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Legendary Broadcaster Norm Hitzges Tackles Dallas Sports History On KERA TV


by Mia Estrada 9 Sep 2020 6:00 AM

Every day on Art&Seek, we’re talking to people who have tips on art in the time of social distancing. Share yours with us on Facebook, Instagram or @artandseek on Twitter. Click above to hear Bart Weiss, producer of KERA TV’s Frame of Mind and co-founder of Dallas VideoFest and the Video Association of Dallas, share his tip with KERA’s Nilufer Arsala. 

Norm Hitzges is a trailblazer. Over 30 years ago, right here in North Texas, he hosted the first full-time sports talk show in the country. 

 Norm Hitzges: An Opinionated History of Dallas Sports re-airs on KERA TV on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 10:30 p.m.

He’s become one of North Texas’ most well-known broadcasting voices, giving his unique take on sports at a variety of radio stations. These days, he co-hosts Norm and D Invasion with Donovan Lewis on Sportsradio 96.7 FM/1310 AM The Ticket. (Way back in 1975, Hitzges hosted Friday mornings on KERA 90.1.)

Original illustrations from Dan Peeler and Charlie Rose from “Norm Hitzges: An Opinionated History of Dallas Sports.”

Recently, Hitzges announced on his show, that he is being treated for bladder cancer.

“My best to Norm as he battles cancer,” said fellow Ticket host Craig Miller on Twitter. “Hard to express just how much everyone at The Ticket cares for Norm, and how we are all with him in this fight. And, I’d like to apologize to him for prank calling his radio show when I was in high school. Love you, Norm!”

Hitzges, 76, plans to remain on the air while undergoing treatment.

Last year, on Frame of Mind‘s 27th season, KERA TV aired Norm Hitzges: An Opinionated History of Dallas Sports. And it will return to KERA TV Thursday, Sept. 10 at 10:30 pm. The film includes original illustrations from Dan Peeler and Charlie Rose and archival sports footage from the ’60s and ’70s from the G. William Jones Collection at SMU.

In the episode, Bart Weiss, producer of Frame of Mind and co-founder of Dallas VideoFest and the Video Association of Dallas, sits down with Hitzges to talk all things Dallas sports. 

“It’s one of our most requested Frame of Mind episodes ever, so we are really happy to have the opportunity to re-broadcast it,” Weiss said. “Norm Hitzges has been a legend in sportscasting and his story about how he started, what he does and why he does it is really powerful.”

Weiss said Hitzges goes beyond the scores. He analyzes and shares deep storytelling.

“Norm paved the way that no one else has been able to do,” Weiss said. “There is no one in sports radio that comes to it from his point of view…No one who has the kind of curiosity and storytelling and just simple crazy bizarreness that Norm brings on a daily basis.”

Here are three insights the broadcaster shares on Norm Hitzges: An Opinionated History of Dallas Sports:

Still from “Norm Hitzges: An Opinionated History of Dallas Sports.”

On how sports imitate war: 

“Games are like war, particularly football is like war. In war, people fight over space. They try to take over land and then they defend what they’ve taken over. In football, it’s 11 men on one side and 11 on the other, and the one on this side [left side] is trying to take space, land from the one on the other side.

“And the way they do that is they break down the defense on the other side. They trick that defense, they bully that defense, they overrun that defense. But their idea is: break that defense down so that we can then take that particular part of their land.”

His take on sports/life balance:

“I don’t think sports is life. It should entertain you. Yes, at times it annoys you, but it should not consume your life. And in doing a post-game show, most of the time I and my partner for years now Donovan Lewis, we’re just trying to have a good time. We’re trying to take the person who’s angry and say ‘Wait a minute. Hang on. The sun’s going to come up tomorrow…

“For some, it over-consumes their life. And their life and their happiness can be dependent upon the results of an NFL game.  That’s in my estimation taking it too far.”

On how sports gives us joy:

“We get to watch greatness. We get to watch LeBron. We get to watch Brady. We get to watch greatness. That’s something we are so privileged to see. I’ve been so privileged to see things in my life. I got to see Wilt Chamberlain play. I got to see Secretariat run. I got to see Michael Jordan. I got to see, ever too briefly, Gale Sayers. Lord if he hadn’t gotten hurt. The things he’d done to just excite us…

“Sports is one of those undertakings where when you go to the park and you’re never quite sure that you’re not going to see greatness on a particular evening or a particular afternoon.”

Got a tip? Email Mia Estrada at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter @miaaestrada.

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