PORTSMOUTH — Merely put, and to be frank, if you happen to hailed from Scioto County and didn’t hear Roger Grey’s voice a minimum of as soon as, you had been both dwelling with no radio OR — even fairly probably AND — below a rock.
That’s as a result of Grey, for nearly 4 complete a long time, spent his life behind the microphone for WNXT Radio — whether or not it was broadcasting sporting occasions, reporting the information, or co-hosting the station’s morning Get Up and Go Present with Steve Hayes.
Certainly, Grey was immersed in WNXT —from early mornings to all afternoons to lengthy nights.
He’s undoubtedly most acknowledged for his sports activities broadcasting work with the station(s) —which now embody WNXT Combine 99.three, Basic Rock 107.5 FM The Breeze, and 1260 AM and 95.7 FM FOX Sports activities Portsmouth.
However now, citing his obituary, after “broadcasting extra stay sporting occasions than anybody within the historical past of Portsmouth radio” and having “spent extra consecutive years at one station than anybody else”, Grey’s penchant for sports activities story-telling will stay on via the voices and phrases of others.
Grey handed away on Tuesday at SOMC Hospice, as amongst his survivors are his spouse of 55 years Linda Hinze Grey and his daughter Vonda Rogers.
He was 76 years of age.
When phrase of Grey’s passing reached the social media shops on Tuesday, a tidal wave of tributes poured in from fellow colleagues — together with former co-workers, student-athletes, coaches and lifelong listeners.
He obtained the Ohio Excessive Faculty Athletic Affiliation’s Southeast District Media Service Award in 2006, and was six occasions chosen by The Portsmouth Day by day Occasions because the Ohio River Valley’s “number-one radio character”.
“Roger was an amazing man. After I consider him, I consider his smile. It was a heat sort of gesture that made you’re feeling welcome in a room, when you’ll have felt intimidated in any other case,” mentioned Shawnee State College Sports activities Data Director and former Portsmouth Day by day Occasions sports activities reporter Kevin Colley. “With my dad and mom graduating from Scioto County excessive faculties and me graduating from Shawnee State, I appreciated Roger as a result of he cared in regards to the traditions of every establishment within the county and it could come out in his broadcasting. Roger has impressed generations of younger women and men at WNXT and in flip they’ve impressed others. His legacy is not going to be forgotten and the torch might be carried on due to the items he offered us.”
“Roger was a very good man, and was such an sincere, loyal and dependable particular person,” mentioned WNXT broadcaster and Sports activities Director Chuck Greenslate. “Highschool sports activities on the radio in Scioto County wouldn’t be what they’re as we speak with out him. He was good at calling video games, however his behind-the-scenes work with sponsors and advertisers and to ship what he bought and get video games on the radio and maintain video games on the radio as we all know them as we speak, that’s the factor most individuals gained’t ever take into consideration however actually was considered one of Roger’s greatest traits.”
Grey graduated from Portsmouth West Excessive Faculty in 1962 and attended Ohio College Portsmouth — however earlier than the broadcasting and enterprise points of his radio profession, he first dabbled in shoe gross sales.
He labored at Martings for Taggart Sneakers and Wohl Shoe till 1983, as his precise radio profession at WNXT began in 1979 with part-time broadcasting of sports activities and particular occasions.
He turned full-time in 1984, was employed as Sports activities Director two years later, and spent 38 whole years at WNXT earlier than retiring three years in the past.
For Greenslate, a lot of Grey’s greatest work was really on the enterprise aspect.
“As an worker of a enterprise, you might have a duty to attempt to the most effective of your means to make that firm a revenue. He understood dollars and cents higher than anybody. He was capable of justify to administration within the 1980s and into the 1990s that broadcasting each soccer and boys basketball in a smaller space like ours was worthwhile,” mentioned Greenslate. “Lots of time and numerous work went into what he did away from the mic to show to folks it was well worth the earnings. He was capable of domesticate numerous relationships with sponsors and advertisers and get them on the radio via video games.”
Grey employed Greenslate in 1998 on a part-time foundation, as he was employed full-time in 2010.
“He laid the groundwork. I do know I eternally owe him a deep debt of gratitude as a result of he was the one who employed me. I maintain going again to the truth that he was sincere, loyal and dependable,” mentioned Greenslate. “He dealt with the payroll and also you by no means needed to fear or ever really feel you needed to query one thing. Whether or not it was the sound engineers or the play-by-play guys or the colour analysts or whether or not you labored 15 minutes or 5 hours. He made positive you bought the correct quantity that was coming to you.”
However enterprise, principally, was the general public after-thought.
Listeners related Grey firstly for his recreation protection, and he positively didn’t disappoint.
Extremely-respected by colleagues, he was an teacher to many, a serving to hand to others, and an establishment in all of Scioto County — and most of southeast Ohio.
