Christmas time is usually a very festive time for me. Though my parents and grandparents have passed, I still enjoy the meals with extended family members and all that goes with the season.
This past season, however, didn’t make the grade as one of my favorites. One of the men very much responsible for my career in radio, Floyd Wynne, died at the age of 90, just a few days before Christmas.
Those of you that were in attendance at the New Music Awards in late November in Hollywood heard me speak of Floyd, who began his broadcasting career 70 years prior, in 1938, at KLPM in Minot, North Dakota. Up until just a couple of months before his passing, he was still contributing on-air with twice weekly commentaries on our AM news/talk outlet.
He was a broadcaster I would label with a “golden” voice, the type of voice you might hear on a 1950’s newsreel. But his talents took him outside of the world of radio. He was the publisher of two newspapers, both daily papers, here in our hometown in the 1960’s, and in Petaluma, California from 1965-1970. He authored several books. He was a county commissioner on two different occasions, served on the city council, and held high ranking positions in several local service clubs during his love affair with this area.
He was a sportscaster first and foremost when he began in radio, and gave me my start in play by play at the age of 17. His son, Bob, is four years older than me and although I moved around quite a bit after graduation from high school, I had the experience of someone that had just gone to college and on-air knowledge far beyond my years, thanks to Floyd. I returned here in 1989 as PD and morning host…..we had just two stations then. So we have been busy.
Wynne Broadcasting started as a stand alone 1000 watt daytime, 250 watts at night, AM radio station in 1970. Today, we operate four FM’s and an AM station. Though Floyd had moved into the political arena well before the growth spurt of the company, he was instrumental in being a “silent” but very prominent partner in making our 5 station cluster what it is today.
The office he leaves here in the building is neatly organized with an old Gates turntable (an old on-air turntable we had, complete with felt) with capability of playing 78rpm records. His collection of those big bands, orchestras, and standard vocalists has got to be one of the best in the country and most complete. He took great pride in making sure the library stayed in immaculate shape. I will miss hearing the big band music filtering into the lobby area on the days that Floyd would just stop by the station to feel like he was still “part of the family.” And, he certainly was.
A quote from a local city official in our paper said, “Everyone liked him. I can’t name anybody that didn’t have a kind word to say about him.” That’s the type of guy Floyd Wynne was. You may disagree with him on issues, but he would tell you what he thought and why he thought that way, and would not let political viewpoints get in the way of being respectful and polite to everybody he dealt with.
Floyd is terribly missed, but his spirit lives on through many of us here. We all try to live his mantra and believe in it every day.
“All days are good…..some are just better than others.”
Rest in peace, Floyd.