A proud member of the Freehold Regional High School Class of 1967 and a man with whom I worked for many years has passed away, much too soon.
Robert F. “Bob” Hartman, 71, of Marlboro, died on Feb. 20 after a long illness, according to an obituary from the Holmdel Funeral Home.
Almost 40 years ago, Bob became a regular on-air presence on TV-34, which was a local cable television channel operated by Monmouth Cablevision.
Monmouth Cablevision was based in Wall Township and provided cable television service to many communities in Monmouth and Ocean counties, including Manalapan, Marlboro, Freehold Township, Howell and Jackson.
TV-34 was seen in every community that had a franchise agreement with Monmouth Cablevision. The company no longer exists.
As the TV-34 news director, Bob led a staff of young people who made up the TV-34 news team. He provided a guiding hand to many people who were beginning their careers in broadcasting.
Monmouth Cablevision’s owner had made a commitment to cover local events and that included high school sports. I was fresh out of Indiana University with a degree in telecommunications and fortunate enough to land a position as one of TV-34’s sports announcers.
I worked part-time in sports broadcasting at the same time I was working full-time as a journalist at this newspaper.
And Bob, in addition to directing the news operation, was also one of TV-34’s sports announcers.
Several times each week, Bob and I would join our production crew, led by director John Anderson, at locations throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties – mostly at high schools – to announce football, soccer, basketball, wrestling, baseball and softball action.
Bob and I announced hundreds of sports events for more than a decade. For many years, TV-34 was everything cable television initially promised in local access: coverage of local sports and community events, and news at the most meaningful level – town hall.
According to his obituary, Bob lived in North Bergen for the first eight years of his life and moved with his family to Marlboro in 1957. He attended Freehold Regional High School in Freehold Borough and graduated in 1967. He met Mary Lou, his future wife, in high school. They were married in 1968.
After working in the insurance industry for a decade, Bob decided to pursue a career in broadcasting. He attended Brookdale Community College and took courses, and was a reporter for WADB radio in South Belmar before joining TV-34 in its nascent years.
He was also an on air talent and worked as a producer for Discover NJ at New Jersey Network and as a sports announcer for Comcast Sports TV, according to his obituary.
When his two children finished high school, Bob and Mary Lou moved to Brielle, closer to their jobs. In 2005 they moved back to Marlboro.
Bob’s friendly demeanor and pleasant nature made him a success in local media. On TV-34, he interviewed many celebrities and noteworthy individuals who passed through Monmouth and Ocean counties.
Our announcing assignments at local sports events brought Bob and I into contact with dozens of coaches, players, parents, athletic directors and game officials. It was a great time to be a part of local media and I am proud I had the opportunity to share it with an affable individual like Bob Hartman.
Mark Rosman is the managing editor of the News Transcript. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org