“Roger was all the time nice to work with. Whether or not I used to be with one other radio station or throughout my time as SID (Sports activities Data Director) at (College of) Rio Grande and eventually after I got here to work at WNXT,” mentioned WNXT broadcaster Mark Williams. “I believe my colleague Chuck Greenslate mentioned it greatest when he mentioned ‘it took two of us to switch him.’ Roger might be missed, however by no means forgotten.”
“Roger was a mentor to me, on and off the mic. He made me need to get into radio,” mentioned WNXT broadcaster Christian Downey. “I rode with him to many ballgames. He advised me to place the children and the sport first and your self final. He was a category act. I realized a lot from him. He taught me learn how to be knowledgeable and name video games.”
Skilled, and useful, had been two phrases generally used to explain Grey.
“Within the virtually 40 years that I knew Roger, I discovered him to be knowledgeable that didn’t neglect what it additionally meant to be an amazing man with the folks that labored with him and round him. He was all the time very useful to different broadcasters needing data in addition to technical assist,” mentioned Mike Smith, Information and Sports activities Director and longtime play-by-play voice for WKKJ Radio in Chillicothe. “I recall doing a regional baseball match in 1982 at Department Rickey Park (in Portsmouth), the place Roger made it doable for us to marti our sign to the WNXT radio, who relayed it again to Chillicothe. Simply one of many many, many occasions he lent us a hand.”
Not solely lending a hand, but additionally an ear — through sharing the mic.
“He was revered by his colleagues. He was decided to deal with a activity, even when you may inform there have been some indicators he was struggling bodily and/or mentally. He was open and prepared to speak each time I used to be round. I want that I attempted to make myself extra accessible as a visitor or another sort of contributor,” mentioned former Portsmouth Day by day Occasions sports activities reporter Cody Leist. “Even after I left the PDT (for Maysville Ledger-Unbiased), he grabbed me to do a halftime interview through the Valley-Fleming County (Ky) soccer recreation in 2014, which he didn’t must do as any favor to me. He in all probability needed to do it as a result of he wanted to fill time, and I used to be grateful that he requested. I’m grateful he allowed me to do a visitor colour spot throughout Wheelersburg’s 2013 state title run in baseball. My main in faculty was Radio/Tv/Movie as my minor was in Journalism. I cherished each second I may get behind the mic (and nonetheless do), so strolling throughout the car parking zone at Huntington Park previous to the Ursuline recreation, he requested if I may step in to assist out. (Former PDT editor) Bob (Strickley) gave me the inexperienced mild, and I jumped on the probability. I nonetheless have the copy of the sport broadcast. He was constant to credit score me and PDT each time I used to be sitting subsequent to him, feeding scores each time they grew to become accessible.”
Wheelersburg’s back-to-back baseball state championships in 2012 and 2013, together with Wheelersburg’s first soccer state title in 1989 and South Webster’s boys basketball state crown in 2006, had been simply 4 of essentially the most noteworthy moments of Grey’s game-calling profession.
However his largest thrill, he mentioned, was because the radio voice for the Shawnee State ladies’s basketball program — and calling the membership’s 1999 Nationwide Championship.
“To see a number of the ‘99 Nationwide Championship workforce members, akin to Brandi Baker-Damron and Brandy Lightle, touch upon his greatness and discuss how a lot he was part of the workforce, mentioned all of it to me,” mentioned Colley. “The very best workforce at school historical past with a Corridor of Fame teaching employees, and so they’re saying these sorts of phrases about Roger? That was his greatness shining via. I’d say it was a chunk of inspiration that helped make them the ‘99 title.”
Grey additionally held one other sports activities title: coach.
He guided the Notre Dame softball program for six seasons, the volleyball program for 3 and the women basketball program for 2 — main the Woman Titans twice to the softball regional match.
He additionally coached softball at Portsmouth Excessive Faculty for 2 years.
Nonetheless, it’s his life and work with WNXT — and that acquainted Friday night time sports activities voice — that each one of these with a radio will all the time recall.
Funeral preparations are below the route of, and can happen at, the Roger W. Davis Funeral Dwelling in West Portsmouth — as interment is about to happen in Scioto Burial Park.
Pals could name on Thursday from 5 p.m. till eight p.m., and one hour previous to Friday’s 11 a.m. service.
Condolences could also be despatched to www.rogerwdavisfuneralhome.com.
On this 2017 , the athletic boosters of each Minford Excessive Faculty and South Webster Excessive Faculty acknowledged longtime WNXT broadcaster Roger Grey. Pictured with Grey are Minford Excessive Faculty Athletic Director Kristin Ruby (left) and South Webster Excessive Faculty Athletic Director Gabe Havens (proper). Grey handed away on Tuesday on the age of 76 and following a 38-year profession with the radio station(s).
Attain Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by electronic mail at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Day by day Occasions, all rights reserved