Sunday, July 09, 2017

Lessons from Houston Radio Legends

NPR’s Garrison Keillor used to open his weekly “Prairie Home Companion” monologue by reporting, “it’s been a quiet week at Lake Wobegon.” For Houston Radio fans and professionals, it’s been several weeks of woe as we’ve had to say goodbye to familiar and beloved voices.

Paul Berlin (Photo: HouChron)
Paul Berlin was the voice many Houstonian’s listened to for decades on KBME, KNUZ and KQUE. His popular mix of Big Band and pop music standards from the 50’s thru the 70’s stood the test of time, while other Radio stations' formats seemed to change on a predictably regular basis. Rebroadcasts of The Paul Berlin Show on KSEV outlasted their originator, and are still aired each Saturday night. 

Paul Berlin was 86 when he passed away in June. He was married to his wife, “Nezzie,” for 53-years until her death. Berlin’s Radio career spanned six decades.

Randy Schell (Photo: FaceBook)
Earlier this weekend we were stunned to learn long time Houston voice actor and Radio production wizard, Randy Schell, had been killed in a skydiving accident. He collided with another jumper after his parachute had deployed, but his canopy collapsed and he plunged to his death near Pearland, Texas. 

Most people knew Randy as the voice behind AMC’s “The Walking Dead” series, and was also the voice of national brands like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Geico Insurance. I knew him as the loving husband of longtime Radio maven, Donna McCoy.  

Mstt Patrick (Photo:Facebook)
Not 30-hours later came news of the passing of KTRH Morning Show host Matt Patrick, who had earlier this week told his audience that he was discontinuing treatment for cancer. Described as a “morning Radio staple” for decades in the Akron, OH market, Patrick had hosted news-talk shows in Houston for iHeart Radio since 2011, capping a 40-year run in Radio.
He was 58.

There are lessons we can draw from the lives of these men who left their indelible marks on this market and our hearts. Each of them had discovered he secret of dying happy—doing what they loved, and deriving great satisfaction from performing a job well done. Each of them developed lasting, personal relationships—not only with their spouses, but with their audiences. They loved Houston Radio listeners, even as they were loved. And each of us, like each of them, will one day also make a final passage from this life to the next.

So it has been a sad several weeks for the Houston chapter of Lake Woebegon, “where all the women are good-looking, all the men are strong, the children-are all above-average…” and the Radio industry is morning three of its favorite sons.

A public memorial service for Paul Berlin is planned for  10:30am July 25 at South Main Baptist Church, 4100 Main St., in Houston, Texas. Funeral arrangements for Randy Schell and Matt Patrick had not been announced at this writing.

May God bless each of these families as they mourn the passing of their loved ones and celebrate their lives well-lived.