MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s a bittersweet day here at WREG. Today our leader, General Manager Ron Walter, officially retired after 34 years of service to Memphis and the Mid-South.
If you’ve wondered what appreciation, what respect and what love look like for someone after decades of community service, then listen to the words expressed about retiring WREG general Manager Ron Walter.
“Just a great guy I would describe as ‘Mr. Memphis’,” said Jack Sammons, former city councilman and city CAO. “From one corner of the town to another, he’s had a major presence and really had a big part in bringing this city together. A great citizen, a great communicator, and a close friend of mine.”
“Ron is a change maker,” said Charles Ewing, Ewing Moving founder and CEO. “He’s done an excellent job of giving opportunities of people in this city to highlight what they really can do. He’s given people opportunities. He’s made a magnificent difference.”
On an almost picture-perfect day in the WREG backyard, there were handshakes and hugs as Ron’s family, along with friends, city, county, state leaders and coworkers who are like family gather for a ceremony and celebration to say thank you.
“Thank you so much for being the example that you have been to everyone, especially those people of color who’ve watch you plow through ceilings and become the successful person that you are,” State Rep. Antonio Parkinson said.
“Ron Walter is an amazing friend. He’s one of the funniest guys I know,” said Gale Jones Carson, MLGW vice president of community/external affairs. “He’s great in the news business. He’s going to greatly, greatly missed, his leadership is going to be missed.”
Ron is retiring after 34 years at WREG. That’s more 12,500 days for those keeping count, like only Ron would.
“It’s really a testament to the person that he is and how well respected that he is not only in the station, but in the community. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out someone says I know your general manger, Ron Walter,” WREG anchor April Thompson said.
But time flies when you’re having fun and working to make WREG the number one TV station Memphis, as Ron did.
“One of the things I think about when I think of Ron is just his greeting, first of all. ‘Ron, how are you doing? I’m spectacular.’ He’s always warm and friendly and positive,” said WREG News Director Bruce Moore.
“Ron gets people from different backgrounds, different walks of life and puts them together and figures out how to find success with groups of people from all over the place,” WREG Creative Services Director Wes Pollard said.
“Brother Walter, that’s a melody that I just took a breath and created that melody, I should say, through me to celebrate your retirement and 34 years of service. Not to yourself, but to the community,” said Kirk Whalum, Grammy-award winning saxophonist.
“I was with the Orpheum for 35 years. My good friend Ron Walter was on the board there and got married there and married to Marianne there,” said Pat Halloran, former Orpheum Theatre president and CEO. “They had a small wedding of 1,800 people. We’re happy to be here and wishing him well for his retirement.”
Ron has worked in the news business for most of his life, starting with throwing the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper when he was 11 years old. Ron was hired here at WREG as director of marketing in 1987 and in 2004 was promoted to president and general manager.
“What stands out most to me about Ron is how much he genuinely cares for those who work for him and with him,” Glenn Carver, former WREG sports director, said. “Knowing that the station manager now president and general has your back makes the world of difference.”
“I just want to say I’m for you,” said former WREG anchor Pam Crittendon Johnson. “Congratulations on your long and illustrious career at WREG and here’s wishing you a happy retirement.”
Retirement means having a chance to spend more time with his wife Marianne and his family.
“After 34 years of working for Channel 3, Ronald, I get to have you every Saturday and Sunday,” Marianne said. “Monday and Tuesday are Saturday and Sunday. Wednesday and Thursday are Saturday and Sunday, and Friday is just a fun day. So, I’m glad to have you home. Channel Three thank you for being such a wonderful family.”
Thank you, Marianne, for sharing Ron with us at WREG and Memphis. And thank you, Ron Walter, for a job well done as our leader and friend.