RIP: Allen Saunders, Former WHLO VP/GM

The Akron Beacon Journal reports this morning that former WHLO/640 vice president/general manager Allen Saunders, who went on to become the first voice of CNN, has died at the age of 84.

Saunders guided the Akron station from the early 60’s into the late 70’s, and then became Cable News Network’s first “voice of God”. It took no less than James Earl Jones to replace him as the news network’s voice.

The article (written by former WHLO’er Jim Carney) doesn’t mention that Saunders was indeed WHLO’s own “voice of God” in its station imaging.

As an early devotee of the station and its first news/talk format under Susquehanna in the mid-1970’s, your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) will always remember Mr. Saunders’ voice booming for the station’s talk radio “hour openers”… “NOWWW…from WHLO News/Talk64!…something DIFFERENT in radio entertainment”.

It was a voice that drew you in from the other room…letting you know that what would follow was worth checking out.

And no, the use of the station’s general manager to voice station identification, hour openers and promos wasn’t a cost cutting move for WHLO. It was an imperative, with THAT voice…

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