Services were held this week for longtime TV sportscaster/anchor Walt Maher.
Maher, 81, of Mason, died last Thursday in Drake Center.
The Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter offers this look into the life of one of the most colorful characters in Cincinnati television history.
Maher was the dean of local sports anchors when he retired from WKRC-TV (Channel 12) in 1997. His first radio job was in his hometown of Maysville, Ky. He came to WCPO-AM (1230) in Cincinnati in 1960, and soon started filling in as a sportscaster and newscaster on sister WCPO-TV.
His Saturday night Channel 9 newscasts “dominated the ratings” in the early 1970s, often drawing more viewers than Al Schottelkotte’s weeknight Channel 9 newscasts, said Jim Delaney, a former WCPO-TV and Enquirer editor.
“He was a real gentleman on and off the air,” he said.
Maher moved to Channel 12 sports in 1979, where he was the newsroom father figure and coach of the Channel 12 Who-Dos basketball team which played charity games throughout the Tristate for years.
“I feel so blessed to have known him, and worked with him, because he was a rare, caring human being,” said Sports Director Brad Johansen. Maher was weekend sports anchor when Johansen was hired in 1992 as a reporter/anchor.
“He was one of the first to befriend me, because he ran the Who-Do basketball team. That got me indoctrinated into Channel 12. Everyone in the community knew him, and everyone in the community loved him,” Johansen said. Maher would insist that the host school/organziation for the Who-Do game provide a postgame meal for both teams to eat together. “That’s the kind of peson he was. He was always trying to get people together.”
Johansen visited Maher last night at Drake Center. Johansen said Maher told his family and friends: “I miss doing it (TV).”
If desired, memorials may be sent to Juvenile Diabetes Reseach Foundation, Life Center Organ Donor or Whiz Kids. Here’s a link to Maher’s obituary at Mueller Parker Funeral Home.
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