Gabriel Heatter (September 17, 1890, New York City – March 30, 1972, Miami, Florida) was an American radio commentator whose World War II-era sign-on ("There's good news tonight") became both his catchphrase and his caricature. He also gave the self-help group Alcoholics Anonymous its first national exposure with a 1939 interview, and earned an unusual reputation—even in a less media-driven and cynical time—for morale boosting during some of the nation's most arduous days.
The son of immigrant parents, Heatter grew up in Brooklyn. His mother woke Gabe and his brothers Max and Edward every day at 5AM to deliver baskets of food to poor people in the neighborhood (at that early hour so the people wouldn't be embarrassed by being seen to accept charity). For the rest of their lives the boys always woke up at 5AM. Young Heatter, who found school difficult but had a passion for reading---and a rare speaking ability - became a sidewalk campaigner for William Randolph Hearst during the publishing giant's 1906 mayoral campaign. Heatter after his high school graduation became a society reporter for the tiny weekly, The East New York Record before joining the Brooklyn Daily Times, which led to his being offered a job with Hearst's New York Journal.
But it was an article he wrote for The Nation in 1931, in which he debated with the prominent Socialist Norman Thomas and argued against the Socialist Party's existence in the U.S. that helped steer Heatter to radio. In December 1932, he was invited by Donald Flamm, owner of New York's WMCA, to debate a Socialist on radio, and when the Socialist was unable to make the date, Heatter had the program almost to himself. His performance impressed both Mr. Flamm and the listeners. A few months later, he went to work for WOR, as a reporter and commentator. His audience expanded when in 1934, WOR became the flagship station of the newest network, Mutual Broadcasting.