THE LONGTIME RADIO AND TV PERSONALITY WILL BE SKEWERED, ROASTED AND TOASTED BY HIS “FRIENDS” IN THE NAME OF CHARITY.
STORY BY STEVE KAUFMAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANTONIO PANTOJA
Photographed at Le Moo | 2300 Lexington Ave. in Louisville | www.lemoorestaurant.com | 502.458.8888
What could Terry Meiners have been thinking?
The radio/TV personality who has made his living tossing barbs at other people on the air has voluntarily agreed to be the main course for an evening titled, Roast & Toast: Terry Meiners. He’ll be the pot roast, as it were.
The event, on Thursday, March 3, at the Marriott Downtown, will provide a platform for a panel of high-profile notables to gather and tear Meiners apart – for the sake of charity. The beneficiary is Seven Counties Services Child & Family Division, the non-profit provider of mental health treatment and support. Agreeing to be roasted (and toasted, mind you) is an act of charity by Meiners, whose close friend Mike Kremer was Seven Counties’ CEO until he died a year ago at age 56.
“I remember being in Mike’s garage as kids, pretending to be the Beatles,” Meiners recalled. “Mike had a drum set, so he was Ringo. I was Paul, and I strummed a tennis racket. I guess I had Paul hair back then.”
Expect no charity, however, from the dais.
“Terry is sort of my mentor,” said radio sports jock Tony Vanetti. “I’ve had several mentors, but never one who has been of less help.”
“The guy’s a germaphobe,” said WHAS11 anchor Rachel Platt, who is also Meiner’s co-host on “Great Day Live!” and, along with Kevin Harned, the host of the roast. “He keeps antiseptic soap close by and washes his hands constantly. Every time we shake hands, he rushes to scrub the germs off. I assure you, I’m not a dirty person. Maybe he is.”
And cheap! “I guarantee you, everything he wears was either a gift or a freebie,” Platt said. “I still see him wearing the tie that Vineyard Vines asked him to wear to Derby four years ago.”
“He hasn’t bought a new shirt in decades,” said Vanetti. “His favorite shirt is a giant paisley button-down from the ’70s. And even that, I’m sure, was something he got for free.”
He’s an equal-opportunity offender, “the only guy I can think of who has pissed off both Kentucky and Louisville fans,” Vanetti noted. “He’s disliked by both groups. I guess you have to commend him for that.”
Plus, he’s no kid. “The station has been on the air for 85 years,” added Vanetti, “and Terry has been on the air most of that time.”
Which, perhaps, explains his hairline. “No doubt, someone will mention his hairline,” said Kent Taylor, WAVE 3 sports anchor. “I mean, he’s really bald!”
“The bottom line is, he has a face for radio,” said Bill Lamb, president and general manager of WDRB. “I know he has a thriving TV career, too, but honestly nobody should have to be subjected to looking at him.”
Eventually, as with all roasts, Meiners will get his chance to shoot back at all the people who verbally attack him that night. One can only imagine how such a wicked wit, backed into a corner, will retaliate. Viciously, one would imagine. But here’s the real skinny: This tough guy with the rapier wit and armadillo hide is actually a bowl of mush. A jelly doughnut. The soft candy center.
Consider his outlook on life.
“I wake up every morning raring to go,” said Meiners, “but I’ve met so many people who don’t feel that way. I’ve come to learn that everyone has a bag of burden on their backs, it’s not a cakewalk for anyone, everyone has unforeseen barricades that they have to step around, all kinds of spider webs in their heads. I want to help them find the joy that I have, through my broadcasts.”
Consider his memory of radio success.
“When I moved to Louisville in 1980 with WLRS,” Meiners recalled, “my dad was driving a truck at night and slept during the day. If you came into our house and heard the radio playing upstairs, you knew that dad was sleeping and you’d better be quiet. But you’d always hear Frank Sinatra or Mantovani.
