Longtime public radio show host dies
Wally Derleth was Red River Radio’s operations manager and producer and host of Evening Jazz for 22+ years
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — The public radio community in Northwest Louisiana is mourning the loss of a longtime show host.
Walden “Wally” Derleth died Saturday, Jan. 22 at the age of 65.
He was Red River Radio’s operations manager as well as producer and host of its Evening Jazz show for more than 22 years.
Friend and colleague Kermit Poling described Derleth as a bright light that shined at their station. “He loved what he did here, he loved public radio, he loved jazz.”
Red River Radio posted the following statement on its website and Facebook page:
Derleth moved to Shreveport from Wisconsin in the fall of 1994 and started with Red River Radio in November 1999, according to the station’s website.
“His goal was never to be the most popular/polished and all of that,” said Poling, who is the station’s general manager as well as music director for the South Arkansas Symphony, the Marshall Symphony Orchestra and the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet. “He was the most sincere person. And he would just play this stuff that he loved deep in his heart.”
The two were friends for 22 years.
“He would just talk all the time, always interested in what you had going on,” Poling recalled. “He didn’t tend to talk a lot about himself, but he would always ask what was going on with his friends.”
Derleth’s bio on the station’s website also says he enjoyed listening to music, playing golf, umpiring high school and college baseball games and reading “anything by Stephen King or Tom Clancy.” And he was a fan of the Green Bay Packers and the University of Wisconsin Badgers.
Evening Jazz airs from 9 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday. It covers big band and swing as well as mainstream and contemporary jazz.
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