Veteran broadcaster Ron Nickell died Sunday, May 15th, after suffering a series of strokes. He was 69.
Having begun his career at a teenage DJ in Lexington, KY, Nickell became the manager of WHOO-AM Orlando and VP of group owner Bluegrass Broadcasting. “It is my opinion that Ron’s greatest performance was selling for Gene Chenault at Drake Chenault and for Tom Merriman at TM productions,” said longtime friend and business associate Ron Crider, who had Nickell as VP/GM of his Gulfstream Broadcasting Companies’ radio stations in Florida at one point.
After Nickell’s success at TM, Crider said Kenny Rogers recruited his friend to head a new company which produced national TV shows. That included “The Spirit of America Spectacular” in 1981, hosted by Wolfman Jack and Charlie Tuna from the site where the Queen Mary is permanently docked in Long Beach, CA. Performers on the live radio and TV simulcast included Three Dog Night and The Beach Boys.
Even later Nickell returned to radio management as VP/Operations Manager of the 40 stations owned by Willis Broadcasting, as well as producing TV shows for Bishop Willis. Finally he ran stations in Colorado and then the Radio Colorado Network.