Long-time radio talk show host John Watson dies

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Longtime Wilmington-talk show host John Watson has died.

The announcement was made by a member of his family.

Watson, a broadcast engineer by training, brought a smooth professional style to his talk show, which came during a quarter of a century career at WILM.

The show helped cement the AM station’s unique status as a news-talk station with an audience that included residents of Wilmington, as well as business, education and community leaders in northern Delaware.

Watson was known for his knowledge of history and politics. He wasn’t afraid to take views that were not popular with some of his listeners or question the claims of callers.

Watson ended up falling victim to a format change under WILM’s new owner Clear Channel, now iHeart radio. Under the new owner, the news-talk format was scrapped in favor of syndicated conservative talk shows.

Following his career at WILM, he filled in WDEL, which has retained a locally-based news-talk format.

Watson got his start in radio in high school in Farmville, VA, where he was active in the Civil Rights movement.

He went to serve in the Army Air Force and later graduated from RCA Institute in New York.

He was honored as a Communicator of Achievement by the Delaware Press Association in 2014. Click here for a biography.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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