News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 17, 2013

RONN MOTT: Media merry-go-round

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — One day David Wire was there doing his job as Chief Meteorologist at WTHI-TV, then one day shortly after, he was gone. A phone call to the newsroom regarding his departure produced this response, and I quote, “We honestly don’t know, he didn’t share that information with us.”

David Wire had spent many years at WTHI-TV and worked himself up to Chief Meteorologist. His demeanor on camera was friendly, energetic, affable and a man who obviously enjoyed his work. People who know him will tell you what you see is what you get with David. I have been in the media for more than 60 years and I was really surprised to learn he had left. In my opinion, he was a perfect fit with the other on-air personalities. I do know this … David Wire will be missed.

Mark Edwards, lately of Indiana State University, WTWO-TV, WBOW radio and WJSH radio, has ended his tenure at WAXI as the morning show host. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Mark, but Dave Crooks, owner, told me the parting was friendly. Crooks said, “In trying to be a full-service radio station, WAXI added many news and information programs and, of course, Mark to the morning effort. All of those things cost money and enough was added to make it worthwhile. WAXI will be utilizing their music format to fill the void … True Oldies with Scott Shannon as the principal host.

While we’re writing about radio, Jack Swart, the media manager of Midwest Broadcasting, who disliked what I wrote about corporate radio in America today, has left Midwest to go elsewhere. New market manager for Midwest is Amy Dillon, who comes to Terre Haute from Muncie. Good luck, Amy. And Natalie Randall, who had been WMGI, Mix Radio’s program director, has left to go to Missouri. And the music goes round and round. And so, apparently, do the people.

Rush Limbaugh has again flown the flag of his IQ for all the world to hear when he accused the Pope of being a communist. (WIBQ, 98.5) Gee, Rush, have you run out of targets and now the year the Pope has been chosen as Person of the Year, you have to say something derogatory about him. What fantasy world are you living in, Rush, that you would pick this Jesuit priest and now, Pope Francis, as a target because of his words concerning capitalism and greed? Oh, yes, I forgot … Mr. Limbaugh makes about $55 million a year being the round mound of right-wing, political gas.

I am still doing Focus on the Community, WAXI’s public affairs program, interviews and such, and will celebrate the end of 60 years in the business when our Dec. 29 program airs at 8 a.m. on that Sunday.

There is no way possible I could’ve known this would occur. Especially after the beginning I had. The program director at WPRS where I started was Bud Sunkel and he informed me I was crazy and that radio would get into my blood like opium and I would never get away from it. That morning in the spring of 1953, he yelled at me, “Look at me, I’m 35 years-old and in the middle of this Illinois cornfield playing these crazy songs!” So if you’re smart, you’ll turn around and run away!” Not expecting such an outburst, I was frozen to the open door of the WPRS control room. He finally said, “Come on in, I’ll show you what you need to know.”

It was probably an omen and, if it was, it blew by me unrecognized. So, as I look toward the end of 2013, my experiences as a newspaper writer, radio talent and TV host, have been at least very, very interesting. I suppose this is where I should say adios, but I haven’t yet decided that I should ride off into the sunset. So, I’ll just say Merry Christmas to all and much happiness in whatever endeavor you are dealing with.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.