Promotion guru and former radio producer Rich Walburg dies of leukemia


You may not know the name Rich Walburg, but you have undoubtedly been touched by his genius in promoting Oktoberfest, Taste of Cincinnati or BLINK… Or heard his clever entertainment reports “Showbiz Stuff” in Jim Scott’s radio show… Fun Facts “during Reds games… Or the guests and topics he hosted for WLW-AM’s award-winning talk shows.

Or maybe you’re still trying to find Daniel’s Dove Range in Delhi Township, the fake gun club Walburg set up for a WLW-AM promotion.

Walburg, the former WKRQ-FM and WLW-AM student who handled marketing and media relations for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the Ohio Valley chapter of the National MS Society and Game Day Communications, has died of ‘leukemia at night. He was 55 years old.

“Rich was on the radio for over three decades. You can’t tell the story of Cincinnati radio without telling the story of Rich Walburg,” said WLW-AM sports talk show host Mo Egger. , his close friend. “He did it all.

Rich Walburg (left) with retired WLW-AM morning host Jim Scott and sports chat host Mo Egger.

“Rich was the funniest person I know. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t friends with him. He was a great guy,” said Scott, longtime WLW-AM host.

The Northwest High School and University of Cincinnati graduate began working at WKRQ-FM in 1988, after graduating from UC. He produced the Q102 Morning Show and was Deputy News Director until 1993 when he joined WLW-AM to produce Scott’s Morning Show. Soon he started doing a cheeky entertainment daily report at 5:45 am and 7:45 am titled “Showbiz Stuff”.

His first glimpse into the entertainment industry came in 1983, when he started working on Kings Island before his final year in high school. He was a seasonal employee there until 1991 and was inducted into the Kings Island Hall of Fame in 2009.

For many of his 18 years at WLW-AM, Walburg served as Assistant Program Director under Darryl Parks and Executive Producer of All Talk Shows. During his tenure, Jim Scott and Bill Cunningham won the prestigious Marconi Awards for Best Broadcasting Personality from the National Association of Broadcasters.

Rich Walburg with Fiona IMG_6569.jpg

Courtesy communications on match day


Rich Walburg at the Cincinnati Zoo with Fiona.

“He was brilliant, engaged and connected to Cincinnati. All of us at 700 WLW remember him fondly and hold him in high regard – especially me,” Cunningham told me.

Walburg “was responsible for all the subjects of the show through the station and the programming. Basically, if a guest wanted on The Big One, you would go through Rich,” says Parks, who called Walburg his “partner and a part of the inner circle that ran the station at that time. “

Parks raised the curtain on how radio talk shows work to explain Walburg’s influence:

“Not many people know this, but because improvised and unplanned topics and content sounded in those days, shows were often scheduled two and sometimes three days before the airing. We wanted it to sound spontaneous. Although he handled the broadcast. Most of the station’s content, he worked directly with Jim (Scott), Mike (McConnell) and Willie (Cunningham) on topics and guests.

“We were amused by the way people thought things were going to turn out. For example, Willie showed up at 11 or 11:30 each morning to be on the air at noon. Many thought he was preparing his show in The truth is, it had been planned, then he and Rich were talking the day before, very early in the morning (like Rich would be around 6 a.m.), then meeting again before going on the air. Produced as soon as it came off the air His Tuesday show was produced Monday morning.

When listeners “heard something great about WLW, Rich’s fingerprints were on it,” Egger says of his mentor. “He was the most creative person I have ever met. Any host will say he improved their talk shows and made them better. He taught me everything I know about radio . “

Rich Walburg wearing a Little Kings crown IMG_6570.jpg

Courtesy communications on match day


Rich Walburg wearing a Little Kings crown while promoting an event in Cincinnati for Game Day Communications.

Other than “Showbiz Stuff” and its “World Wide Walburg” reporting during the early years of the Internet, Walburg generally didn’t get credit for content that listeners liked. After Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall put an Elvis bus in the Reds radio booth in 1996, Walburg and Reds radio producer Dave “Yiddy” Armbruster wrote an “Elvis Fun Fact” for Brennaman to read during every game of the season. 1997.

