Long-time WNIR morning man Stan Piatt passed away today. He was 68 and battled cancer for a lot longer than was expected because Stan was a fighter. I never worked with him but we ran across one another on occasion and I found him to be a cheery guy. My favorite Stan memory goes back to when he was still on 'NIR and I was doing TV23 Weather. It was the 80s so I wore that era's "hair-helmet TV-guy" coif. Stan used to poke fun at me about my hair on his show saying it had to be a piece, that it wasn't real. Trust me, it was. A lot of gel and spray made it so. One night during our broadcast, Anchorman Mark Williamson mentioned Stan's pokes at me and I threw down the gauntlet. I challenged Stan to meet me anywhere at anytime and I'd let him comb my hair in public to prove it was real. He accepted the challenge. The day came at a charity bowling event. The two of us were there. It was the first time I witnessed how in love Stan's audience was with Stan. It was as if I was the enemy. He never did comb my hair that day but did lean into me and say, "You know this was all in good fun, right?" Of course I did. Kind of a radio publicity stunt. One more side of this story bears recounting. At the time all this was playing out on air, my wife and I lived in an apartment complex run by Stan's parents. We told them we'd be moving on when our lease was up . His Mother leaned in to us and asked, "I hope you're not leaving because Stan made fun of your hair." Of course it wasn't. It was all just a bit. Like other legendary Akron radio personalities, we may have been competitors but never really felt competitive around one another. It's a fraternity of respect and I had respect for what Stan did. You'll be missed my friend.
(Photo Credit: Pam Darkow from Stan Piatt's Facebook page)