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  • Ledger-Independent

    Day 45: Walt Maher

    By Christy Hoots [email protected],


    A well known Cincinnati television personality was born in Mason County.

    According to local historian Ron Bailey, Walt Maher was born on Dec. 20, 1929 in Mason County. He attended St. Patrick School. However, as Maher loved basketball, and there was no team at St. Patrick School, he eventually transferred to Maysville High School.

    While at MHS, Maher played basketball under Coach Earle Jones. The team one the state championship in 1947.

    “Walt, who had the nickname of Punky when he was growing up in Maysville, used his background of sports to his profession,” Bailey said.

    According to Bailey, after high school, Maher joined the United States Air Force. After leaving the Air Force, he began driving a truck to pay for the College of Music in Cincinnati.

    “After attending the college of music, he took a job at WFTM on Tobacco square. A gentleman from Cincinnati’s WCPO Bill Dawes offered the young Maher a job. Walt started at as a prop boy, and he learned the job from the ground up and it paid off,” Bailey said.

    During his time at WCPO, Maher anchored the news at noon on weekdays and Saturday nights.

    “He along with his friend, Al Schottelkotte dominated the ratings in the Cincinnati area,” Bailey said.

    In 1979, Maher left WCPO and joined WKRC Channel 12. He remained there until his retirement in 1997.

    Bailey said Maher also used his love of basketball to organize and coach the Channel 12 Who-Dos basketball team to raise more than $500,000 for local charities.

    “The Grand Poohbah (as referred to by colleagues) will always be remembered for the downright dynamic personality that he brought to the airwaves. It’s not often a man can wear a pink sports coat and get away with it, but Walt not only wore it…he was famous for it. Walt had a great presence on the air, but his “Movie Star looks” made him so popular around the Tri State,” Bailey said.

    Maher passed away on Oct. 5, 2011 at the age of 81. He was in broadcasting for more than 35 years in the Cincinnati area.

    “His legacy was that his demeanor and class is the stuff of legend,” Bailey said.

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