June 29, 2005

Howard ("Aaaand A 1-2-3-4") Fine Dies

You've probably heard his voice in the commercials for Armstrong Painting, Roofing & Windows hundreds, if not thousands, of times on radio stations around the Bay Area. But you probably don't know his name.

Howard Fine, whose gravelly voice narrated Armstrong radio commercials for 30 years, passed away on Sunday (June 26) in Napa. He was 78 years old.

Mr. Fine was born in Pittsburgh, Penn., and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh after serving in the merchant marine during World War II, then went to work for the family-owned Armstrong Windows in his hometown. He later opened his own subsidiary of the company, Armstrong Painting, which he transplanted to the Bay Area in 1966.

Over the years, Mr. Fine was heard on about 400 commercials for his company, which occasionally featured local entertainment and sports personalities (including this one with Jim Plunkett) and always ended with the firm's trademark phone number — "three sevens, aaaaaaand a one-two-three-four." His son, Mitchell, currently runs the company, which is headquartered in Emeryville.

Radio Dots & Dashes -- Billboard Radio Monitor reported on Tuesday that Rhonda McCormack, Clear Channel's market manager for the Monterey-Salinas metroplex, will take on expanded duties overseeing the company's stations in San Jose.

Clear Channel operates KCNL (Channel 104.9), KSJO (La Preciosa) and KUFX (98.5 K-Fox) in the Southbay. McCormack will continuing riding herd over KDON, KTOM, KOCN (K-Ocean), KPRC (La Preciosa) and KABL-AM in the Monterey Bay Area.

“Rhonda McCormack’s love and enthusiasm for broadcasting makes her an inspiration and a leader wherever she goes," Clear Channel regional VP Kim Bryant said in a press release. McCormack joined the company in 2003 as director of sales for their Monterey stations...

Best line of the week (so far) comes from the Chronicle's Betting Fool, who came up with the following marketing idea for the struggling Giants: "KNBR NIGHT: Join in the celebration as "The Sports Leader" announces an "All-Mortgage Commercial" format. Can you imagine trying to make the Giants and 49ers sound interesting for the next few months? The Earthquakes and SaberCats already aren't interesting, although based on recent Earthquakes commercials (SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES GOAL!! GOAL!!! GOAL!!!) you'd think they'd won the World Cup." ...

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