“So I walked in one day, I heard the radio and it was Pink Floyd rolling down the stairs. My dad was listening to rock music, which he hated, just for the chance of hearing his kid’s voice on the radio. That was validating to me.”
Or, consider Meiners’ view on a life well-lived.
“Becoming a parent was the most enlightening, thrilling, scintillating transition in life I’ve known,” he said. “Things opened up within me I didn’t know existed. I want my strength to shroud all four of them and I hope my positivity will elevate them.
“I want to leave the earth some day knowing that they’re okay and happy, that’s all that really matters. That’s Number One in life, and whatever else is Number Two, the second-most important thing in life, is unimportant to me.”
So how can you roast this guy? But he knows his friends will take their best shots. “Oh, they’ll hammer me about my weasel voice, how I ever made a career with this voice; and my face – I’m not exactly (George) Clooney.”
But he was the perfect foil for this inaugural Seven Counties roast. “Everyone knows Terry,” said Gwen Cooper, the organization’s vice president of external affairs.
To raise funds, Seven Counties already runs the BALL Cup Challenge golf tournament in September and Run With Our Heroes, a 5k that’s part of Mayor Fischer’s Week of Valor around Veterans Day in November.
“We needed one more high-end, signature event,” Cooper said. “Nobody needs another gala in this town, but nobody had done a roast for a long time, either.”
So up steps Terry Meiners, all weasel-voiced and hairline-challenged, with a face for radio. He’ll be the subject of this roast but then serve as the emcee for Seven Counties’ annual roasts going forward. And he couldn’t be more ready. “Look, I sling barbs every day. To have them slung back at me seems more than overdue.”
And maybe he thinks the panel will hold back a little. “These are all long-time friends,” Meiners said of the roasters. “They’re all connected to me in one way or another. They’ve all helped me move forward in this timeline of life.”
Like someone once said, “With friends like these . . .” But then again, it’s all for a good cause.
HOW TO COOK A ROAST
WHAT: Roast & Toast Terry Meiners.
WHEN: Thursday, March 3; cocktails begin at 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Louisville Marriott Downtown, 280 W. Jefferson St.How: Tickets are $175 per person and can be ordered online at www.roastandtoast.org or by contacting Julie Mitchell of Seven Counties Services at email@example.com, 502.589.8600.
WHO: Guest of honor, Terry Meiners, host of the “Terry Meiners Show” on 840 WHAS and co-host of “Great Day Live!” on WHAS11. WHAS11 News Anchor Rachel Platt and WAVE 3 Chief Meteorologist Kevin Harned are co-hosts. The roasters include restaurateur Dean Corbett; WLKY Anchor Vicki Dortch; Angie Fenton of WHAS11’s “Great Day Live!” and editor of Extol Magazine; attorney Darryl Isaacs; Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio; University of Louisville professor Dr. Ricky Jones; WDRB President and General Manager Bill Lamb; Anchor Kelsey Starks of “Good Morning Kentuckiana” on WHAS11; WAVE 3 Sports Anchor Kent Taylor; and radio/TV rock jock Tony Vanetti of 790 WKRD and 95.7 WQMF. WAVE 3 News Anchor John Boel, WAVE 3 News Anchor Dawne Gee and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth will roast Meiners via pre-recorded video.
WHO ELSE: Presenting sponsor is WHAS11. Full sponsors are Able Printing; Claims Review Corp.; Extol Magazine; Goodson Clothing & Supply; Masonic Homes of Kentucky; Ron Bath Photography; and Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP. Table sponsors are Atlas Machine & Supply; Cooper Property Management & Landscaping; Isaacs and Isaacs Law Ofﬁce; Kosair Charities; the Meiners family; Sitlinger, McGlincy, & Theiler; and Today’s Woman.
WHY: “It’s All for a Good Cause: Public Humiliation.” It’s also a fund-raiser for Seven Counties Services, Child & Family Division. The goal is to net $100,000 from the event.