There was more grunt work (he worked as a courier and took a part-time job typing letters at a TV station on a chyron machine) before the stars aligned again.
"One thing led to another and great good luck and good fortune led me into the path of news directors and producers who believed in me and put me on the air. And, in effect, gave me everything that I enjoy today."
NYSBA President Joe Reilly said Williams encompasses everything a "broadcaster of the year" should and is a shining example of what quality journalism looks like, something that can easily be lost in the shuffle of ratings and getting the scoop.
"We try to pick someone who's had a major impact on our industry [Williams] is a dedicated news journalist and he makes us all feel proud that he's part of our industry," said Reilly. "That's what we look at when we pick someone who exemplifies idealism and someone who is really a model for the young broadcasters coming along in our industry. Brian is certainly that."
The NYSBA also inducted its 2011 Hall of Fame members, which included Reilly and Philbin.
"Thank God I can still walk down the Hall of Fame," said Reilly. "It's quite an honor, all kidding aside. When I look at some of the names you'd be impressed. It's a very impressive list of inductees over the years, people far greater than I in any respect, so I'm very humbled to be thought of in that light."
Reilly will be retiring at the end of June after 31 years with NYSBA and 40 in the broadcast industry.