Sunday, October 26, 2008

A mentor to many -- Grant Price

One day in 1969, I hopped aboard a Cessna Queen-Air plane in Shenandoah, Iowa for a day-trip to Cedar Rapids.

Also aboard the craft was my boss, Norm Williams, the General Manager of KMA, which was owned by the May Broadcasting Company. In those days, May Broadcasting was comprised of KGUN-TV in Tucson, KMTV in Omaha, plus substantial ownership of KFAB in Omaha. I believe they also had a station in Wisconsin.

I’m not sure what Norm’s agenda was for that trip, but I know I was looking forward to visiting with Grant Price and the folks in the newsroom at WMT radio and television. We would also drive to Oelwein to visit the news operation overseen by Dick Petrik. I had recently joined KMA as News Director and was anxious to learn what I could from those veteran broadcasters.

Both KOEL in Oelwein, under Dick Petrik, and WMT in Cedar Rapids, led by Grant Price, had first-class news operations.
So I was saddened to learn about the passing of Grant Price last week (10/17) in Waterloo, Iowa. He was 85 years old and had been one of the best-known broadcasters in the state before stepping away from the microphone in 1989 to go to work for Wartburg College.

Occasionally in recent years, I’ve chatted with veteran sports broadcaster Bryan Lessly, who once worked in the WMT shop, about our Iowa experiences – and Grant Price almost always comes up in the conversation. I can think of few Iowa news broadcasters, save Jack Shelley, who’ve left any larger legacy than Grant Price. Okay, “Dutch” Reagan would be an exception. In any event, WMT became a news powerhouse under the auspices of Grant Price.

 

I remember the warm hospitality and generosity extended to me by Grant and his staff nearly 40 years ago – and it’s easy to understand why this talented and exceptional person was so highly regarded by so many as a good boss, a learned mentor, and a good friend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure to work with both Dick Petrik and Grant Price as a young engineer with both companies. I remember Dick as a man focused on his work, but good to work with non the less. Grant was a true gentleman and always a pleasure to work with.

Dave Jennings
Los Angeles