Longtime WAMU host Ed Walker to retire

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Walker (Photo: Anthony Washington/WAMU)

Walker (Photo: Anthony Washington/WAMU)

Ed Walker, a longtime host on WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C., and a co-founder of the station, will retire Sunday after more than 60 years on the radio.

Walker, 83, has been diagnosed with cancer and will retire to focus on his health, according to WAMU.

Walker has hosted the WAMU program The Big Broadcast since 1990, featuring vintage radio comedies and dramas Sundays 7–11 p.m. WAMU’s longest-running show, The Big Broadcast has aired weekly since 1964. Walker helped start WAMU’s AM predecessor in 1951. He was the first blind student admitted to American University, which owns the station.

Walker later became well-known on commercial radio in the Washington area as one of the “Joy Boys,” co-hosting a daily improvised comedy show along with Willard Scott. They appeared on radio station WRC from 1955 to 1972.

Walker was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2009.

“Ed has been part of the fabric of this town — starting with his student days at American University, as one of ‘The Joy Boys’ during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and for the last 25 years as the guy who brought families and friends around the radio on Sunday nights to hear old-time stories on The Big Broadcast,” said J.J. Yore, g.m. at WAMU, in a statement on Walker’s retirement. “We are grateful to Ed and I know thousands of listeners across the decades are, too. We will miss him.”

Rob Bamberger, host of WAMU’s Hot Jazz Saturday Night, will step in as interim host of The Big Broadcast. The station said it will look for a permanent host to replace Walker.

Here’s a 2014 interview with Walker on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show:

And a clip of the final broadcast of The Joy Boys: