The dean of
City broadcasters, known to everyone as “Walt,” was
According to the Kansas City Star. Bodine’s electronic media career in
Kansas City lasted more than
50 years, spanning the golden age of radio, the birth of commercial television
and the advent of the Internet.
“Like everybody’s uncle on the radio,” as Patricia Deal Cahill, KCUR’s general manager until last year, said when Bodine signed off for the last time. “Comfortable, familiar.”
For almost 30 years he hosted “The Walt Bodine Show,” a popular call-in talk program broadcast on public station KCUR-FM at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
On either radio or television, Bodine was a plain-speaking interviewer and commentator whose common-sense approach epitomized fly-over country fairness and good will. With his famous catch phrase, “What do you say to that?” he polled public opinion without ever seeming to court it.
The year 1941 saw his
City career launch as an announcer and newscaster at
KCKN-AM. After serving three years in the U.S. Maritime Service and U.S. Naval
Reserve during World War II, he returned to KCKN but soon left for WDAF-AM.
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 “
” 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. Sunday Night
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.