Former USAC President, Businessman and IMS Radio Broadcaster: Brockman Dies at 77
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2005 -- Charles T. "Charlie" Brockman, former president of the United States Auto Club and longtime Indianapolis radio and television broadcaster, died Jan. 18. He was 77.
A graduate of Speedway High School and later of Purdue's engineering school, Brockman held a variety of posts with USAC almost from its inception until the current time.
After serving, straight out of college, as a sportscaster at Indianapolis radio station WXLW and later at radio station WIRE, he became sports director at WLWI-TV (now WTHR) in Indianapolis, holding that position throughout the mid-1960s. He also was the anchor for the entire run of the MCA closed-circuit telecasts of the Indianapolis 500 from 1964-70 and was one of the original announcers on ABC's "Wide World of Sports" program, covering such events as the 24-Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix, and numerous non-motorsports events.
During his radio days, Brockman was a member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network team, working in the booth with anchor Sid Collins. Brockman also conducted the winner's interview from 1954-59.
It was Brockman who was placed in the unenviable position of fielding Bob Sweikert's emotional "Who got hurt, who got hurt?" questions in 1955, diplomatically avoiding the fact that Sweikert's friend Bill Vukovich had died in a multi-car accident. And Brockman shed tears along with Sam Hanks when Hanks announced his retirement in Victory Lane in 1957.
Brockman served as master of ceremonies for several Indianapolis 500 Victory Banquets in the late 1950s and was "emcee" for every USAC banquet from the inaugural in May 1957 until he was elected USAC president in January 1969.
Named director of publicity for USAC in 1958, Brockman already had been helping USAC with publicity for some time on an unofficial basis. Brockman became the secretary to the board of directors in 1963 and then chairman of the USAC rules committee upon the death of Rhiman Rotz in a private plane crash in September 1967.
After serving as USAC president from 1969-72, Brockman continued to be involved with a variety of committees and was still an ex-officio board member and director emeritus at the time of his death.
Brockman was one of the half-dozen or so founding members of the American Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association in 1955 and was one of the original partners in the building of Indianapolis Raceway Park in 1960-61.
Visitation from 4-6 p.m. (Indianapolis time)
Memorial Service at 6 p.m.
Conkle Funeral Home
4925 W. 16th St.
Speedway, IN 46224