KMEM radio host signs off air for the last time

For over three decades, Rick Fischer's voice could be heard across the airwaves. (Photo Courtesy: Edina Sentinel)

A well-known radio host in northeast Missouri has signed off air for the last time.

For over three decades, Rick Fischer's voice could be heard across the airwaves.

But on Friday, he hung up his headphones at KMEM in Memphis for the last time.

The small country music station is part of the fabric of Memphis, and northeast Missouri, too.

And Fischer has been there since before the station signed on air on March 29, 1982.

"It was an exciting time, and the whole reason I have stayed here was because I wanted to be close to family. We have just always tried to make that more or less our number one priority and I've been fortunate in that regard."

A graduate of Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Fischer holds degrees in theater and English, but he also has a strong background in communications.

However, making a career in radio was not his original plan.

After college, Fischer hoped to pursue a job in theater.

But one day, Fischer's mother found a newspaper clipping about Sam Berkowitz's plans to establish KMEM.

"My mom said, 'Well, you did some radio when you were in college, why don't you go to Memphis, Missouri, and talk to this guy,and maybe he will hire you, and you can work there until you figure out what it is you want to do for the rest of your life.' Well, here I am, 35 years later, and I still haven't grown up. I haven't really figured out what I want to do with the rest of my life, but it's been spent here at KMEM."

Fischer began his duties as an on-air personality. Later in his career, he moved on to become news and programming director.

After all of his years spent at the station, Fischer says he is leaving with a lifetime of accomplishments and memories.

"I could tell some funny stories, I could tell some sad stories. Probably though, one where we had the biggest effect was when we covered the flood in 1993. We helped people out, people who were displaced out of their homes."

In addition to news coverage, Fischer has been one of the station's color commentators for high school football since the late '80s.

He says that while every year is fun, one in particular sticks out most in his memory.

"In 2008, Ron Block and I called the state championship game for the Clark County Indians. They went to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis and won. That was fantastic."

Earlier this month Fischer announced his plans to retire from KMEM.

He says he is keeping his end of the deal that he made with his wife many years ago.

"The deal was, when Teresa agreed to marry me, I said you realize if you marry me you get the whole package. And she said ,'What does that mean?' and I said, 'Well, I kind of have been working at KMEM for a while, and I think I'll probably stay, and you know what that means. That means you're going to have to put up with me being gone a lot of nights for different things.' She said, 'That's alright, I think I can handle it.' So, now it's time for me to pay her back."

Fischer says he plans to do that by completing a "honey-do" list with 15 years worth of projects.

And when asked the important question of what he plans to do during retirement, Fischer says he may write a book that shares his favorite memories and moments from his time with KMEM.

He also wishes to thank his co-workers and listeners for their continued support over the years.

Fischer says even though he may be retiring, people will still see him around the community.

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