Lou Emm (1923-1997)
-- Dayton area radio personality
By Bob Batz
Lou Emm was one of the Miami Valley's most popular radio personalities.
BILL SHEPHERD DAYTON DAILY NEWS
DAYTON DAILY NEWS
Lou Emm, whose relaxed style and fondness for people made him one of the Miami Valley's most popular radio personalities for more than 50 years, died April 27, 1997. He was 74.
Except for two years during World War II, Mr. Emm was at WHIO from 1941 until he stepped down in August 1992. Recently, he was heard on WONE-AM (980).
Mr. Emm, a member of the WHIO-WHKO Radio Hall of Fame, began his radio career at age 16 as an announcer at WSPD-AM in his hometown of Toledo. He later worked at WLOK-AM in Lima, earning $17 a week. His boss in Lima was Hugh Downs, now co-anchor of ABC's 20/20.
Mr. Emm joined the staff at WHIO on Oct. 22, 1941, as an announcer and news reader. After hosting such shows as Hello For Dough and Breakfast In Bedlam, he originated Conversation Piece , a talk show that lasted 17 years and was later taken over by Phil Donahue, who went on to gain fame as a TV talk-show host.
Emm in 1948
In the 1960s and 1970s, when many Dayton-area organizations called on radio, TV and newspaper personalities to put some pizazz in their celebrity golf tournaments and other fund-raisers, the venerable Mr. Emm was often there with his trademark cigar.
In October 1991, when he marked his 50th year at WHIO, he said, "I've always enjoyed being with the people because they are the ones who have allowed me to have a career in radio all these years."
When he retired, Mr. Emm observed, "I think the secret to surviving in this business is to be yourself. I never was very good at doing impressions, so I've been contented to be me, and I guess it has gone over well with my listeners."
Jim Manley, who shared a WHIO morning show microphone with Mr. Emm from 1990 to 1992, said, "Lou was a kind, gentle, great man."
Larry Hansgen, WHIO's sports director, knew Mr. Emm for 16 years.
"When I came to the station I worked with Lou in the morning and I wanted to be just like him," Hansgen recalled. "He was so dedicated to his job, and so involved with his listeners. Lou was at his best when he was making public appearances. He could charm a whole roomful of people."
Toula Stamm produced Mr. Emm's morning show from 1970 to 1977. She also produced Conversation Piece.
"Lou loved broadcasting, his cigars and golf," Stamm said, noting that Mr. Emm was one of several former WHIO employees who get together for lunch at Dominic's Restaurant on the last Tuesday of each month.
"Tuesday is our day to meet, and I'm sure we'll be sharing our favorite stories about Lou," she said.
Right: Lou Emm joined the staff at WHIO on Oct. 22, 1941, as an
announcer and news reader. His `Man on the Street' series began
airing on TV in October 1951. It ran 15 minutes, 5 days a week.
Below: Except for two years when he served in World War II, Mr. Emm was at WHIO from 1941 until he stepped down in August 1992.
DNI Library file photo
DNI Library file photo
Published: Monday, April 28, 1997