Ralph Collier was an interviewer extraordinaire. He was born Ralph Kisch in Germany’s capital city, Berlin. His dad was from the United States and his mother was German. This was during the reign of the Nazis and Adolph Hitler, so in order to avoid the Jewish persecution, they family moved to America. Ralph was a young lad, not yet in his teens.
In 1943, Collier enlisted in the US Army and went to the European theater. He served with the Fifth Mobile Radio Broadcasting Unit, which conducted psychological warfare in opposition to the Nazi troops.
At the war’s conclusion, Ralph was employed in broadcasting in New York City (NBC) and moved to Rochester, NY to start a career in television. There, he was the host of “Cinderella Weekend.” That was a syndicated format with each station providing their own host. Then, he came to Philadelphia and WCAU Radio where he had his own program called, “Hi Neighbor.” He also filled in as host on WCAU’s version of “Cinderella Weekend.”
During the sixties, Collier went to WFLN Radio that was owned by founding member of this organization, Ray Green. Ray was the first Vice-President of Broadcast Pioneers. Stanley Broza was our first president.
At the same time, he also did PR for the Philadelphia Art Museum. Later, he was the president of the Campbell Soup Tureen Museum in Camden. He often traveled around the globe when the collection was on display throughout the world. He held that position from 1975 to 1990.
At the end of the 80s, Collier left WFLN in a dispute with the new owners in the direction the station should go. In 1997, when WRTI-FM started its split format (classical during the day and jazz at night), Broadcast Pioneers member Dave Conant talked Collier into doing travel segments and interviews for the station. Ralph did this for 14 years.
He passed away on January 29, 2013 at Pennsylvania Hospital from heart failure. He was 91 years old. Until his death, he wrote travel pieces for the Main Line Times. His career spanned seven decades.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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