MOUNT VERNON — Knox County is mourning the passing of Ron Staats. Staats, who died Monday, was a longtime program director at Mount Vernon’s radio station WMVO and the on-air host of the popular “Radio Line,” served as master of ceremonies for the Knox County Junior Miss scholarship program auction for many years and worked on community service projects such as Food for the Hungry and Christmas in July.
Longtime WMVO announcer and community leader Ron Staats passed away Monday evening.
Ron Staats was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Mount Vernon-Knox County Chamber of Commerce on Saturday. (Photo by Virgil Shipley)
Long-time supporter of education in the community, Ron Staats was the special guest speaker for Thursday’s Business Advisory Appreciation dinner held at the Knox County Career Center. (Photo by Pam Schehl)
Pat Crow and Sandy Crow, presents Ron Staats, WMVO radio personality, with the Dan Emmet Music & Arts Festival’s special bell in honor of his many years of service to the community. (Photo by Virgil Shipley)
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis said the community has suffered a loss with Staats’ passing. “He was the voice of radio in Knox County for so long. It didn’t matter if we had an emergency or whether we were just getting news out, he was always the sensible person. I don’t think he exaggerated things. He had a special ability to communicate with people. He was a good listener. As mayor, I appreciated his ability to communicate, his ability to handle difficult situations and communicate with accuracy.
“After he retired, he still was our announcer and master of ceremonies at our Memorial Day parade and ceremony. He still wanted to be part of his community. And he was. It’s a loss to our community.”
“Ron was just a fantastic guy,” said Corby Wise, director of advertising at the Mount Vernon News. “How can you be one person and be such a part of everybody’s life? And he was that. I can’t think of anyone who grew up here who wasn’t touched by him in some way, shape or form. He was that trusted voice on the airways telling you whether or not the road was closed or school was closed or a snowstorm was coming in. If there was a tornado bearing down on Mount Vernon, rest assured, Ron Staats was at the radio station telling everybody where the storm was, what it was doing.
“We announced the Christmas parade together for several years, and he bailed me out so many times. I talked with him a lot on the radio. His passing is a big hit to Mount Vernon, our local fabric and personality of our community. Ron was, and will remain, one of my favorite people.”
Dave Bevington worked with Staats for 30 years at WMVO. “I’m very saddened,” he told the News. “He was the consummate professional. I always refer to Ron when I use the term ‘work ethic,’ something I think we’ve lost these days. I learned that from Ron, as did everyone who worked for Ron when he was program director. He was just a person who got the job done, got it done right and didn’t leave the station until it was done. His work ethic was just unbelievable. He leaves a legacy for other people, not only in the broadcast business, but any other business. He’s really going to be missed.”
“I was so honored to work with Ron on many community events,” said WNZR station manager Marcy Rinehart. “I have so many precious memories from working with Ron at the annual Food For The Hungry broadcast, Christmas in July and the Ohio Junior Miss scholarship radio auction. I also remember many fun times at the Knox County Fair. Ron was always up for any challenge. He was a mentor and friend. His passion for serving others was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. I will miss his kind heart and giving spirit. Ron’s legacy will live on forever in our community. My prayers are with his family during this time of loss.”
Barbara Barry, assistant vice president First-Knox National Bank, said she was fortunate to have known Staats for as long as she can remember. “He was active in too many organizations to mention them all,” said Barry, “but one that I especially enjoyed working with him on was the Ohio Junior Miss program, now know as Distinguished Young Women. If it had not been for the generosity of the Mount Vernon News and WMVO, the annual Ohio Junior Miss Radio Auction would have never gotten off the ground. And when I say WMVO, I mean Ron Staats. He was the one that made sure we had every opportunity for the radio auction to be a success from his promotional efforts to the huge listening audience that Ron, along with Charlie Kilkenny, had built over the years.
“The other thing that I will always think of when someone mentions his name will be his wonderful dry sense of humor. He loved to tease you, but he was always there when you needed help.”
“Ron was such a great guy,” said Joy Harris, director of Interchurch Social Services. “We enjoyed every minute that we worked with him on Food for the Hungry. We will miss him. ... I’ve known him since I was a kid. He was a wealth of community knowledge and I never knew him to have a bad day. He will be very missed.”
Contact Pamela SchehlEmail
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.