The late Guy Randall. (Photo Osterhout Free Library)
JUST A “GUY” PASSING THROUGH
The headline on this 590 Mighty Memory is not intended to diminish people in radio passing through. As a matter of fact, it is a badge of honor to go from one radio station to another. That means you are more than a “one hit wonder” and someone who has real talent. One of the people who passed through the Mighty 590 was a legendary broadcaster from the area. Guy Randall ended his broadcast career at WARM. Randall worked at WARM from 1981 to about early 1984. Randall did a Sunday afternoon music show in addition to doing news reports when WARM was indeed the news leader in the area.
My first memories of Randall are vivid. When I was 9, I had a triple threat combination of the mumps, the measles and the chicken pox. I mean I had them all at once. And our family doctor quarantined me to my room. For company, I had my sister’s transistor radio and other than visits from my vaccinated family, that was it. One afternoon I heard a voice that really knocked me out but that voice was playing music my parents listened to. Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Louie Armstrong, Judy Garland, Nancy Wilson, they were all people on the Ed Sullivan Show that I as a young rock and roll fan, ignored. But the announcer made the music interesting. And his name was Guy Randall. His show was on from 2pm to 6pm on WILK and his style was easy and deliberate. I wound up listening because his show led into Phillies baseball.
Later on when I was in college, I did a part time stint as an intern at WBRE AM and FM. At that time, the dual station, owned by the Baltimore family was All News. It was part of NBC Radio’s national all news radio commitment. There was a network feed for 40 minutes but the other 20 had to be made up by the local affiliates. Guy’s role was to be the afternoon anchor, prior to that, at 10 am he’d go out and cover stories. On my first day I got to ride with him to a fire. As a newsman, Guy got the sound, the facts, the story and then filed it right away. During the ’76 primary campaign Randall coordinated the radio coverage for WBRE. The Pennsylvania primary was very competitive. Jimmy Carter visited, Morris Udall, so many surrogates. Guy made sure we had sound on all of them.
Guy would always come into work carrying a few pens (you could count on him for a spare one if you needed it) and a brown bag. That brown bag sat on his desk until after the 2pm news and then he’d dig in. There was always a sandwich on rye and an orange. When it was a tough day, he’d saunter on down the hall and buy a PayDay. But then he told me he switched to M and M’s because the nuts would get in his teeth and hinder his delivery. When I asked him why he got into broadcasting, he simply said, “I tried it, they liked me, my voice and Roy Morgan (owner of WILK) gave me a break." His olive skin and graying slicked back hair was conducive for TV but Guy never made that leap.
When WBRE and NBC ended their all news association, Guy wound up at WARM. He covered a few stories for WARM and was put into service for an entire weekend in September of 1982 when George Banks went on his rampage. Guy is best remembered at WARM not for the way he arrived but for how he left. He, along with many fine broadcasters were fired on a day referred to by WARM historians as “Axe Wednesday”.
After WARM, he was employed by the sports department of King's College and Pocono Downs Racetrack. He also served as Chairman of Council in Larksville Borough, his hometown for many years. He was a member of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church.
When Guy passed away, there were a few mentions of his radio career in his obituary. But for many of us who knew and worked with him, it was easy to fill in the lines with anecdotes and remembrances of a man who was always ready to help a fellow news traveler.
WARM Radio only had Guy Randall’s multi talented services for just a few years. But in that short time, he proved to be more than just another “guy” passing through. He died in October of 2001 but when WARM fans get together, they recall the dulcet tones of Guy Randall, a great voice, good newsman and good guy.