2019 Community Change makers
Ernie Sprance graduated 1976 from SUNY Albany (now University at Albany) with a BA in Social Studies Education and Rhetoric & Communications. While at SUNY he met Jan Chaiken (now Jan Sprance). They married in 1977 and moved to Teaneck in 1980. They have two wonderful adult children, Jonathan and Kate and a fabulous daughter-in-law, Caroline, and Ernie is completely mesmerized by his amazing 2-year-old granddaughter, Eliana (Known as EV). A proud grandpa, Ernie took off work all of 2017 to babysit full-time for EV!
Ernie began a career in broadcast journalism in 1975 as a ‘stringer’ for a Long Island radio station. He subsequently worked full-time in radio in Albany, New Rochelle, and Mount Kisco, NY, eventually becoming VP of Operations in the last two. Eventually he left radio in 1990 and built a video post-production facility in his home to edit children’s picture books for Spoken Arts. (www.spokenartsmedia.com).
In 1985 Ernie began working with/for Consumer Reports as the ‘voice’ of the company’s syndicated radio feature, Report to Consumers. Over the ensuing 27 years, through 2012, he voiced over 7000 ninety-second programs. Ernie ultimately took over the writing, production and syndication of the series as a full-time employee in 1999. He eventually became the Manager of Media Production and Distribution for the non-profit corporation.
Upon leaving Consumer Reports in 2012, Ernie took his voice in a new direction; he began narrating Audiobooks. To date he has narrated over a dozen full-length unabridged books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Ernie always coupled his professional endeavors with his altruistic nature. His first brush with volunteerism came in 1975 while Co-chair of SUNYA’s 24-hr Telethon to raise funds for a local school for autistic children. At the time, this annual event was the largest student-run fund-raising telethon in the country, and Ernie was right at the forefront!
Being a great dad, he became his son’s Cub Scout Den Leader in 1989. By 1992, he was the District’s Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner, responsible for training literally hundreds of Scout leaders and for teaching them how to bring fun and enthusiasm to their meetings and activities. Ernie quickly moved into broader leadership roles and he received the Distinguished Commissioners Arrowhead Award, followed by the Silver Beaver, which is the highest Council Recognition awarded to adults for distinguished service to youth. Still today, Ernie serves the Scouts and youth and is known as the 3Rivers District Race-master, as he conducts dozens of Pinewood Derbies for packs beginning every January to enable participation in the District race in April.
His association with WRIC began officially in 2015 when he was asked to oversee the tech end of the annual fundraising dinner. He is the main facilitator of Constant Contact publicizing emails. He has become WRIC’s Web master. He continues to work closely with the Center helping whenever he can, from computer repair and installation to changing light bulbs. You usually know when Ernie is in the building, as you can hear him whistling while he works; a comforting sound to staff who know work is getting done, when he is around. Ernie’s contributions to WRIC have saved the agency thousands of dollars over the years, and more importantly, Ernie is considered a crucial team member of Women’s Rights Information Center.