so that he closed his TV broadcasts by saying, “See you on the radio” — an oxymoron, to be sure, but one masked by the cleverness that his audiences had come to expect. He also used the phrase as the title of a book.
On television, he was known for his trademark bow ties; on the radio, it was for his distinctive voice, most familiar from his short “Osgood File” segments on CBS Radio. It was not booming like Paul Harvey’s, deeply authoritative like Edward R. Murrow’s or telegraph-staccato like Walter Winchell’s. Some listeners compared the way Mr. Osgood sounded to the jerky rhythms of Rod Serling, the host and creator of “The Twilight Zone.”
But Mr. Osgood’s voice was lighter, his approach more conversational, a style he attributed to his having avoided the “journalism machine” when he was young.
“I never took a journalism course or worked for a newspaper or news department of a broadcast operation,” he told Broadcasting magazine in 1985. “Whatever is unique or different in my style would probably have been drummed out of me in journalism school on the first day.”