Written by: Tom Rieland
Date: February 17, 2017
His booming voice was the first one heard on WOSU TV when the station hit the air on February 20, 1956. Today, he is 95 years young and living in Worthington.
John Schmidt grew up in Columbus, was an All-American pole vaulter at Ohio State in 1944, and a baritone soloist in the OSU Symphonic Choir. He worked for WOSU radio briefly and then went off to work and perform on Broadway. John was one of the leads in Polonaise in 1945.
Meanwhile, he and his wife Mary, an equally amazing performer, were having children and looking for a stable situation. John tells the story of his father, who had a long relationship as a radio program producer for OSU Extension, asking WOSU head Robert Higgy if he had a position for his son. Higgy knew of John’s many talents and called him back to Columbus in September 1955 to be part of the new TV operation.
Here is John and Mary Schmidt in a rare series of filmed promotional spots for Songs For A Summer Evening on WOSU TV circa 1956.
Thanks to the special efforts of Chuck Pennington, President of the SRO Theatre Company in Columbus, for bringing WOSU and John back together!
Please let me know if YOU have any stories related to WOSU history.