Ricci Ware, the legendary San Antonio radio host who first gained fame as a Top 40 air personality for Gordon McClendon-owned KTSA-AM 550 before personally transitioning the station to its current News/Talk format in 1983, died Friday morning at the age of 79.
Ware retired from KTSA, now an Alpha Media station, in 2012. He is a 2014 inductee to the San Antonio Radio Hall of Fame.
Ricci Ware is the father of Trey Ware — a San Antonio radio icon in his own right who presently hosts the 5 a.m.-9 a.m. time slot on KTSA.
In a statement appearing on the KTSA website Friday afternoon, Trey Ware commented, “My hero returned home to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this morning. My dad Ricci Ware was my hero in every sense of the word. He was the greatest father, grandfather, and great-grandfather who ever lived. He never met a stranger, and always had a kind word and a smile for others. God put him here to bring joy to this life, and he did it so very well.
“His integrity and reputation were impeccable. You always knew where you stood with him because he was honest and straight-forward in all his dealings with everyone. He was a one-of-a-kind talent who had the natural ability to make you laugh and feel better about life in all circumstances. He could also cause you to think – deeply. From radio to television, movie acting and the stage, race cars to airplanes and motorcycles, he lived every minute of his 79 years.”
Ware says his family is “taking private time to be with each other” and will release information “about his home-going celebration” soon.
A 55-YEAR MARKET RUN
Ricci Ware began his radio career in the mid-1950s in Baytown, Texas. With his high-school sweetheart Mimi now his wife, they moved to Austin, Texas, where he took a job at KTBC radio and television — then-owned by future President Lyndon B. Johnson.
While passing through Austin, McLendon heard Ricci on the radio and offered him a job at KTSA. He stayed at the Top 40 station through the early 1970s, when he shifted to Country KBUC-AM 1310 and developed his Talk radio techniques, mixing humor with political commentary.
Along with his trend-setting talk-fueled morning show at KBUC, Ware was the owner of Pan American Speedway and a weatherman on ABC affiliate KSAT-12 in San Antonio.