Broadcast pioneer, sportscaster, Utah radio station owner and advertising executive Paul Droubay died Monday in Salt Lake City. He was 86.
"He was a pioneer and an innovator," said Terry Mathis, whose family has owned a number of Utah radio stations. "He was a visionary as well."
Mathis said that when Droubay owned Ogden station KDAB B101 (now known as KBER in Salt Lake City), he petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to allow him to move the station's transmitter from Ogden to Farnsworth Peak. Before then, stations were required to have their transmitter in the city where they were licensed.
After a lengthy fight, Droubay convinced the FCC that a station should be allowed to have the most advantageous transmitter site to better serve communities and to expand coverage to nearby areas, which was a decision that changed the radio industry throughout the United States.
"There are many people like me who recognize the profound impact that Paul had on the industry," Mathis said.
Droubay also served as a mentor to many young broadcasters. "I remember him more as a mentor when I started in radio at 17 at KWIC radio," said Reece Stein, a longtime Utah television and radio reporter. "I would sign on early Saturday and Sunday. He came in and relieved me and told me where the coffee shop was to get his Thermos of coffee filled. He was a good guy."
Droubay was a popular on-air radio personality and was part of a group of disk jockeys known as the Fabulous Five at KLUB radio.
He began his career as a disk jockey in Pocatello, Idaho Falls and Twin Falls, Idaho, before becoming a sportscaster at KUTV Channel 2. When the Utah Stars came to Salt Lake City in the early 1970s, he served as a color commentator with sportscaster Bill Marcroft for a fledgling cable television network. He was also an advertising sales executive and co-owned KSXX and 101 FM, now KBER.
Droubay was active in civic organizations, serving as president of the Salt Lake Exchange Club. He belonged to the Salt Lake City and Ogden Chambers of Commerce and the Knights of the Round Table.
He was born Sept. 11, 1926, in Erda and graduated from East High School before serving as an Air Force flight engineer based in The Philippines during World War II. He attended the University of Utah where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.
Droubay married June Greer, a former rodeo queen from Idaho Falls. The couple had three sons, Don, Greg and Mike, who followed him into the broadcasting field.
He retired in June 1987, and spent most of his retirement years in Phoenix, where he was an avid tennis player, golfer and horseback rider.