Tuesday, December 4, 2007

WHAS drops Joe Elliott: from sophisticated to savage

A surprise and disappointment to me-- although I don't follow local radio ratings at all...

Reported by Angie Fenton in Saturday's C-J...

Elliott had been a fixture in late-evening Louisville radio-- with 14 years in the 9-12 PM slot. WHAS will retain him on a part-time basis for now-- on Sunday AM's from 8:30-noon.

In his place? Michael Savage... That's quite a drop-off... From an amazingly balanced talk show host to one who is apparently not-so-balanced. (I haven't heard him, but from what I hear, my description would be taken as somewhere between charitable and naive.)

An excerpt from the article underlines two points: Joe's blindness and his classiness.

Elliott reached a level of success with WHAS that he said some never believed he'd attain. A college professor once told Elliott, who was born blind, that he'd never make it in radio.

"He thought I was a really nice kid and he really respected me for trying, but he thought I really should do something else," Elliott said.

It didn't help, he said, when a local radio show/television personality told him in the late 1970s or early '80s, "I just don't see how you could ever do this professionally."

Elliott said he won't name either of the individuals because he doesn't want to embarrass anyone.

"I'm really pleased with the level of success I was able to achieve," Elliott said. "We had a lot of doubters along the way. I doubted myself. But things worked out well."

I was a guest on his show when my first book came out in 1996. Going into the interview, I had no idea that he was blind. He was able to get the weather and time updates by touching a device. He "read" my book for the interview-- I think, by getting his wife to read parts of it to him. And he got around the studio as well as any seeing person.

Given his abilities and his character, I'm sure that Joe has been an inspirational example for so many people. I wish him all the best-- in radio and in life.


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