By Debbie Israel, APR
President, PROFIT Communications
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s I push the rewind button on my thirtysomething-year career in public relations, one of my all-time career highlights was an opportunity to work with writer/editor and on-air radio personality, Ralph Collier in 2007. Much to my surprise, Ralph passed away last week at the age of 91. In my book, one of the great voices with a real heart and soul for the news business was silenced.
There’s a lot of truth in the fact that we learn from what we’re exposed to…good, bad and indifferent. I’m very thankful to have had the chance to rub elbows with the likes of Ralph who interviewed President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope, Maria Callas, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Julie Andrews and Charlton Heston.
Setting the stage
PROFIT Communications had been retained by Richmond Region 2007 and the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to provide public relations services aimed at the Delaware Valley in observance of the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown.
We accompanied Ralph Collier, distinguished radio broadcaster and travel writer to Richmond, Va. that summer to report on cultural, dining and historic ‘hot-spots’ in the region…it was amazing, educational and fun. And I recall his signature fashion statement being his red suspenders worn with any combination!
Rather than report on all of the exposure given to the Richmond Region 2007 in the Philadelphia media as a result of this three, whirlwind days in the city, my take away was even bigger. Ralph conducted every interview with the ease and candor of a real ‘pro’ who instantly knew how to get to know people. “He had a knack for opening people like a book,” said his wife, Birtan. He was always well-prepared, knowledgeable, kind and genuinely interested in every person he interviewed.
Little known facts about Ralph
- From 1975 to 1990, he was the president of the Campbell Soup Tureen Museum and traveled the world with the mulimillion-dollar collection.
- Until this month, Ralph was writing a weekly travel column for the Main Line Times called Tours and Detours…see the following columns he penned on the Richmond Region while on our watch:
Interesting, somehow I have these visions of a much younger Ralph interviewing the likes of Julia Child, Indira Gandhi, Elvis or Michael Jackson…rest in peace my friend and thanks for the memories!!