There is sadness to report today from the WHO Radio newsroom. Veteran morning anchor Dick Layman passed away today. He was 59 years old. Dick Layman has been known throughout central Iowa for 16 years for that deep resonate voice that brought you the overnight developments and stories that you needed to know about to get your day started.
Dick was also from the old school of broadcast journalism. The school that said 'confirm and reconfirm the facts' before they would be put into a story for you to hear. He cared about content and quality. But he also was someone who take the most complicated of stories and boil them down to the bare fact so you could understand it...and to do so at times in 20 seconds or less.
I remember an email I received from a listener just this year concerning Dick. The listener labeled Dick's delivery 'folksy.' When you think about it, that is pretty accurate. He presented the news as if he was talking to you at your kitchen table. Sitting there with a cup of coffee, explaining about the latest goings on in state government, local affairs, or something from law enforcement. But regardless the topic, Dick Layman gave it to you straight and you knew it was accurate. I can even recall a time when I got a call in the newsroom and he had gotten a date wrong in some news copy. Dick was kicking himself for two hours because of it. He was that kind of professional, caring deeply that he got it right before it went on the air.
There is a hole right now in the WHO Radio Family...a hole that won't close easily and there is a chair in our newsroom that will be very, very difficult to fill. That's what happens when you have a man the caliber of Dick Layman on your team. Our prayer's go out to his wife, Janet, and daughter Meredith.