There was a time when young broadcasters learned their craft from those who preceded them and would drink in every word, nuance, and gram of subtext. That was the way I learned from WIBC Indianapolis newsman Lou Palmer.
Before I was fortunate enough to work at WIBC, I was a huge fan of Lou's phrasing, writing, and on-air personality. After starting at WIBC, I was able to work near Lou, too afraid to get too close to such a titan (at least in my view) lest I get told to get lost. But with time I was able to befriend him, learning about radio and life at the same time. The afternoons spent in the WIBC newsroom on North Meridian in Indianapolis were every bit as valuable and enjoyable as any other education I ever had, and I'll always treasure them.
Lou was bigger than life and once he decided he liked you, would talk for hours in his unique way, literally mesmerizing the people in the newsroom at the Two Story Brick On North Illinois, in the press room at the old Speedway control tower, or at 9292. His "Lou Palmer And Friends" show in the 70's was one of the most entertaining and inspiring shows this young broadcaster listened to. I feel fortunate to have shared time with him and to have learned at his feet.
His descriptive terms and news opens were legendary. Whether it was time to "hit the money button" or my favorite news open "Tenerife Island, two 747's, crunch", he had a way with words, a way with life, and a way of leaving a truly lasting impression.
Its odd, I was thinking of Lou on Saturday, the day he died. I guess I waited too long to look him up and let him know what I was up to.
RIP Lou. Give my best to Riley.
Click on the headline to see the Indianapolis Star's story on the life and times of Lou Palmer.