Ken Maylath

Kenneth Allen Maylath, a veteran Baltimore broadcaster who had been host of "Conference Call" on WFBR-AM and was later news director at WCBM-AM, died of sepsis at Franklin Square Hospital Center. The longtime Parkville resident was 75.

Above, Ken Maylath at the WCBM Studios in 1995. (Jed Kirschbaum, Baltimore Sun / March 21, 1995)

Kenneth Allen Maylath, a veteran Baltimore broadcaster who had been host of "Conference Call" on WFBR-AM and was later news director at WCBM-AM, died Saturday of sepsis at Franklin Square Hospital Center.

The longtime Parkville resident was 75.

Born and raised in Westchester County, N.Y., Mr. Maylath was a 1954 graduate of Croton-Harmon High School in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Mr. Maylath's love of radio began in the 1940s, when he listened to the network broadcasts of Arthur Godfrey, one of his favorite on-air personalities, on WCBS Radio.

When he was in high school, he and a fellow student recorded an entire broadcast day onto a reel-to-reel tape recorder.

"We made up a little hick town in the Midwest and played radio station," he told The Baltimore Sun in a 1995 interview.

While a student at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. — where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa — he worked on the college station, and during summers was on the air at several commercial stations, including an AM station in El Paso, Texas.

After graduating from college in 1958, he served in the Army for two years and attained the rank of lieutenant. Adter leaving the service, he got first full-time job in radio at a station in Erie, Pa., where he played easy-listening music.

"I decided within a couple of months that it was a lot work for not very much money," Mr. Maylath recalled in the 1995 interview.

The next year, he took a job in Elmira, N.Y., as a staff announcer and DJ. He moved to Baltimore in 1962 when he went to work as a staff announcer at WFBR.

What brought Mr. Maylath, a lifelong rail fan, to Baltimore was not a job interview but a railroad excursion to Western Maryland.

"I decided to talk to the station the day before, just on an off-chance," he said in The Sun interview.

By the time he boarded the train, Mr. Maylath had landed a job as a news announcer at WFBR.

"I worked with Ken at WFBR in the 1970s after I got out of college, and his work ethic was second to none. He never missed a day of work," said Ron Matz, who is now a WJZ-TV reporter.

He recalled Mr. Maylath being unable to get his car out during a snowstorm and walking to WFBR's studio on 20th Street.

"He was the Iron Man or Cal Ripken of the news department," he said.

"He had moderated 'Conference Call' back in the day when it was one of the most popular current-events programs ever on Baltimore radio or TV," said Mr. Matz.

"And he did that for a long time. He was a calming influence when the show got chaotic or out of hand at times. He had the ability to bring the tone down."

He recalled Mr. Maylath's rather unusual dance when delivering the news.