Asheville, North Carolina lost a good man and a great friend Thursday with the death of longtime radio personality Pat Ryan. Pat had been struggling with colon cancer for the past four years, going in and out of treatment while enduring the ordeals that often come with that.
To sum up Pat in a sentence, he was a friend to all who met him. Pat would often take the contributors to the WISE Guys radio show out for lunch to show his gratitude. I often joked it was like eating with the mayor. He always had warm greetings for people he knew (or just met) and so many would come over to say hello, whether they were friends or fans. Pat would always make sure to introduce those he was with as well, making sure no one was left out of the conversation.
That was pretty much Pat’s philosophy as a radio host too. No one was left out. Pat hosted a sports talk show and that meant sometimes talking about national stories and topics. But he knew it was a local show. The WISE Guys could offer the audience something that ESPN Radio or Fox Sports Radio syndicated programming couldn’t.
Local high school and college coaches across Western North Carolina were a big part of the show, many of whom became friends. Current and former athletes, along with local sports reporters were featured as well. UNC Asheville, Western Carolina, Owen High School, A.C. Reynolds, Asheville High. And not just football and basketball coaches. Soccer, baseball, swimming, track, lacrosse, boys and girls sports, were also highlighted. When Asheville had a roller derby team, players appeared on the show.
Pat didn’t just feature sports either. Charities and local fundraisers had an opportunity to reach a wider group of potential donors on the air. Listeners got to hear what was going on locally in entertainment, events, and business with writers like Ashvegas‘s Jason Sandford and Alli Marshall of Mountain Xpress. The WISE Guys wasn’t just a sports show; it was a show for Asheville. But out-of-towners tuning in could get a feel for what was happening in town too.
I was lucky to be a (very) small part of Pat’s show — and “merry band of contributors” circle — for the past nine years. Anybody who’s stopped by this site or my fledgling new venture, Bowls Media, knows that my appearances on WISE Sports Radio are a big part of the content here. Hell, while most of my writing time and energy was devoted to work at Awful Announcing or Barrett Sports Media, those audio clips kept the lights on here. My last appearance — which unfortunately turned out to be my last conversation with Pat — was Monday, Nov. 7.Continue reading