Johnny Walker
-- general manager of Hara Arena

  Johnny Walker was well-known in Dayton in the 1970s and 1980s as a TV broadcaster on Channel 22, where he hosted the annual Muscular Dystrophy telethon.
  In 1987 he left broadcasting to run Hara Arena and is generally credited with its later success.

Background on Johnny Walker:

   Johnny Walker was born Oct. 8, 1942, in Fostoria, Ohio and began his broadcasting career in 1958 as an announcer at a Fostoria radio station. He came to Dayton in the late 1960s and worked at WING radio before joining WKEF-TV Channel 22 in 1970.

Telethon host

  At Channel 22 Walker was an announcer, did commercials and was recruited to host the local portion of the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy telethon.
  He hosted the annual telethon throughout his 17 years at the station, during which he also appeared on several local television programs, including: the "Morning Movie;" a call-in discussion show called "Contact;" and a daily talk and variety program called "The Johnny Walker Show." He received three local Emmy Awards while hosting an electronic magazine program called "Evening."

Move to Hara

  By 1987 Walker was news director and vice president of broadcasting operations. In May of that year he announced he was leaving broadcasting to become executive vice president at Hara Arena.
  At Hara, Walker mended relations with neighborhood residents, got the arena a liquor license and sought major sporting events.
  Hara became home for the Dayton Dynamo soccer team. When the Dynamo left, Walker brought in the Dayton Bombers minor league hockey team.
  The Bombers were at Hara for five years before moving to the Ervin J. Nutter Center. Walker then made a deal with another hockey team, the Dayton Ice Bandits.

A baseball team?

  In March 1997, Walker announced he had an agreement with a minor league baseball team, which would move to greater Dayton to play at a new stadium he said he would build with private funds.

File created: 3-20-1997

Sources:
DDN 8-26-1987, "Johnny Walker to leave Channel 22," by Dale Huffman
DDN 5-29-1988, "Johnny Walker : Hara as consuming as Channel 22-- and that's fine with him," by Bob Batz
DDN 3-19-1997, "Hara's Walker says he's on first"