Monday, December 04, 2017

Raiford

It takes time, but when a loved one, or close friend passes, inevitably your sadness and grief lessons and  slowly, but surely turns to pleasant and even humorous memories.

I do my darndest to jump start that process. Life is short. And at my age, getting even shorter.

The first time I heard him on WBT in 1952, I believe, I was "hooked."

His intelllegence and professionalism came barreling through the radio like nothing I had ever heard before from any local DJ.

As a fledgeling announcer/DJ myself, I was mesmerized.

I decided there and then that I had to meet this man.

My excuse was to invite him to speak to my high school "radio club" under the leadership of Mr. Gil Balance, a long time CHS English teacher and radio enthusiast.

Bob Raiford accepted my invitation and made a memorable presentation to our class.  I remember his opening line to this day. He quoted Tenneyson,

"I'm a part of all that I have met."

and went on to advise the class to "learn from those they admire," but never imitate.

I did my darndest to stay in touch and learn about the radio business from this man as possible.

Good fortune has often been my friend, this was no different. My fledgeling career landed me in two radio stations (WSOC and WTOP) at which Bob was working...giving me the opportunity to observe and learn as much as I could from one of the best in the business. 

Having known me in Charlotte...as "Ed Myers,"   and in Washington...as "Lee Shephard'....he called me "Eddielee."

Those were memorable days indeed!

Bob and I stayed in touch after he moved back to Charlotte and became  staple on the popular "John Boy and Billy" show.

He retired from that show about 2 years ago, after a stroke disabled his speaking ability.  A voice, that entertained audiences for more than 60 years!

Rest in Peace, Bob.

"-Eddielee"





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