Radio has an abundance — an overabundance, some say — of big mouths, fire-breathers, ego-trippers and chest-pounders.
On the other end of the scale, there was Cousin Lud.
Probably the first thing to shock people after learning Southern radio humorist Ludlow Porch died Feb. 11 was that his name wasn’t really Ludlow Porch. It was Bobby Crawford Hanson, and he was 76.
He became Ludlow Porch about the time Sports Illustrated featured him in 1971 as one of the world’s five greatest trivia experts. The magazine was acting on a tip from Porch’s stepbrother, celebrated Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Lewis Grizzard.
That got the attention of Atlanta radio station WRNG-AM, who tried him out for a week as an on-air personality, then kept him until the station switched to an all-news format in the 1980s. Porch moved to Atlanta’s WSB-AM and WCNN-AM for several years, then syndicated his show on assorted radio stations throughout the South.
Some radio hosts are poison. Porch was a tonic. While other radio hosts built their reputations on being angry or salacious, Porch developed a style that respected listeners and callers and nostalgically embraced the slow-moving South so many of us love.
“The remarkable thing about Ludlow is that during his long career in radio he never made one single enemy, never had a sponsor dump him, never had listeners demand that he be fired,” WSB’s Neal Boortz told the AJC. “That’s a testament to what a sweet guy Ludlow was.”
After regaling his audience with monologues, jokes and even the occasional prank, Porch would close his show by saying, “Whatever else you do today, you find somebody to be nice to.”
Remembering that — and practicing that — would be like carrying a bit of Ludlow with you every day. We hope you do.