Schaumburg Honors Friend, Colleague Ed Taylor
By Paul Schaumburg, Graves County Schools
PADUCAH, KY - Radio announcer Ed Taylor was killed
when he was struck by a vehicle, while crossing the road on foot in
front of his Reidland home Dec. 29, 2016. A week later a memorial
service honored his memory and celebrated his life at the Paducah
Tilghman High School gymnasium. He was 76 years old.
I didn't listen much to radio until I
turned 14. When I did, I fell in love! Becoming a radio disc
jockey seemed to be the greatest job possible! Who wouldn't want
to wax poetic, making cool and sometimes
humorous comments over the airwaves and through the ether? Three
years later I got my first job at WPAD. That's where I met Ed Taylor
Next to station owner Ed Fritts,
Ed Taylor clearly was the most important person in the building.
He was close friends with the boss, who had brought him to Paducah
from Union City, Tenn., when Mr. Fritts bought WPAD Radio in 1967. Ed
had his own advertisers, writing and voicing their commercials. He
was the voice of Paducah Tilghman basketball and football. And, he
was the early morning wake-up show host, on the air when people got
up, got ready for the day and drove to work.
I quickly realized not only how
talented Ed was, but also what a dry wit he had! My hero was right in
front of my eyes and ears and I soaked in every bit I could!
Ed was so subtle that, as a listener,
you had to meet him halfway. If you got it, you laughed your head
off. If you didn't get it, you probably didn't know the difference.
Besides advertising, the station
partnered with the Dale Carnegie Company. Its classes promise to
transform even the most inarticulate, self-doubting wimp into a
dynamic, self-assured individual who can ... well ... win friends and
influence people! One day, someone asked Ed whether he had taken the
course himself. He replied -- with a wit drier than the Mojave Desert
– "Of course... can't you tell?"
Once, we were running a commercial
voiced by an announcer from then-rival WKYX, who sounded increasingly
like that station's general manager, Gary Morse. Ed came out of the
ad, calling the announcer by name and saying, "You're sounding
more like Gary every day!" ...At the station, we laughed
uproariously. Most listeners just scratched their heads.
On a football game one night, Ed noted
that the left tackle was named "Billy Flake." To which he
added, "I used to know his brother, Corn," then he went
back to the call... "Second down and three yards to go..."
In music radio, you generally want to
promote it positively, because that format is the station's main
draw. Not Ed! One morning, as he came out of a song by Whispering
Bill Anderson, he said, "WPAD at 7:20 this morning. That's Bill
Anderson! ... I never did like him... I think it's because he wears
white shoes... I never did like white shoes, white socks, or clip-on
ties..." Then, he hit the commercial... I can't be the only one
who laughed, shaking my head, thinking, "Did he really say
Eventually, he went his way, I went
mine and years passed. We both ended up back in western Kentucky and
eventually ran into each other at the Paducah Cracker Barrel. Nothing
had changed in many ways, except my wherewithal to tell Ed what I
thought of him. I'd introduce him to others as a living legend of
Paducah radio. He always scoffed at that. I always told him I meant
it and I wasn't the only one who thought so. I hope he realized I was
Now, he's gone. Who ever could have
dreamed it would have happened as it did?
A few years ago and before our Cracker
Barrel days, I visited Paducah's First Christian Church.
I was pleased to see Ed Taylor, who had
joined the church through his association with our late boss, Ed
Fritts. It gives me peace to trust that Ed now is with his
Savior, experiencing the joys of heaven. God knows that Ed made me
and so many others experience joy so often here on earth from his
God-given talents, broadcast over the airwaves and through the ether.
Paul Schaumburg is in his 15th year
serving as community relations director of the Graves County Schools.
He began his career working on the air in radio for more than 15
years and was a reporter-photographer-columnist at the Mayfield
Messenger for six years. For more than 20 years, he has taught public
speaking and other communication classes at Murray State University,
Shawnee Community College, and other postsecondary institutions.