In the late 1990s, my since departed uncle loved listening to a few different programs on WIOD Miami. He wasn’t big on sports commentary, which there was some amount of, but he really loved the programs by the late Neil Rogers and Rick and Suds.
It saddened me to learn this morning that Suds Coleman has passed after a battle with cancer.
I’ll never forget one broadcast of his in particular… As a kid, I didn’t really get a lot of the humor of the shows my uncle liked on WIOD, so I didn’t listen that often, but then he and Rick Riley were there to keep us company through Andrew.
Hurricane Andrew rolled into the Miami area on August 24, 1992. Almost immediately, the television stations went dark and a lot of the other radio stations vanished from the dial or fell dead air. However, of all the goofy places you would not expect to be unaffected… the two tower AM directional in the middle of the freaking BAY stayed up, and WIOD still had power. Their building stood on stilts (a VERY WISE design choice!) and everything stayed powered off their generator and fully on air.
Meanwhile, Rick and Suds were up there in the studio looking down, and from their vantage point, it looked like the bay was just knocking on the station’s door. It probably was, considering how vulnerable the area is to storm surge. The WSVN studio next door had three feet of salt water in it and they were off air. At this point they had lost all telephone lines and other means of communication with the outside world, but were still on the air…. and they were just providing commentary on the objects and satellite dishes from WSVN flying past their windows.
They didn’t have much to report other than that due to the loss of communications, but hearing them on the air from a darkened house buried in about 30 feet of uprooted trees with flaming pieces of debris from a nearby tree that was hitting the power lines somehow managed to convince me that we’d all go outside the next morning and everyone else would still be there.
It’s things like that which will always show just how valuable the local broadcasters are to the community, and I thank him so much for his contributions.
… Back at’cha.