Rick Gilmour Dies

Former Cleveland radio talk show host Rick Gilmour has died of cancer, at the age of 48.

The station where “Gilly” spent most of his radio career, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100, has more.

Gilmour’s death is, unfortunately, no surprise to OMW readers. We wrote about his struggle with cancer in late March, noting that he’d been transferred to hospice care.

Though he hasn’t been on the air regularly for some years now, listeners still remember Gilmour’s unique style and voice.  After a stint at crosstown talker WERE/1300 (now a Radio One talk station at 1490 AM), Gilmour was hired at WTAM to replace Morton Downey, Jr.

Oddly enough, that’s one thing he had in common with Premiere syndicated host Rush Limbaugh, who is heard on “The Big One” weekdays from noon to 3.

Limbaugh was hired by KFBK in Sacramento CA in 1984 as a local talk show host, to replace…you guessed it, Morton Downey, Jr…


6 Responses to Rick Gilmour Dies

  1. finn says:

    I never really listened to Gilly when he was on WTAM but I listened all the time when he would appear on Wainstead All Night on WCSB back in the late 80’s early 90’s.

  2. Mitch Mann says:

    Very sad news. I met Rick when I was working at WCSB (Cleveland state 89.3) where he was a frequent caller. I later co-hosted Night Talk with him on WERE for the two years we were on the air before getting fired for making fun of other hosts on the station (Mary Rose was an easy target!). He was one of the funniest people I knew and frankly had a better radio voice than I did. I had the chance to visit him a number of times in hospice but had not been out to see him for a few weeks. I am sorry now that I did not get out there to see him one more time. He still had his “Gilly” sense of humor the times I was able to visit even in the face of his health issues. He will be missed.

  3. Dan says:

    Loved Gilly on Sunday evenings… Art McCoy was no replacement for Rick.

    Loved the Irish music when he’d give a forecast from Eileen McShea and the “You’s knows why me puts 239 beans in me bean soup, don’t you lad? Because one more would be too farty…”

    RIP, Rick.

  4. Dave Iley says:

    I have a tape somewhere of myself prank-calling The Gilly Show on WERE. Now I work there!

    RIP, Rick.

  5. Nathan says:

    I still remember the night he took on the task of replacing Morton Downey, Jr. Truth be told, he put 1000% more effort into that time slot – even up against the Indians World Series run on WKNR – than Downey ever could. (Mort would rerun the 8pm hour at 11pm because he simply ran out of steam.)

    WTAM did the right thing yesterday by airing an extended half-hour aircheck of Gilly talking to Triv on the phone about religion and God. It was ten years old, but the style of the show was classic Gilly.

    Don’t forget his reading of the extended forecast, asking rhetorically, “Let’s look at (Monday or Tuesday) shall we? Sure.” Not to mention his crediting of his producers (including his first, the late Gary Schwartz) at the end who “PULLZ THE STRINGS! And pushes all of the buttons and dials…” Plus the high-pitched (helium-induced?) soundbite of former WMVX evening jock Megan Clemson saying “I love you Gilly” … or the caller that said “I love you, Gilby.” Or Ray Davis calling him the “media darling” of WTAM.

    And he did all this with no overinflated ego and almost no promotion or advertising. He took the move to weekends effortlessly, and might have lasted longer had it not be Premiere pushing Matt Drudge’s show onto a live clearance. It’s a real shame that it didn’t.

    Have a good one, Gilly. I know you already did.


  6. Johnny Morgan says:

    I was a long-time listener to Gilly, going all the way back to the Night Talk days on WERE with Mitch Mann and Steve Wainstead. I stayed with Gilly when he hosted Beer Talk, also on WERE.

    Using my real name, I convinced Gilly to even be a judge for the Mister Mustang Contest at Strongsville High, coordinating with Gilly and producer B.I.G. Phil.

    That night brought about a great moment in Establishment challenge–Gilly had arrived at the school and was waiting for the contest to start. The judges were being fed in a classroom, and Gilly said he was going to step outside for a smoke.

    The superintendent, of course, told him there was no smoking anywhere on school property. To which Gilly responded, “Tell that to the kids in the bathroom between 5th and 6th period.” Classic, and hilarious.

    When Gilly got hired at WTAM, Phil left me a message on my home phone telling me Gilly started that night.

    Lots of people never “got” Gilly. They looked too far into the politics of the show and not at the entertainment and “radio” of the show.

    But, though he would infuriate him, Gilly always had one listener in my grandfather. He hated him, but always listened…probably so he could talk about him.

    Gilly and I never shared the same politics either. He never knew that, nor did I tell him. It didn’t matter. He was a hilarious and entertaining radio host. I learned and used a lot from him in my career. It’s too bad I never could let him know.

    R.I.P. my friend.

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