Two people passed away during the holidays who had direct ties to my alma mater, Ohio University.
One was a local sports broadcasting legend...and the other impacted people, famous or not, who made their careers in broadcasting.
Dave Diles was a long-time sportscaster in Michigan, who also appeared regularly on the ABC network...particularly in the 1970's...as the host of its post-college football game scoreboard program. In those days, "scoreboard" was an accurate title, because there were few, if any, highlights on the program. And somehow, whether Diles had anything to do with it or not, the score of the Ohio University football game usually was featured.
In spite of making his professional name in Michigan, Diles never forgot his Southeastern Ohio roots. He had a home in Athens.
Someone who had an even greater impact, is someone few outside of broadcasting know.
Archie Greer was not only an alumnus of the university, but practically a lifelong professor. And he influenced some of the biggest names in broadcasting. One was former Republican political operative Roger Ailes, now CEO of Fox News Channel. When the university's Scripps journalism school named a newsroom for Ailes two years ago, Ailes didn't forget his former professor.
"Archie was probably the first person to have confidence in me and say, 'You can do things,'" Ailes said, "and gave me an opportunity to help out at the radio station. And for that, Archie, thank you very much."
Greer also was involved with the university's two radio stations, managing WOUB in the 1950's and '60's, and helping to organize the student-run and staffed All-Campus Radio Network (ACRN) in 1971. ACRN started as a carrier-current AM station, then went to FM cable, before going on-line. I worked for both stations during my years at OU in the 1970's.
How involved was he with the telecommunications school? He never really stopped working. He retired once, in 1984. I attended his retirement dinner. A decade later, I heard he had yet another "retirement" party.
When the station moved to the newly-built Baker Center in 2007, according to a school news release, Greer talked about his impact on the university, its communications school and its students:
“I think everybody, no matter who they are … probably would like to be somehow remembered when it’s all over. This is your way of showing me that you remember and that I will not be forgotten. That’s a distinct privilege.”
Archie never had to worry about being remembered.