Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 | 2:57 p.m.
Every so often when I am outside Las Vegas, on vacation or work furlough, I mention that I work with Robin Leach. Usually the response is someone reciting, “Champagne wishes and caviah dreams!” in a barely passable Leach accent.
On Saturday night, I was glad to be present as the man I refer to as Ubiquitous Robin Leach (URL for short) was honored with the inaugural Mark Smith Ambassador Award by the Nevada Broadcasters Association at the Four Seasons Las Vegas.
The award is named for the longtime Channel 8 executive and president of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Smith, who died three years ago, was the first broadcaster to be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. Along with Janet Blumen, Kirk Anderson and Mike Ginsburg, Smith was one of those who helped shape today’s NBA.
Leach was honored for his long career in broadcast media dating to his days at KABC-TV in L.A. and WABC-TV in New York. He helped launch “Entertainment Tonight” and the Food Network and of course founded “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” which he hosted for 14 years. Robin has lived in Las Vegas and covered the city with palpable tenacity since 1999.
Joining Leach as the night’s honorees at the NBA Hall of Fame gala were Smith Center President Myron Martin with the NBA Community Achievement Award, veteran Northern Nevada broadcaster D. Ray Gardner (who has owned Elko Broadcasting Co. for 40 years) with the NBA Pinnacle Award and Reno KTVN Channel 2 General Manager Lawson Fox with the NBA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Also, more than 30 broadcasters from state radio and TV outlets were entered into the NBA Hall of Fame.