Pat Barry, who worked four decades at an array of Cincinnati-area TV and radio stations, died of COVID-19 on Saturday, according to a number of his close friends. He was 69 years old.
Born Barry Tingley, Barry was a popular DJ at WKRQ-FM when WLWT-TV (Channel 5) hired him to replace meteorologist Tony Sands as senior meteorologist at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. in 1984.
Barry, who was hired for the job even though he had no meteorological experience or training, told the Cincy Shirts podcast in 2019 that the WLWT executives wanted someone who knew Cincinnati and who they could teach about the weather. He learned about the opening of the post from Jerry Springer, then WLWT presenter (and former mayor of Cincinnati), because the two frequented the Precinct restaurant.
Springer had just been promoted to anchor and “that summer I was seeing him outside” at thePrecinct restaurant, when Barry hosted promotional events on Mondays and Tuesdays, Barry said in a 1989 interview on Waycross Community Media’s “Midnight Hour”.Springer told Barry “we’re going to make a change in the way we do the weather.” Soon Barry came for an audition and two weeks later he had signed a three year contract.
“Our ratings were horrible at the start,” Barry said on the podcast. “We’ve been terrible,” Barry said. But in two years, the team of Springer, Norma Rashid and Ken Broo was No.1.
On the podcast, Barry noted that many television meteorologists such as Al Roker from the “Today” show do not have meteorology degrees. “I owe (to current WXIX meteorologist Steve) Horstmeyer because I didn’t know anything when I got in there,” Barry said, adding that he had also taken classes and studied a lot.
In 1994, WLWT let Barry go and he was washed up by WXIX-TV (Fox19) in 1995. First weather anchor for the new “19 in the Morning” newspaper in 1996, he became the show’s co-host. shortly after. He left Fox19 in 1999, but returned to the station as a weekend anchor during the 2000s. Barry said he spent 15 years on occasion at WXIX.
Tricia Macke worked with Barry when she was starting out in the television business.
“Pat Barry was doing the weather and he always had a way to make everyone laugh by making fun of things and filling the room with his loud, loud laugh. He offered me advice on how to make others good at the television just watching how I said something in a raffle, ”she said.“ We’ve been friends for over 30 years and it’s hard to sum up thoughts or memories of him because I don’t think so that none will do him justice. “
She said Barry loved when she compared him to Rodney Dangerfield and he loved doing his impersonation. She said he would text her before and during the news broadcasts offering a Cincinnati treat on that person or that person or telling me that he liked my hair parted to the right or to the left … I couldn’t believing he had noticed but that was who he was. Attention to detail. He is the Rain Man of Cincinnati factoids. Name a person and the chances are not only that he has met them at some point in his life, but he can give you an idea of who that person was. “
Macke said Barry has always been a positive influence in his life.
“Pat was always the person I was going to ask for advice,” she said. He had a quick wit, he was one of the best people I have ever known. I will miss him dearly! “
In the Waycross Community Media interview, Barry said he started radio in 1968 at the age of 16 in Springfield, Ohio, completing his freshman year of high school and helping ADJ at WIZE.
“I was supposed to be a group principal and go to Ohio State University,” Barry said in the interview. “Somehow I got into radio and worked all over Ohio and Indiana and also Florida.”
He came to Cincinnati in 1974 to work at WSAI-AM and left in 1978 to put WOKV on air in Hamilton. He then left after a year and a half to be a program director at a Tampa station for the Cincinnati-based station Taft Broadcasting for a year and a half “then came back here with them” at Q102.
During his time on WLWT, Barry also had a talk show on WKRC-AM which also aired on seven legacy Clear Channel stations nationwide.
Barry has also been heard on WLW-AM, WMOJ-FM and WDJO-AM.
Hired by WDJO in 2014, Barry says The Enquirer, “I’ve worked everywhere else. I thought I’d give these guys a chance.”
A week after leaving WDJO in 2018, Barry landed in the country classic WNKN-FM (105.9) and WNKR-FM (106.7).
“He did rock, pop, talk and old-fashioned radio and did weather and TV shows, but he was never a country music DJ,” wrote WVXU media reporter John Kiesewetter, the former Enquirer television and radio critic.
Barry was friends with a “whoos who” of the Cincinnati luminaries.
Former Cincinnati mayor Charlie Luken called Barry singular.
Luken, who worked in the media before becoming mayor, said Barry was a source of information about the city.
He had an infectious laugh, Luken said.
Barry was also good friends with the National Baseball Hall of Famer and former Cincinnati Reds great Johnny Bench for several decades.
A statement from friends Dennis Janson and Bina Roy said Johnny’s trios viewed Barry as “Uncle Pat,” and without immediate family Barry often spent Christmas and other vacations in the Bench enclave. Bench had been monitoring medical developments closely in recent weeks, but was still deeply saddened by the news.
“I have never known someone who could make me laugh so uncontrollably. Who was so loved by so many people. When I first met him, he happily called my attention to his nameplate. ‘vanity registration:’ Big Kid ‘he read and he was that and more, ”Bench said in the statement.
“Taller than life and the best friend anyone could ask for. A true professional in every sense of the word. He took life seriously but always got her up with lots of laughs. He was my friend, a distinction that I share with hundreds of others. who felt the same. “
A post on the WNKN / WNKR website iloveclassiccountry.com. credits the relationship with teaching Barry to appreciate country music.
“In the early 80’s Johnny was still playing and every time they rode together Johnny had country music on the radio. Pat has been a country music fan ever since,” the post said.
During the pandemic, stations told Barry to skip his afternoon shift and focus on sales, Kiesewetter wrote on his blog in 2020.
Barry also recently worked as a consultant at the Proctor Gallagher Institute, according to his LinkedIn account. The Arizona-based Self-Help Institute offers seminars and events to “improve the quality of life globally by raising the quality of thoughts individually,” according to its website.
Cameron Knight and Sherry Coolidge contributed.
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