In response to a report on Cincinnati’s overpopulation of doves, Walburg created an article about a Saturday morning dove shoot on the fictional Daniel’s Dove Range in Delhi Township at the intersection of two roads that do not intersect. not.

“People were driving everywhere and couldn’t find the location. It was all theater of the mind,” says Armbruster, director of sports operations for WLW-AM and Cincinnati’s other iHeartMedia radio station. “Rich was just a good guy. Everyone in the (media) industry knew him. He had such a good life. It’s a shame that happened to him.”

Walburg was known in every newsroom across town for hosting media coverage of Taste of Cincinnati, Oktoberfest and other chamber events, and since 2019 for promotions orchestrated by Game Day Communications.

“He always had a smile and a lot of joy when he came to WGRR, even very early in the morning, with Frisch’s pumpkin pies for Halloween, beer and pretzels for Oktoberfest or Taste of Cincinnati,” explains Chris O’Brien, co-host of the WGRR-FM Morning Show with his wife Janeen Coyle.

“Rich was a professional in every way, but with a quick sense of humor. I can’t imagine not joking with him more,” said O’Brien.

WXIX-TV reporter Lauren Artino said in a Facebook comment that “Rich was one of the best. He was always so kind, helpful, willing to do whatever it takes to make our stories perfect. “

Walburg emailed newsrooms a daily “Game Day Early AM Stories” newsletter with daily media availability until the end of September, when he was diagnosed with leukemia. He was amazed at all of the recovery wishes he received after his admission to Christ Hospital.

“It’s been scary, but I’ll take care of business,” he emailed me from Christ Hospital on September 30th. “I am truly overwhelmed by all the cuteness.”

Rich Walburg, Marty Brennaman MS Society.jpg

Left to Right: Mo Egger, Dennis Janson, Marty Brennaman, Dan Hoard and Rich Walburg gathered for a photo when Brennaman was honored by the MS Society while Walburg was communications director for the local MS Society .

He returned to work after Thanksgiving. When I sent him a note after receiving his “Game Day Early AM Stories” newsletter, he said, “God willing, I’m back on a very limited basis. Still a lot of treatments to come.” The last Walburg tip sheet in my inbox was dated December 7th. The Game Day Communications announcement indicated that Walburg is survived by his wife, Cindy.

Social media on Tuesday was filled with comments on Walburg from friends across the country.

Tim “The Big Dog” Lewis, a former sports conference host in Cincinnati living in Utah, said that “Rich was without a doubt one of the best people God put on this Earth! He personified his name… because he was RICH in character, professionalism and love, for his profession, he will certainly leave a void.

News anchor Jessica Brown, who left WXIX-TV for Boston last summer, called Walburg “such an amazing and best person to work with.”

Former WLW-AM colleague Paul Mason, now COO of Cumulus Media in Nashville, said Walburg was “one of the classiest and best people in our industry. I’ve never heard nobody say bad things about him “.

Retired WCPO-TV reporter Tom McKee said: “What a loss of a great communicator and a great person! I always liked talking with him about unique angles for stories.

UC and Bengals radio host Dan Hoard called Walburg, a big Bearcats basketball fan, “as quick-witted as anyone I have ever met and ‘such a great person.

Days before the UC’s New Years Eve football playoff game, Walburg was texting WXIX-TV meteorologist Frank Marzullo, who was reporting from Dallas ahead of the big game. Walburg wanted to make sure Marzullo knew that the UC logo projected on a Dallas hotel was called the C-leg.

“This one really touched us all very hard in the newsroom. Not only would he do anything to make our TV segments the best possible to show Cincinnati, but he was always ready to text or e- mail to share a fun nugget I could use it even on segments that had nothing to do with it, ”Marzullo tells me.

Marzullo says he’s sure “Rich is planning media coverage for The Taste Of Heaven or Oktoberfest At The Gates this afternoon.”

Funeral arrangements and a celebration of life will be shared as finalized, according to Game Day Communications.

A Richard Walburg Media Fellowship was established at the University of Cincinnati on Tuesday. Friends can donate online here. Donors should type “Richard Walburg” in the line requesting a specific department or program.

Or check contributions can be mailed for the Richard Walburg Fellowship to CCM, ATTN: Development & Alumni Relations, PO Box 210003, Cincinnati, OH 45221.


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