Dave Conant Remembers Ralph Collier
I came to Philadelphia in the autumn of 1964 and soon found WFLN. The classical music format reminded me of WQXR, the station I had enjoyed in North Jersey growing up. But at 12:30 pm weekdays they broadcast a really interesting interview program hosted by this sophisticated, well-spoken and often humorous host named Ralph Collier. Seven years later after college, and a brief career as a high school teacher, I found myself with a job at that station where I met that same broadcaster.
I can say I was a bit intimidated. He was a pro. He had traveled the world, had interviewed the famous and occasionally the infamous. And he was always at ease, on top of his game, and knew the right questions to ask. He listened to his guests, never interrupted and always managed intuitive follow up. I was 25. A novice. A newbie.
From the beginning he treated me as an equal; as a professional. He gave me hints on delivery of copy and general broadcast style. You don't learn that on college radio.
When I became program director, he congratulated me and always then took what direction I gave without any sign of annoyance or ego. We became friends.
In 1977 he introduced me to the woman who would become my wife. He became Uncle Ralph to my sons, but never let that interfere with our business relationship.
When WFLN was bought and changed format in 1997, I knew Ralph's knowledge of travel would be a great addition to WRTI's format. He offered TOURS AND DETOURS weekdays at 9:58 am until September of 2011. We remained friends.
Ralph Collier passed away Monday at Pennsylvania Hospital of heart failure. He leaves a hole in my heart, but a heart full of wonderful memories of a good, gracious, and generous man. A broadcaster extraordinaire for more than 70 years. Ralph was 91. He's already missed.