* Don Wayne, the area's most popular news anchor ever, spent 47 years on the air at WHIO.

Published: Monday, June 2, 1997
By Bob Batz Dayton Daily News

  Wesley Wayne Bouslog, who changed his name to Don Wayne and went on to become the most popular television news anchor the Miami Valley has ever had, died Sunday afternoon at Hospice of Dayton. He was 75.
   Mr. Wayne, nicknamed `Pappy' by his friends, worked for WHIO radio and television for 47 years before retiring in April, 1988.
   Jim Baldridge, who succeeded him as chief news anchor at Channel 7, said, `I followed Don as chief anchor, but I did not fill his shoes.'
   Baldridge, who will mark his 25th year at WHIO in October, figures he did more than 9,600 newscasts with Mr. Wayne. `Don Wayne was the ultimate TV newsman. He's the guy everybody will remember as `the anchor man,' he said.
   Omar Williams, who worked at WDTN-TV (Channel 2) for 45 years and was the station's sports director for 35 years, said, `Don was literally the voice of Dayton. He was a dear, dear friend, and a tremendous, fine, nice gentleman.'
   Mr. Wayne was born in New Castle, Ind., where he got his first announcing experience when one of his high school teachers asked him to read school announcements on the public address system.
   After graduation, Mr. Wayne attended Columbia College of Fine Arts in Chicago, majoring in drama, music and broadcasting. He made his radio debut at WISH-AM in Indianapolis in 1941. That's also where he changed his name.
   `The station manager there told me Wesley Wayne Bouslog would have to go,' Wayne recalled many years later. `I suggested using my middle name as my last name. He said, `Fine, and let's stick a Don in front of it.''
   Mr. Wayne left WISH and after a six-month stint at WKMO-AM in Kokomo, Ind., he came to WHIO-AM in 1942.
   Don Wayne's newscasting career on WHIO-TV began in the early 1950s.
   He started as an announcer, doing play-by-play of high school basketball and football games, hosting dance remotes and directing radio dramas. He supplemented his $32.50-a-week salary by playing drums at the old Idle Hour Club on Brandt Pike.
   In 1949, shortly after WHIO-TV (Channel 7) went on the air, he was offered a job at the TV station.
   `In those days, Channel 7 had a fella named Stu Strand, who was Dayton's first TV newsman,' Mr. Wayne recalled many years later. `Stu used to sit on a desk in the studio with a big cigar in his mouth and deliver the local newscasts.'
   One day, the station manager gave Strand an ultimatum.
   `He told Stewart to get rid of the cigar or he wouldn't be working at the station any more. Later that day, Stu went on the air with the stogie in his mouth and the next morning he was gone from the station. That's when they asked me if I'd like to work for the TV station and I said, `Sure.''
   Mr. Wayne's trademarks included a crisp, Walter Cronkite-style delivery ... and a penchant for corny jokes. He ended many newscasts with a one-liner.
   `I even bought a joke book to use,' he confessed in 1982 while celebrating his 40th year at WHIO. `Sometimes I'd get in a bit of trouble because some of the jokes had double meanings. But the people, they loved those jokes.'
   Then he added: `In the old days, you could play around and have fun on a newscast. Today, everything is timed down to the second, and you don't run over any more telling jokes.'
   Highlights of Mr. Wayne's broadcasting career included live broadcasts from the Vietnam War in 1966 and his 1981 coverage of the Americans held hostage in Iran.
   In 1969, he was one of seven correspondents chosen to report public reaction to the U.S. moon landing for Walter Cronkite's CBS Evening News. In 1986, Mr. Wayne was selected as one of America's top 10 newscasters in a popularity poll conducted in the country's 50 largest cities by Herb Altman Communications Research.
   In 1987, more than 250 people showed up at the Mandalay Banquet Center to pay tribute to Mr. Wayne. In 1996, he was inducted into the WHIO/WHKO Radio Hall.
   Johnny Walker, a former news director at WKEF-TV (Channel 22), said Mr. Wayne had enormous impact on the Dayton area.
   `He was a consummate broadcaster because he knew the business and he knew the community. I know this sounds old, but I really don't think today's broadcasters compare with those of 20 or 30 years ago, who could do anything on the air and do it well.'
   Channel 2 news anchor Carl Day said Mr. Wayne was the quintessential newsman.
   "Anchors tend to come and go, but Don became an institution here. He was a great guy ... and a helluva drummer, too."
   Mr. Wayne is survived by: wife Patricia (Patti); sons and daughters-in-law Tim and Elaine Bouslog of Springfield, and David and Jolene Bouslog of Sarasota, Fla.; daughter Beverly, and daughter and son-in-law Sherry and Mike Reis, all of Sarasota, Fla., and several grandchildren.
   Funeral arrangements are being handled by Routsong Funeral Home.