“The video went viral, now he’s huge and getting job offers,” my wife Kim said to me, “the Cavaliers offered him a job and a house.” I’m talking about the now famous Ted Williams. A homeless man — originally from Brooklyn — encountered by a news reporter on the streets of Columbus Ohio, is the country’s new “celebrity.”
It doesn’t happen everyday, but such was the case for Ted earlier this week. At age 53, Ted has gotten a “second chance” at life. Williams has been telling the story of how he went on a field trip to WWRL as a youth and recalls being inspired by DJ Hank Spann.
Hank Spann’s DJ style was an inspiration for several air personalities. After his years on the air, Spann later became an executive for Warner Brothers Records. It was during his time there that I actually got to meet and work with him as a colleague throughout my tenure at WBLS. While Hank was with Warner Brothers, I had the fortune to be one of a select group of people to see Prince perform at a convention in Atlanta. His purple highness was releasing his CD “Diamonds and Pearls,” and did a full on concert at a gathering known as “Jack the Rapper.” In hindsight, I believe one of the reasons Prince agreed to do such an exclusive performance was out of respect for Hank Spann. Check out this clip of the Hank Spann LA Memorial:
Ted Williams reunited with his mother this morning after being estranged for several years. According to an article from Mail Online…They have been estranged for ten years – but today the beggar with the golden voice was reunited with his elderly mother in an emotional meeting as the cameras rolled. Ted Williams could only repeat ‘Hi Mommy’ as he walked towards his 92-year-old mother Julia, who hid her face in her hands as her son fell to his knees before her. ‘I know, I feel the same way Mommy,’ he said as he hugged her. ‘I love you…. Hi Mommy, I’m home, I told you I was coming this year. I know I don’t look the best but I’m home, I got a haircut.’
Hank Spann passed away in 2009, but the power of his voice is still an inspiration for Ted Williams today. An inspiration that has enabled a man who lost his way, to find his way back home. Yesterday, an emotional Williams told CBS’ The Early Show the best thing about his new-found fame was being able to be reunited with his mother. It was the sign in the photo below that attracted the attention of Doral Chenoweth of the Columbus Dispatch.
Williams’ spiel was caught on a 90-second video by Chenoweth, which then went viral after being posted on microblogging site Twitter by sports radio station 1310 The Ticket Radio. Since it went up, Williams has been on the road to fame. He admits on camera:’I went to school [to study radio announcement] and then alcohol and drugs and a few other things became part of my life. But I’m two years clean and I’m trying hard to get it back and hopefully, one of these TV or radio stations will say, “Hey, I need a voiceover” or something.’ Williams had a promising radio career in the 1980s – first as an overnight DJ in Johnstown, Ohio, and later on a morning show in Columbus, where he nicknamed himself Teddy Bear. Now Williams has been said to have received offers from media outlets.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are poised to offer Williams a job as stadium announcer. Club spokesman Tad Carper said details were being finalized to make him an offer as soon as possible. Ken Andrews, a volunteer for Columbus’ Mount Carmel Outreach who knows Williams, said, ‘He’s a good guy, but we never knew he had “the voice”. Los Angeles agent Shane Cormier, whose clients have done voice-over work for Ford and Western Union, said Williams will need to find someone to help him navigate the offers ahead. ‘We could make him a millionaire,’ said Cormier. Williams told the Early Show he hoped someone might spot his talents, but he never expected the outpouring of job offers and media attention. ‘It’s like almost winning the Mega Ball lottery or something,’ he said. ‘It’s just phenomenal.’
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