Bob Trumpy Talks About His Career On WLW-AM

Dec 20, 2018

What a great Christmas present from Lance McAlister: He'll interview Bob Trumpy, the father of Cincinnati's sports talk radio format, on WLW-AM's Sports Talk 6 p.m. Monday.

Trumpy, the former Bengals tight end, will talk about his broadcasting career in a 90-minute show recorded this week with McAlister. He quit WLW-AM's Sports Talk in 1990 to work full-time for NBC Sports on football, golf and Olympics telecasts.

Trumpy, 73, started his sports call-in show on WCKY-AM in 1976 – because WLW-AM turned down the show! It started as a one-hour weekly show before WCKY-AM’s Monday Night Football games. Trumpy's show expanded to three nights a week in 1977, his final year playing for the Bengals.

Trumpy was among the NFL broadcasters features in the 1989 NFL Pro Set football cards series.
Credit Courtesy 1989 NFL Pro Set

He was lured over to WLW-AM in 1980, and hosted Sports Talk for 10 years.

Trumpy truly became a broadcaster – instead of a former NFL player -- in 1978, when he criticized Bengals owner Paul Brown for firing head coach Bill "Tiger" Johnson after a 0-5 start. Trumpy went on the radio and blasted Brown, his former head coach who drafted him in 1968 from the University of Illinois.

McAlister says Trumpy described how Brown lectured him the next day.

"The story of Trumpy ripping Paul Brown for firing Tiger was amazing, with all the details of Paul getting in Trump's face the next day at practice, and Trumpy saying he believes Paul never forgave him for that," McAlister says.

They cover most of Trumpy's greatest hits, from working at WLW-AM, including the suicidal woman who called Sports Talk on Nov. 11, 1983. Trumpy kept the caller on the line two hours while police tried to find her. She was eventually located in Forest Park. 

"Trumpy choked up, and had tears in his eyes, telling the story of the caller threatening to end her life," McAlister says.

The interview airs 6-7:30 p.m. Christmas Eve before WLW-AM airs the Monday night NFL game between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.

Trumpy was honored with the NFL's annual Pete Rozelle Radio and Television Award for "long-time exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football" at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014. I loved listening to "Trump" in the 1980s because he didn't change his opinions from day to day just to light up the phones, as some talk hosts do.  

I'll bet you a hot fudge sundae – as Trumpy would say to callers – that longtime WLW-AM listeners will enjoy this program.