Thomas Aquinas "Tom" Marr (October 17, 1942 – July 7, 2016) was an American talk radio host on WCBM (680-AM) in Baltimore, Maryland, known for his conservative political views. He spent nearly 20 years as a newsman and sportscaster, including eight seasons as a radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Baltimore Orioles. His radio career spanned close to fifty years, mostly in Baltimore, although he worked in other major markets, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City.
Life and career
While in high school, Marr hosted a high school sports show on WWDC-AM in 1960. After graduating from Montgomery Blair High School of Silver Spring, Maryland, Marr served in the United States Marine Corps until being discharged in 1963. Marr then worked for radio stations in Rhode Island and Salisbury, Maryland then became an announcer for WTAR of Norfolk, Virginia. In 1967, Marr became an anchor and news director for WFBR of Baltimore, and was a panelist and commentator on the award winning call-in show Conference Call. Additionally, he covered the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Colts, and the NBA's Baltimore Bullets for CBS Radio. In the mid-1970s, Tom worked for three years as the weekend sports anchor on Baltimore's WMAR-TV (Channel 2).
From 1979 to 1986, Marr was a radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Baltimore Orioles on the team's flagship station WFBR. After the 1986 season, the Orioles broadcast rights went to another station, and Tom utilized his roots as a newsman and political commentator to embark in what would ultimately evolve into his talk radio career. In addition to his WFBR talk-show, Marr was hired by Philadelphia's WWDB (FM) to host a similar political talk radio show on weekends.
In 1988, WFBR was sold and the new owners dismissed all of the station's on-air personnel while changing the format from news/talk to "oldies" music from the 1950s era. At about the same time, rival station WCBM Radio filed for bankruptcy, went silent shortly thereafter, and was put up for sale. Later that year, WCBM returned to the airwaves under new ownership when Baltimore businessman Nick Mangione, Sr. purchased the station and resurrected it from bankruptcy. Mr. Mangione was an avid listener of talk radio and a fan of WFBR's former talk radio format and line-up. Once he acquired WCBM, Mangione brought most of WFBR's on-air line-up to WCBM, including Marr.
Marr stayed at WCBM until 1996 when he was offered a full-time weekday show on Philadelphia station WWDB-FM, but went back to WCBM in 1997 when they offered him a long-term contract to return. Additionally, Marr cited displeasure with WWDB's programming structure that he said devoted too much time to commercials, traffic reports, and news updates each hour and ownership that pressured him to avoid hot-button political issues in favor of more light-hearted topics, such a "pizza toppings".
Marr was a staple on WCBM's talk-radio line-up after returning to the station in 1997, and his show was the station's lead-in program to the Rush Limbaugh Show. He was called on to do fill-in work for nationally syndicated radio programs, which helped lead to his own nationally syndicated weeknight show on the WOR Radio Network in New York City. Marr made frequent television appearances on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN. Marr also sometimes filled in for host Mark Levin on the nationally syndicated The Mark Levin Show. He was consistently ranked by Talkers Magazine as one of the most influential talk show hosts in the United States as part of their "Heavy Hundred" list.
Tom Marr died at the age of 73 on July 7, 2016, as a result of stroke following back surgery.
- Olesker, Michael (February 29, 1996). "Voice of longevity lost with Marr's departure". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- Tom Marr website – bio
- "Six golden voices of vintage radio remain on the air in Baltimore Broadcasting Success". The Baltimore Sun. April 2, 1995. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- Nortrup, Mike (April 14, 1991). "From Potholes To Politics, Marr Airs It Out On Radio". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- Kaltenbach, Chris (October 12, 1997). "Tom Marr returns after stint in Philadelphia Radio". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- Zurawik, David; Rasmussen, Frederick N. (July 7, 2016). "WCBM talk show host Tom Marr dies at 73". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
- www.tommarr.com — official site, The Tom Marr Show
- Isaacs, Stan. "The Orioles Play Stop The Music," Sports Illustrated, October 8, 1979.
- Appearances on C-SPAN