Legendary Kansas City broadcaster Walt Bodine dies - KCTV5

As voice of broadcaster Walt Bodine fades, memories live on

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

It was a voice that Kansas City knew well, but that legendary voice of broadcaster Walt Bodine faded away Sunday.  

Bodine died in his home in the city he loved and served.  He was 92.

"It was just a quiet, gentle moment," Bodine's son, Tom Bodine, said.

Born in Kansas City in 1920, Bodine was the only child of Walton Martin Bodine and Mary Gilmore Bodine.

Bodine's career spanned over seven decades. 

He started in television as a writer, reporter and then eventually management and radio. He was most known for his work on the The Walt Bodine Show with KCUR which started in the 1980s.  He spent 29 years at KCUR, but he wasn't just a radio personality.

Bodine believed in the work of public radio and informed Kansas Citians for more than 72 years from 1940 until his final broadcast April 27, 2012.

"He loved talking to people and listening to what they had to say. So he took on other rolls that allowed him to do that," Tom Bodine said.

He interviewed icons from presidents to civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, but his work wasn't about the famous stories, but the story in everyone.

"People have a higher interest and it's human interest. We want to know about each other, learn from each other," Tom Bodine said.

Russ Simmons, a movie critic who worked with Bodine for years, said Bodine's greatest asset was his empathy.

"He had a connection with people and that's what I've learned from Walt is to be open with people and be empathetic so he could have that impact on people," Simmons said.

Bodine began his radio broadcasting career in 1940 at KDRO in Sedalia, MO.  In 1947, Bodine moved to Kansas City where he would remain for 65 years.

He turned down opportunities to advance to larger markets like Los Angeles and St. Louis because he knew the value of home.

And he knew this city well, he son said, like the best places to eat, visit and most importantly he knew the people.

"He always wanted to know what other people thought partly to hear what they had to say and partly because there was always some nugget of information that if he could just talk to you long enough he could get that," Tom Bodine said.

But perhaps Bodine's weekly sign off will leave the most lasting impact:

"Thank you very, very much for listening. Thank you very much for all you do for KCUR."

Bodine received several awards, including the Kansas City Spirit Award in 1987 and the Outstanding Kansas Citian of the Year in 1990.

A special memorial will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Unity Temple Church on the County Club Plaza.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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