Pat Barry, who worked for a number of television and radio stations in the Cincinnati area for four decades, died of complications from COVID-19 Saturday. He was 69 years old.
Born Barry Tingley was a popular DJ at WKRQ-FM when WLWT-TV (Kanal 5) hired him in 1984 at 6 and 11 p.m. to succeed meteorologist Tony Sands as chief weatherman.
Barry, tapped for the job despite having no experience or training in meteorology, told the Cincy Shirts Podcast in 2019 that WLWT managers wanted someone who knew Cincinnati and whom they could brief on the weather. He found out about the job posting from then WLWT presenter (and former Mayor of Cincinnati) Jerry Springer because the two were visiting the Precinct restaurant.
Springer had just been promoted to anchor and “I saw him at the Precinct Restaurant this summer” when Barry was hosting promotional events on Monday and Tuesday, Barry said a 1989 interview on Waycross Community Media’s “Midnight Hour” show. Springer said to Barry, “We’re going to change the way we do the weather.” Soon Barry came for an audition and two weeks later he had signed a three year contract.
“Our ratings were terrible to begin with,” Barry said on the podcast. “We were awful,” said Barry. But within two years, the team of Springer, Norma Rashid and Ken Broo was number 1.
Springer, who did the news with Barry for nine years and then a radio show with him for two years, said Barry was tapped because of his personality as a weatherman.
Back then, Willard Scott was the nationally known weatherman’s favorite on the Today Show, tall, funny guy.
“I thought what a great personality,” said Springer.
When the meteorologist left, Springer thought that Barry might be different from Scott instead of bringing in another weather expert.
“I went to … the general manager,” said Springer. “He was new to town. And I said there’s this guy, a real personality. Young people listen to him on the radio. “
Barry would be perfect, Springer promised the general manager.
And it was him. Although Steve Horstmeyer (then at WLWT and now at FOX19) had to teach him how to do the weather, Springer said.
“People were looking for Pat just like me and Norma (Rashid),” said Springer.
The friendship between Barry and Springer was a bit like that of the nerd and the popular man, the latter being Barry, Springer said.
“He would always piss me off because I was a little nerdy,” said Springer. “Whenever it was my birthday he would wish me a happy birthday in the air and always add a few years knowing that I couldn’t really disprove him.”
The two remained friends after the radio show, where it was Barry who taught Springer.
“We had great times together,” said Springer.
“A Way to Make Everyone Laugh”: Pat Barry’s career makes a difference
On the podcast, Barry noted that many TV weathermen like Al Roker from the “Today” show don’t have degrees in meteorology. “I owe (current WXIX meteorologist Steve) to Horstmeyer because I knew nothing when I went in there,” said Barry, adding that he also took classes and studied a lot.
He also showed his far more sentimental side on Channel 5 as a spokesman for the Ruth Lyons Children’s Fund. Childless himself, he would say that after many wet eye visits with children in the hospital to see the fruits of the funds’ efforts, it was the most momentous role he has ever had in his broadcast.
In 1994 WLWT let go of Barry and was hired by WXIX-TV (Fox 19) in 1995. In 1996 he was the first weather anchor for the new “19 in the Morning” news and soon after became co-host of the show. He left Fox 19 in 1999 but returned to the station as a weekend weather anchor in the 2000s. Barry said he spent 15 years on and off at WXIX.
Tricia Macke worked with Barry when she got her start in the television business.
“Pat Barry made the weather and he always had a chance to make everyone laugh by making fun of things and then filling the room with his loud, loud laughs. He gave me advice on how to be easy on other people Making television look good just by watching me say something in a toss, “she said. “We’ve been friends for over 30 years and it’s difficult to summarize thoughts or memories about him because I don’t think anyone will do him justice.”
She said Barry loved comparing him to Rodney Dangerfield, and he loved posing. She said he would text her before and during the news broadcast offering a Cincinnati tidbit about this or that person or tell me he liked my hair parted right or left … I couldn’t believe he noticed, but it was who he was. Detail oriented. He’s the Rain Man from Cincinnati Factoids. Name a person and chances are that not only did he meet them at some point in his life, but that he can give you an idea of who that person was. “
Macke said Barry has always been a positive influence in her life.
“Pat was always the person I would seek advice from,” she said. He had a quick mind, he was one of the best people I have ever known. I will miss him very much! “
“I got on the radio and worked all over Ohio.”
In the Waycross Community Media interview, Barry said he started on the radio in Springfield, Ohio, when he was 16 in 1968 when he finished his junior year of high school helping a DJ at WIZE.
