Monday, August 2, 2010
Clint Formby was a big man in a small town. He made his mark in Hereford, but his impact was felt far beyond his hometown.
Formby, 86, died Saturday after a bout with cancer. One of the stations he owned was KPAN in Hereford. In 1955, he began daily commentary as the "Day-by-Day Philosopher." And that became an institution in Hereford. He hosted more than 16,000 episodes of the six-day-a-week program without missing a day.
He was featured on NBC's "Today" show in 2007 for the streak, which eventually reached 17,000. According to KPAN, "it was the longest-running consecutive radio broadcast by an individual in the United States."
I was honored just a few months ago when Mr. Formby called to ask what five living people I would invite to a fantasy dinner party. He was calling several in the area to get their ideas. In the few times our paths crossed, he could not have been nicer.
He's the former president of the Texas Association of Broadcasters and the Associated Press Broadcasters. If there was a radio organization, it seemed like Mr. Formby was on it. He traveled all over the country on behalf of various organizations, including six years on the board of the Associated Press.
But he was much more than a radio personality. Much more. When I first heard of him was back at Texas Tech when he was a member and then later chairman of the board of regents. It was at Tech he received his bachelor's degree.
The former Army veteran in World War II was extremely active in community affairs, honored at one time as Panhandle Citizen of the Year by the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce.
In explaining his affinity for Hereford and small towns in general, he told the "Today Show": "I was born in a small town. You can relate and interrelate with people in a small town. To my way of thinking, they're the salt of the earth."
None more so than Clint Formby.