Goodbye, Ronn.

I saw on Facebook that a friend of mine was in the hospital.  The Facebook post said that he wasn't doing very well and that prayers were needed.  This was just a couple of days ago.  I went to the hospital to see my friend and former co-worker Ronn Mott.  Ronn was 81 and a month earlier he fell and broke a hip.  When I saw him in the hospital, I didn't recognize him.  He recognized me and I was thankful for that.  We spoke for probably an hour - maybe more, it didn't matter to me.  I just didn't want to tire the guy.  Ronn was primarily a radio announcer - a disc jockey.  Actually, a different kind of disc jockey.  He was well read and loved history.  He was a Civil War re-enactor.  He took great pride in giving talks to groups where he dressed as a Union Soldier and gave a "first person" account of his involvement in the war.  The character that he was portraying was an ancestor of his.

In 1991 I was hired at the station where he hosted the morning show.  Within a month he was fired and I was assigned to take his place.  He was so popular that there were letters to the editor of the local newspaper.  People were very upset.   Ronn and an associate quickly bought an AM radio station in the market and he was back doing what he loved.  Eventually, I was fired from station where I had replaced Ronn.  Within two hours of getting canned, Ronn called me at home and basically hired me - over the phone - to work for him.  You see, Ronn couldn't afford to hire me and he didn't have a position for me.  I didn't even know him that well at the time.  But he hired me and we've been friends ever since.  We hosted the morning show together on that little AM station and we did well.  Well, as well as can be expected for a stand alone 500 watt AM station is a market with four 50,000 FM stations.  That was more than 20 years ago and I never forgot what he did for me.

Normally I'd put a picture of Ronn on this post.  I decided not to.  I've posted stories about him earlier and posted a picture from his youth and it was popular, but instead, I decided to post a rare commercial that he appeared in as an extra.  He told me a story about when he was working in Nashville at an ad agency.  Johnny Cash was doing a commercial for STP Gas Treatment.  This was in 1978.  Ron was cast as an extra.  He told me that the commercial was shot on a very hot summer afternoon and that Johnny Cash's mother was on the set pouring orange juice for the actors and crew.
As you watch the commercial, look at the very end.  Ronn played the part of the mailman.  I'm not sure if he ever saw this on You Tube, but it was a national commercial in 1978.

There are many stories that I could tell about this man.  I could tell you about his patience and lack of patience.  I could talk about his ability to talk on just about any topic where he knew what he was taling about.  If he didn't know anything about the topic, he's say that nobody really cares about it, anyway.

Right up until the end, Ronn was on the radio.  He did a Sunday morning interview show on a local oldies station.  He loved being on the radio.  He called it one of the happy things in life.

Thanks, Ronn.  Enjoy your new gig.

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