From the Sidelines: I am going to miss Rick Campbell both as a radio announcer, and also as a friend
The following From the Sidelines column appeared in the August 7, 2019 print edition of the News Journal…
This past Sunday evening I was enjoying some rare down time at my house with my wife and kids. At one point I decided to hop on the computer to check a few things, and that is when I was totally caught off guard by the terrible news that Mr. Rick Campbell had suddenly passed away after suffering a major heart attack.
I was floored. I couldn’t believe it. I had just spoken to Rick in person not that long ago, and now I’m learning that he’s gone? Just awful…
Rick, of course, has been one of our region’s most beloved radio personalities for many years. His unmistakable voice is known by countless listeners who have tuned in to hear him play great tunes, do live remote broadcasts at various businesses, and of course, announce local ball games.
Covering sports for the News Journal over the past several years means Rick and I have been around each other a lot at football fields and basketball courts between Corbin, London, Williamsburg, Jellico, Harlan, Hazard and pretty much everywhere in between.
Whenever I spoke to Rick he was always super-nice to me. I never saw him in a bad mood. He always seemed to be happy doing what he was doing.
Many times we would chat with each other during breaks in the action when I would step outside the gym during halftime of a basketball game to find him grabbing a quick smoke before he had to go back on the air. That’s probably what I’ll remember most about him, as a matter of fact.
The last time I saw Rick was just before the July 4th weekend. He had just wrapped up a live remote at Thunder Sams Fireworks down in Jellico, and I approached him in the parking lot before going in to buy a few sparklers and bottle rockets to set off with my son.
Rick and I stood there beside the store for probably ten minutes, discussing the possibilities of the upcoming high school football season. As an announcer for Williamsburg along with the one-and-only Stan “the Man” Lovett, we specifically talked about how much potential the Yellow Jackets would have coming into the fall of 2019. It was pretty hot out that day, so we didn’t talk long. Besides, he had to get all of his equipment back to the station, and I had fireworks to buy. We said our “see you laters,” and that was it.
Of course, I walked away from that conversation thinking I’d be seeing him and Stan in the announcer’s booth together several times throughout the course of the football season. There would be plenty more chances to say howdy, and hopefully celebrate some big Williamsburg victories.
Sadly, that will not be the case.
When I got in my vehicle to come to work Monday morning of this week my radio just so happened to be tuned to 102.7. A classic rock song was playing, Fleetwood Mac I think, and it suddenly hit home that I would never again hear Rick on the air saying “WeRock, theeee classic rock station!”
If you’ve heard him say it, which I’m sure many of you have, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I was really bummed out in that moment, forced to accept the harsh reality that we had lost one of the all-around best radio professionals this area has ever seen.
It just won’t be the same without him.
Of course, this loss will be toughest for those who were closest to Rick – his dearest friends, family members and his coworkers at the radio station. My thoughts and prayers certainly go out to all of those folks during this difficult time.
As for the rest of us, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Rick Campbell for the many great memories that he has helped produce over the years. I’m sure that I speak for a large number of fans when I say that you will be greatly missed, and never forgotten.