Wednesday, November 24, 1999

Bob Braun retiring from broadcasting


Health concerns end 50-year career

BY JOHN KIESEWETTER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After 50 years in broadcasting, Bob Braun is retiring for health reasons.

BRAUN PROFILE
img April 20, 1999 report
        Mr. Braun, 70, has been absent from his weekday morning show on WSAI-AM (1530) since late August. His voice has been weakened from medication for Parkinson's disease, which he has battled for several years.

        “My voice had become so weak to the point that it could only last for 15 minutes, and I couldn't do a four-hour show,” explained Mr. Braun, who will thank his loyal fans at 7:20 a.m. today on the Bob Braun Show.

        “I could probably do (the show) now, but why? With all the problems I have, I thought why add the pressure of getting up early?”

        Mr. Braun's contract expires Dec. 31. He has been with the the “original hits” station since the format was launched in 1994.

        On Monday, longtime friend Nick Clooney will take over the morning show with news anchor Don Herman. Mr. Clooney was hired to do afternoons at the station in September, after resigning from the American Movie Classics channel.

        Nephew John “Bucks” Braun, who has been commuting from Xenia to the Cincinnati station, will resume a local show on Dayton's WONE-AM (980) on Monday.

        Bob Braun has spent most of his life entertaining Tristate residents. For 17 years (1967-84) he hosted WLWT's (Channel 5) top-rated live daytime variety-talk show, from the retirement of Ruth Lyons until the show was canceled in 1984.

        He began in broadcasting at 13, hosting a weekly youth baseball show in 1942 on WSAI-AM, the station where he would end his career.

        He started at WCPO-TV in 1949, three months after the station signed on, pantomiming records with Dottie Mack and Colin Male.

        In 1957, he won the $1,000 top prize on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, and was immediately hired by WLWT and WLW-AM. He was one of Cincinnati TV's biggest stars until 1984, when he moved to Hollywood for 10 years to do commercials, talk shows and small parts in four movies.

        Since returning to Cincinnati in 1994, the former weight-lifter and Coney Island lifeguard has been plagued with health problems. Doctors found a malignant tumor near his left collarbone that year, which required 39 radiation treatments. He didn't miss one day on the radio, and didn't reveal the cancer until it was in remission in 1997.

        In September, he announced that “for a number of years” he had been battling a form of Parkinson's disease that caused muscle stiffness. The disease and a combination of medications slowed his walk, slurred his speech and drained his stamina.

        Joe Zerhusen, WSAI-AM program director, says Mr. Braun will remain associated with the station. Health willing, Mr. Braun says he would like to resume personal appearances.

        “On the radio (today), I'm going to thank all the people who have been so loyal to us,” he says. “I've actually had four careers — with Dottie Mack, Ruth Lyons, in California and WSAI. I've had a lot of fun. It was a great trip.”

       



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