Stan Brooks, who worked for more than 50 years at the pioneering all-news radio station 1010 WINS and was its first news director, has died at age 86.
He died Monday of cancer at his Manhattan home surrounded by his three adult sons, current news director Ben Mevorach said.
Brooks covered scores of era-defining stories, from civil rights marches to the protests surrounding the Vietnam War to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. He kept a desk at City Hall and covered seven mayors and Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.
Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whom Brooks covered for 12 years, named the City Hall radio reporters' room after him.
"Stan was loved by his colleagues and friends inside and outside the business," Bloomberg said in a statement. "And maybe the most telling measure about him: He was even liked and respected by his most cranky listeners, the many mayors he covered."
Brooks was born in the Bronx in 1927, attended City College and was drafted into the Infantry during World War II, becoming a trombonist in a band that entertained the troops in the war's Pacific Theater.
He joined 1010 WINS in 1962 and was named news director when the station changed to the all-news format two years later.
He also worked as a national correspondent for Westinghouse Broadcasting but remained based in New York. In 1972, he landed a phone interview with a would-be robber who was holed up in a Brooklyn bank. The botched robbery would later be turned into the Academy Award-winning film "Dog Day Afternoon."
Brooks was reporting live from City Hall in 2003 when a gunman killed Councilman James Davis in the City Council chambers and the building was put on lockdown. Brooks called in his report before signing off, "I'm outta here."
Mevorach said Brooks was "the very essence of goodness, humility and decency."
"His professional life was a testament to his belief that the story — not the reporter — was the star," Mevorach said in a statement. "There will never be another one like him."
Brooks' wife of 60 years died this year. Brooks, though in ill health, continued to work, covering his final story, a news conference on the city budget, on Nov. 21, the radio station said.
"He was 86 years and 11 months old," Mevorach wrote in a tribute posted to the radio station's website. "He worked until he was 86 years and 10 months old."