Updated Fri, Jan 4, 2013 10:14 am
As faithful listeners to WOUB radio over the years, you have become used to hearing a calm and deliberate voice saying: "This is Fred Kight, WOUB News."
When you heard that voice, you were reassured that you were getting accurate and dependable information from a professional newsman who understood your situation, your issues, and this region.
For almost 32 years, Fred's voice boomed out over our listening area of 55 counties and three states bringing you complete and detailed information about what was happening in our area that would affect your life.
As of December 31, Fred has officially retired. He and his talents will be missed by all of us. Not only did Fred report and deliver the news but he was an integral part of training generations of students at Ohio University and literally thousands of fledgling young reporters.
Many of our alumni have already sent us messages saying that the WOUB newsroom will not be the same without Fred's presence, vigilance and steady hand. We agree. He guided them, gave them constructive criticism, made sure they pronounced words and names properly, and made certain that their stories were accurate and thorough. He spent countless hours as their on-the-job teacher, editor and mentor.
Fred was never officially part of the faculty at Ohio University but I guarantee you that many of our alumni would say that they learned more from Fred than they did in many of their classes. He was tough and demanding but at the same time, patient and fair.
As a native of Parkersburg, WV, Fred knew the region and the problems faced by local governments, businesses and residents. He could identify easily with our listeners and the issues confronting them on a daily basis. That was projected in his broadcasts.
Not only did he excel at daily regional news, Fred's long-form feature stories added much needed texture and nuance to our broadcasts and brought attention and focus to the people and projects important to our region.
However, it would be wrong to say that Fred was parochial in his coverage because he also could identify stories that were interesting to a national audience. Often over the years, you could hear Fred's voice and stories on NPR's Morning Edition or All Things Considered. Through his keen news-eye and his own reporting prowess, Fred was an ambassador for our Appalachian region on a national stage. Simply put, he told our stories to the world.
Besides his reporting for WOUB and NPR, Fred was a contributor to The Environment Report, a service of Michigan Radio affiliated with the University of Michigan. There his focus was on major environmental issues important to all of us.
Fred's persona and talent will be missed by his colleagues, by his news sources, and by his listeners. We all, however, wish him well in his retirement. He has certainly earned it.
We hope that Fred will not be absent entirely from our airwaves. Soon, we will hear his voice again doing special projects for WOUB about the region he loves and the people who love him.