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DAYTON AREA BROADCASTER’S HALL OF FAME
Copyright 2010 Dayton Area Broadcasters Hall of Fame
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"Bud" Crowl owned and operated WAVI-AM and WDAO-FM radio, and he was truly a programming
innovator. In 1964, he launched WDAO as the first FM radio station in America to
exclusively program to African Americans. WDAO would become a powerhouse ("50,000
watts soundin' like a million!). By the early 1970's, Crowl offered another innovation
with WAVI, offering a full-time "2 Way Telephone Talk and News" format, calling the
station "People Power/WAVI", with local talk show hosts who offered opinions on all
sides of the political spectrum. WAVI entertained, informed and, sometimes irritated
many. But, the listeners responded and proved that "People Power" was more than just
Phil Donahue Today, millions know his name. But, in the early 1960's Donahue was
a newscaster for WHIO Radio and Television in Dayton. For a time, he hosted a mid-day
radio talk show called "Conversation Piece". But Phil tired of the radio grind and
left broadcasting for a while and tried to start a career as an incentive salesman.
Later, an executive with WLWD-TV, Channel 2 had a brainstorm...take a format similar
to WHIO’s "Conversation Piece" and put it on television. He contacted Phil and offered
him the job as host. "The Phil Donahue Show" debuted in November, 1967 with a studio
audience, live telephone calls from viewers and atheist Madalyn Murray O' Hair as
its' first guest. Later, Phil would move the show first to Chicago, then New York.
But, "Donahue" remained on the air from 1967 to 1996 and was one of the first successful
syndicated daytime talk programs.
A true ground breaker in American broadcasting. As "Delilah", Lewis was the first
black female DJ in Dayton in the mid 1950's. During that time, few blacks were DJ's
(unless, of course, it was a "black" formatted radio station and those were few and
far between back then.) But, Lewis made her mark in the early days of Top 40 radio
on Dayton powerhouse WING.
Bette would spend decades on the radio at WING and WHIO. But, during the 1960's she
became the first female in the area to host a local TV variety show, that would air
during the 60's and 70's. She would continue her career with an interview show on
local cable TV during the 1990's and early 2000's.
Jack would host one of America's most innovative and longest airing public affairs
programs. "The Man On The Street" aired at noon weekdays on WING radio, live from
the streets of downtown Dayton from 1936 until 1980. Dignitaries would stop by...but
you didn't have to be famous to be Jack's guest. You might be just as likely to hear
from a local Cub Scout Pack as you would a local politician.
Carl came to Dayton and became a top rated radio personality on WHIO Radio, and would
host two syndicated television shows. He then moved into the realm of TV news as
an anchor for WDTN-TV (Channel 2) and WKEF-TV (Channel 22) and would sit in the anchor
chair throughout the 1980's, 1990's and into the 2000's.
Some radio fans would say that Dayton was unique because it had 3 types of radio...AM,
FM and Lou Emm. Lou began his career in Lima, Ohio where his boss was another famous
broadcaster-to-be: Hugh Downs. But, Lou came to Dayton in the early 40's as a staff
announcer for WHIO Radio. Eventually, he would take over the reins of the station's
morning show where he would dominate the morning drive ratings until he left WHIO
in 1992. Lou was active in the community, lending his name to many fund raisers and
celebrity golf tournaments. After leaving WHIO, Lou worked for a time on WONE. A
while later, Lou passed away and was given an honor no other Dayton broadcaster has
ever received: every radio station in Dayton paused for a collective moment of silence
in his memory.
Loud, brash, some would say obnoxious, but always entertaining and funny. What Lou
Emm was to Dayton's adults, "Kirkie" was to a generation of Dayton's youth. After
spending time on the air in Columbus and Cincinnati, Steve found his way to Dayton
and to the morning shift on WING radio on Labor Day, 1967, and he would stay in that
post for exactly 25 years always garnering the top ratings on the station. His "put-ons"
(crank phone calls) were legendary. (Like the time he called the mother/manager of
a local teen rock band wanting them to play for an event. There was just one catch,
though. His "event" was (supposedly) at a nudist colony and the group would have
to perform...well, you know!) And every morning the show would be punctuated with
"Hi-ya, gang! Kirkie here!" Steve was active in many community events and telethons.
Phillips was a videographer for WLW-D Television and later, WDTN-TV (both Channel
2). TV industry leaders as well as his peers in local broadcasting have acclaimed
many time over his video work over decades. Bob was an industry leader and was active
in the fight to get cameras in the courtroom throughout the Miami Valley and in Ohio.
For 47 years, people in the Miami Valley trusted Don Wayne to bring them the news.
First on WHIO radio, then on WHIO-TV, Channel 7. Wayne was known nationally, but
not for perhaps what you might think. You see, his style of delivery was very similar
to that of Walter Cronkite. It's been told that people would tell Cronkite, "you
know, you sound just like that guy in Dayton!" In 1966, Wayne reported from Vietnam,
and covered the American's held hostage in the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979-1980.
When he retired, Dan Rather was present at the retirement gathering. Don Wayne, and
Newscenter 7 ruled the local TV News market.
Omar started his Dayton broadcasting career in 1951, eventually becoming Sports Director
for WLWD-TV (later WDTN-TV). For many viewers, he was "Mr. Sports" in the Miami Valley,
covering the famed "Big Red Machine" of the 1970's, the Bengal's Super Bowl teams,
and Olympic Gold Medalist Edwin C. Moses.
Known by many as "Brother James", Wright was Dayton's first gospel announcer of color.
He would be heard on WING Radio and seen on WHIO-TV. For 23 years, Brother James
hosted a gospel music and interview-variety show. He also staged benefit programs
and was active in various community events.
Community Service Award
E. George "Babe" Ferguson had a passion for aviation and, as a Montgomery County
Commissioner, worked to preserve Dayton's aviation history and worked to get the
words "Birthplace Of Aviation" added to Ohio's license plates. She was truly a friend
of the media and a tireless community servant.