A Legend Passes

Walt Bodine: 1920-2013

Walt Bodine, a hometown broadcasting legend for more than 60 years, including 30 at KCUR-FM, died early Sunday at age 92.

Bodine was host of the popular “Walt Bodine Show” on KCUR from 1983 to his retirement in April 2012. Born Walton Marshall Bodine in Kansas City on August 27, 1920, he spent almost his entire professional career as a broadcaster in the greater Kansas City region. He settled permanently in his hometown in 1947 to work at WDAF-AM, and eventually worked for WHB and KMBZ as well before joining KCUR in 1983.

KCUR reports that Bodine “died peacefully early this morning at Brighton Gardens of Prairie Village, Kan., after spending Saturday visiting with family, friends and colleagues.”

The report continues, “A memorial service, a celebration of Walt’s amazing life, will likely take place later this week, but has yet to be scheduled. Bodine is survived by his five children: Marty, Tom, Mary, Damien and Rebecca. His wife, Bernadine, passed away in 2003.”

KCUR will present a special tribute to Bodine on a special edition of Central Standard Monday at 10 a.m.; the show will include highlights of Walt’s career and an opportunity for listeners to call in and share their remembrances. An hour-long documentary on his life will air Tuesday at 10 a.m. A KCUR online multimedia retrospective of his career is posted here.

A Kansas City Star report on his death includes this career summary:

“Until 1965, Bodine was staff announcer, news reporter and news director of both WDAF-AM radio and WDAF-TV, Channel 4. While at WDAF, he teamed with Jean Glenn to host the talk-radio show “Conversation.”

“By the early 1960s, he established a familiar presence on “The Walt Bodine Show” weekdays on WDAF. The Star’s Harry Jones Jr. wrote then that the show offered “a varying format involving telephoned chitchat, argument, expostulations, information, philosophy and just about any other feat the human voice is capable of accomplishing over the phone.”

“Bodine also hosted “Nightbeat” from 1965 to 1968 and “Sunday Night Town Hall” from 1968 to 1974 on WHB-AM. In 1978 he moved his public-forum concept of talk radio to KMBZ-AM until joining KCUR in 1983, the same year he began doing commentaries for KMBC-TV, Channel 9.

“Through the years, he also was an editorial writer for KMBZ; news director at KCIT-TV, Channel 50; host of “Bodine’s Beat” on KSHB-TV, Channel 41; and beginning in 1983 a professor in the communication studies department at UMKC. He also found time to write restaurant reviews in the ‘90s.”


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