Monday, October 22, 2012

R.I.P.: Robb Mahr Formerly of WWJ

When he was covering news for WWJ Radio in the 1970s and ‘80s, there was a button in the control panel marked “VOG.”

That was the button they pushed to contact Robb Mahr, “The Voice of God.” Mr. Mahr died at his home in Keego Harbor on Oct. 16 after a year-long bout with cancer, according to a story by Dave Smith at He would have turned 76 on Nov. 4.

While the laid-back journalist made no claim to sounding like God, his booming, deep bass voice — even in normal conversation — was a natural for radio, his first love, and for television.

Born in Colorado Springs, Colo., Mahr attended the University of Denver and the University of Nebraska. He was an on-air reporter early in his career on radio stations in Monterey and San Jose, Calif. and continued in broadcasting until his death.

Mahr wound up in Detroit by coincidence. In 1971, while serving as news director of KSTP, a news and talk station in Minneapolis, he returned after a short vacation to discover that his office was cleared of his belongings and occupied by a young man he’d never met.

“What are you doing here? This is my office,” Mahr is reported to have said.

The office’s new occupant replied, “Not anymore.” Mahr never learned why he was fired, but he was hired in 1973 by WWJ, where he spent the next 20 years.

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