Drive time may never be the same for Bowling Green residents.
Steve Meredith, host of the 5 to 6 p.m. “Drive Time” show on WKCT radio (930 AM and 104.1 FM) since 2015, died Saturday at age 54 after a long career in local radio.
It was a career that in recent years allowed Meredith to inform and entertain listeners through interviews with public officials, authors, entertainers and experts on various topics.
It also allowed him to contribute to the community through his work with the Stuff the Bus Foundation and other local nonprofit organizations.
“Steve will be greatly missed,” said Alan Cooper, general manager of the WDNS and WKCT stations that make up the Daily News Broadcasting Co. “I know he loved being here. Working in radio was his thing. We were blessed to have him.”
Another longtime associate, WDNS-FM (D-93) morning show host Tony Rose, said Meredith’s contributions to the radio stations went well beyond serving as “Drive Time” host.
“He was like the Swiss Army Knife of the radio stations,” Rose said. “He could fill in for me or for Chad Young (the morning talk show host on the AM station). He could do commercials and community events. He could do every single job in the building.”
Young, who devoted Monday’s morning broadcast to hearing audience members’ stories about Meredith, also praised his co-worker’s variety of skills.
“Steve was very versatile,” Young said. “He could talk about Led Zeppelin on the classic rock station and then talk about a complicated zoning issue on the AM station.
“You have to be really talented to do all those things. I don’t know that we fully understand how much of a void he will leave,” he said.
Young said hearing about Meredith from people in the community, both on the air and through social media posts, helped him understand what an impact the “Drive Time” host had on local residents.
“People were calling in and talking about Steve’s personality,” Young said. “They made comments that you can tell a person’s personality through their broadcasting.
“People could hear Steve’s kindness, sincerity and sense of humor through his broadcasting. He was a great interviewer and was fantastic at talking to people.”
Rose said Meredith’s impact extended beyond the walls of the radio stations. He was influential, Rose said, in starting the Stuff the Bus event that has evolved into a full-fledged nonprofit foundation that provides school supplies, grants and scholarships to students and educators throughout southcentral Kentucky.
“Steve was right there in the middle of all of it,”said Rose, who worked with Meredith at Bowling Green’s Commonwealth Broadcasting before both made the move to D-93. “He promoted it on the air and was on site filling up boxes and doing whatever needed to be done. He loved the community and loved being a broadcaster.”
His professionalism earned Meredith the respect of many local public officials who he often interviewed.
“I was on the radio with him a few times, and he was the consummate professional,” said Doug Gorman, Warren County First District magistrate and chairman of the Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority. “He was always well-versed and knew the issues. It’s just a great loss for the community. He’s someone who really made an impact.”
Meredith made that impact despite battling health issues in recent years. Rose saw that battle daily and said it only enhanced his respect for his co-worker.
“There’s no way to put into words what he meant to me,” Rose said. “He was my right-hand man for 20 years.
“This community is going to miss him. He was just a good human being who had an impact on people from all walks of life.”
An Edmonson County native, Meredith is survived by wife Naren Meredith and two sons.
Visitation for Meredith is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Cone Funeral Home on Campbell Lane. The funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the same location.
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