“I should be the band director and go to Ohio State University,” Barry said in an interview. “Somehow I got on the radio and worked all over Ohio and Indiana and Florida too.”
He came to Cincinnati in 1974 to work at WSAI-AM and left in 1978 to air WOKV in Hamilton. After a year and a half, he left to serve as a program director at a station in Tampa for Cincinnati-based Taft Broadcasting Station for a year and a half, “and then came back with them” at Q102.
Janeen Coyle. Now at WGRR-FM Radio, worked with Barry on Q-102 in the 80’s.
“Pat has always been the life of the party. He’s never had a cloudy day. We grew up together all those years ago and all I know is that in heaven he’s driving the big guy crazy with his best Rodney Dangerfield impression. We loved him and we will. ” miss his “big kid” smile and his even bigger heart.
While at WLWT, Barry also had a talk show on WKRC-AM, which was also broadcast on seven Clear Channel Oldies stations nationally.
Barry has also appeared on WLW-AM, WMOJ-FM and WDJO-AM.
Barry was hired by WDJO in 2014 said The Enquirer“I’ve worked differently everywhere. I thought I’d give these guys a chance.”
A week after leaving WDJO in 2018, Barry landed in the classic land WNKN-FM (105.9) and WNKR-FM (106.7).
“He’s done rock, pop, talk, and oldies formats on the radio – and done the weather and hosted shows on television – but he was never a country music DJ.” wrote WVXU media reporter John Kiesewetter, the former television and radio critic Enquirer.
The friends list was a “Who’s Who” of Cincinnati
John Cranley, Mayor of Cincinnati, said Barry loved Cincinnati.
“Pat Barry has had several careers. First and foremost, I think because he loved Cincinnati so much and that love made him popular with our people, ”said Cranley.
Barry was friends with a “who’s who” of the Cincinnati lights.
Former Cincinnati mayor Charlie Luken called Barry “unique”.
Luken, who worked in the media before becoming mayor, said Barry was a source of information about the city.
“He had an infectious roaring laugh,” said Luken.
Barry was also good friends with the National Baseball Hall of Famer and the Cincinnati Reds’ former great Johnny Bench for several decades.
A layoff from friends Dennis Janson and Bina Roy stated that Johnny’s three sons considered Barry “Uncle Pat” and that Barry often spent Christmas and other holidays in the Bench enclave with no immediate family of his own. Bench has been closely following medical developments over the past few weeks but was deeply saddened by the news.
“I’ve never known someone who could make me laugh so uncontrollably. Who was so valued by so many people. When I first met him, he cheerfully pointed out his cosmetic label to me: ‘Big Kid’ ‘was and that was he and more, “Bench said in the press release.
“Bigger than life and the best friend you could ever wish for. A true professional in the truest sense of the word. He took life seriously, but always laughed at it. He was my friend, an award that I share with hundreds of others who felt the same way. ”
An article on the WNKN / WNKR website iloveclassiccountry.com attributes Barry’s relationship with teaching to enjoy country music.
“Johnny was still playing in the early 80s, and whenever the two of them drove around together, Johnny had country music on the radio. Pat has been a country music fan ever since,” the post said.
Pat Barry leads others as a “mentor and supporter”
Although he never married, Pat had a group of friends and co-workers who considered him a big brother / defender. He was always more than ready to give advice and guidance to young women and men pursuing their own broadcasting careers. The industry is full of Pat Barry mentees, his friends said.
Rich Walburg and Barry both worked at Q102, if not at the same time.
Walburg met Barry when Barry was the host of Jim Scott at 700WLW, where Walburg was executive producer on the show.
“When Pat became your friend, he was your friend for life,” said Walburg. “Over the past few years he’s been mentoring and supporting me and helping me start a new career after it aired. He called or texted just to check in or share a joke. I really appreciate his humor, warmth, and friendliness miss.”
Among those who share their admiration and thoughts about Pat’s death is another Hall of Famer, retired Reds legend Marty Brennaman.
“I can’t tell you how sad I am to hear of Pat’s death. When I think of Pat Barry, I think of a man who is always optimistic and always smiling. If you ever need anything, all you have to do is ask and he would tune in without asking questions. The way he passed on is not pleasant to think of, but we can be sure that he is in a better place. Amanda and I will always cherish his friendship. “
Funeral preparations are currently incomplete, but donations to the Ruth Lyons Children’s Fund and the St. Vincent de Paul Society are welcome.
Cameron Knight contributed to this.