Friday, June 1, 2018

R.I.P.: Former Cleveland Radio Personality Bill Needle

Bill Needle
Former Cleveland radio sports personality Bill Needle has died at the age of 70.

Needle died peacefully on Wednesday at his home in Lexington, Kentucky, where he lived for the last 10 years.

The Cleveland Heights native and Ohio Northern University graduate traveled a very interesting road in his career, according to WKYC-TV3.

He was a social studies teacher and baseball coach at Shaw first, then went to Atlanta. From 1981-1991, Bill worked in public relations for the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and as a sports commentator and anchor for WGST radio.

As Needle later explained in an interview with The Cleveland Jewish News, he missed the "neighborhood feel" of Cleveland and decided to move home with his family in 1991.

By chance, Needle happened to be listening to WKNR-AM radio when he came back to the area.  It led him to his next career path. A caller asked the show host a question about then Indians owner Dick Jacobs. To Needle's shock and dismay, the host replied, "You don't have to worry about that. Jacobs will 'Jew' them down."

Needle got off the highway, called WKNR and offered to fill-in if needed. Within days, he would become a fixture at one of the top sports talk stations in the country.

He would also spread his wings as a play-by-play announcer, first on Fox Sports Ohio for Mid American Conference sports, then as the radio voice of the Kent State Golden Flashes.

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