River 98.9 News
December 27, 2016
Cary H. Simpson, who started radio station WKBI in St. Marys, has passed away. WKBI was Simpson's first station, which began operation in July, 1950.
Throughout his career, Cary added stations WFRM in Coudersport, WNBT in Wellsboro, WGMR in State College, WBLF in Bellefonte, WIYQ in Ebensburg, along with WTRN in Tyrone, Pa., which served as headquarters of the Allegheny Mountain Network.
He was a long time member of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. Cary was named Broadcaster of the Year in 1985 and was entered into the PAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1996. He was also very active in the Radio Advertising Bureau.
There are stories from young broadcasters from all across the state, that began their career's with one of Cary's stations. Many continued a long and successful career in broadcasting, either as an on-air personality, programming and management.
Many in our area will remember Fr. David, from Queen of the World Church, was a big help in starting WKBI in 1950. Their original studio was at the Mullendean Hotel, next to the former G.C. Murphy store on Erie Avenue. Then above the former Firestone Store, to Knights Hill. In 2012, WKBI was sold to Dennis Heindl, owner of Laurel Media, which owns WDDH-FM.
And there is no doubt you will remember one of the names that made the station such a success; like Johnny Knorr, Stubby King, Lyle Huggler, Gibby Hoffman, Dave Mazzaferro, Pete Edwards, John Bloom, Andy Volvo, Kate Daugherty, John Allen, Tommy Jay, Mark Jacob, Steve Lanzel Ken Ciroli, Brian Fritz, Dave Parsons, and the list goes on and on.
Cary Simpson Obituary:
Cary H. Simpson, 89, 601 Fifth St., Tyrone, died Tuesday at UPMC Altoona.
He was born in Huntingdon, son of Frederick M. and Lois Hatcher Simpson. He married Betty F. Finnegan on Aug. 16, 1958, at Evangelical United Brethren Church, Tyrone. She preceded him in death on Jan. 8, 2000.
Surviving are a daughter, Barbara S. (Nick) Becker of Coral Springs, Fla.; a son, Ted (Betsy) Simpson of Alexandria; five Becker grandchildren: Nicholas, Emily, Will, Matthew and Michael; and three Simpson grandchildren: Tim, Laci and Liam.
After college graduation, Cary worked for several out-of-state radio stations; and in the early 1950s, he returned to Pennsylvania and began building a group of small radio stations which became known as the Allegheny Mountain Radio Network. He had been the owner and president of WTRN Radio since its inception. He was a member of the National Association of Broadcasters and former director and member of the Radio Advertising Bureau executive committee and chairman of the small market committee. He was a former director and past president of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters, and in 1985, he was named PA Broadcaster of the Year. He had served as a member of the advisory committee of the Penn State School of Communications.
Cary was a member of the Presbyterian church, where he had served as an elder, deacon and a former clerk of the session. He was a past member of Tyrone Hospital board of directors, former president of the Camp Anderson Corp. of Boy Scouts and a former director of the Tyrone Chamber of Commerce.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, at Tyrone Presbyterian Church, followed by a 4 p.m. funeral service by Pastor Mark Liller. Private burial will be at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are by Richard H. Searer Funeral Home Inc., Tyrone.
Contributions in memory of Cary H. Simpson may be made to the Betty Simpson Memorial Scholarship Fund, Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA 16652.
Tyrone radio icon a ‘pillar’
Simpson, 89, began operating WTRN