Rich Landrum

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Richard E. Landrum (born March 31, 1946) is best known as a radio and TV broadcaster. He started his broadcasting career at the age of 16.

Career[edit]

1960s[edit]

Landrum started his broadcasting career at the age of 16 while still in high school, working part-time as a news reporter for the original WLEE-AM (now WTOX) radio station under the mentorship of its vice-president and general manager Harvey Hudson. At that time WLEE was the #1 Top 40 station in Richmond. During an interview, Landrum stated, "It was quite unusual for anyone to start at a number one station. If it hadn’t been for Harvey Hudson and his faith and me, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity.".[citation needed]

Landrum stayed with WLEE for four years and moved to WTVR-AM, another Richmond radio station. That lasted about a year and he returned to WLEE.

During his time with WLEE, Landrum worked with a number of well-known Richmond broadcasters, including Harvey Hudson, Lud Sterling, Jess Duboy, Jim Granger, George Prescott and Bill Adams (the former producer of the Dick Clark Radio Show).

1970s[edit]

While assistant manager for a Little League Baseball team with Neil Kuvin, the station manager for WXEX-TV8 (now WRIC-TV), Kuvin convinced Landrum to move to WXEX-TV. At first, Landrum was not sure he wanted to move to TV, as he really enjoyed the anonymity of radio.[1] Kuvin finally convinced him and Landrum started his TV career as a field reporter and news photographer. Shortly thereafter, in addition to being a field reporter, he hosted the afternoon version of Dialing for Dollars and filled in as a sports presenter on the 6:00 & 11:00 news, when needed.

During this time, at the behest of one of his friends, he attended a local professional wrestling match at the State Fair Grounds of Virginia at Strawberry Hill (now Richmond International Raceway). Shortly before the matches were to start, Joe Murnick, the local promoter, approached him. Murnick explained that the announcer from Channel 6, who usually did the ring announcing had not shown up, and asked if Lundrum would be interested in filling in for a small payment.[2] Landrum agreed, and after the show was over he was hired as their regular weekly Richmond Ring Announcer.

In 1972, Landrum left WXEX-TV8, as he was uncertain that he wanted to continue his broadcast career.[3] He entered the automobile business, but still maintained his ties with wrestling as a ring announcer. In 1977, after local wrestling had moved permanently to the Richmond Coliseum, he was approached by George Scott, who was then the booker for Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) of Charlotte, North Carolina. JCP promoted wrestling throughout the mid-Atlantic states and produced two syndicated professional wrestling TV shows (Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and World Wide Wrestling). Scott said that they wanted Landrum to audition as a promo announcer for their two TV shows and asked him to come to Raleigh, the following week, when they taped the promos and shows at WRAL-TV. Landrum showed up and later said, "It was the longest and hardest afternoon" he had ever had in broadcasting.[4] Nevertheless, he was given the job and his broadcasting career in professional wrestling started in earnest.

In 1978, Landrum took over the commentary for the revamped World Wide Wrestling (formerly Wide World Wrestling). Johnny Weaver, who provided the color commentary, later joined him. Weaver was a well-known wrestler in the JCP stable. Landrum dubbed him “The Dean of Professional Wrestling” on the opening of their show one night, and that nickname stuck for the rest of Weaver’s career.[5] Not to be outdone, Weaver started calling Landrum “The Voice”.

It has often been reported that of all the announcer teams of that era, Weaver and Landrum are the most remembered for their smooth approach, their interaction with one another and their respect for their contemporaries.[6]

1980s[edit]

In 1982, after Crockett moved its TV taping operation to WPCQ in Charlotte, North Carolina, Landrum was let go in a cost-cutting measure. In 1983, he was approached by George Scott, who was then booking for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Scott explained that they were looking for a third announcer. Landrum did not take much convincing, and he went to Baltimore, Maryland for an audition. He stayed with the WWF for about a year. After the WWF there was a short spell with the ICW hosting their TV shows from Boston.

1990s[edit]

In 1998, Landrum switched gears entirely and entered the retail hardware business working for a local True Value Hardware in the Tri-Cities area. It was here that he started the hearth business (gas logs, fireplaces, gas log stoves, etc.) for the owner. According to Landrum, the owner was reluctant to do it, but after months of persistence, he agreed with one condition:

You take it, you run it and if it fails it’s on you

In its first year, the store set record winter sales and it grew each year, until the owner retired in 2000 and turned the hearth business over to Landrum.

2000s[edit]

In May 2000, Landrum founded American Hearth and Home and has been the owner ever since. However, he has never lost touch with professional wrestling, as he makes personal appearances at wrestling shows and fanfests throughout Virginia and the Carolinas. "I love meeting and seeing the fans. They call me a ‘legend’, but I’m not sure I qualify for that," Landrum said.[7] He also maintains close ties with many of the wrestlers he worked with during his career and relishes the opportunity to get together with them as often as possible.[citation needed] "It’s like turning back the clock to the most exciting and enjoyable career of my life. But, sadly, my partner Johnny Weaver is no longer with us."[8]

Personal life[edit]

Landrum has been married three times and has a grown son (Corey) and a grandson (Stone) from his first wife. He had no children with his second wife. He is married to his third wife and has two stepchildren.

Landrum is a member of Colonial Heights Baptist Church, where he is the assistant coordinator for its Emergency Medical Response Team. He is a Life Member of the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad and a graduate of Boyce Bible School.

See also[edit]

Jim Crockett Promotions

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rich Landrum Interview". Mid-Atlantic Gateway. 
  2. ^ "Rich Landrum Interview". Mid-Atlantic Gateway. 
  3. ^ "Rich Landrum Interview". Mid-Atlantic Gateway. 
  4. ^ "Rich Landrum Interview". Mid-Atlantic Gateway. 
  5. ^ "Rich Landrum Interview". Mid-Atlantic Gateway. 
  6. ^ "Jim Crockett Promotions" (PDF). 
  7. ^ "Miss Congeniality". 
  8. ^ "Miss Congeniality". 

External links[edit]