‘He was the Walter Cronkite of the Wabash Valley’: Remembering Martin Plascak

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Martin Plascak had one of the most recognizable voices in the Wabash Valley.

His son, Marty Plascak, said that many people in the area wouldn’t recognize Martin’s appearance because he was a radio personality. However, his famed voice would give his identity away.

But, Plascak’s story began nearly a century ago as a first-generation American citizen. His mother tragically died during childbirth and with is father being forced to work extremely long hours, Plascak and his three siblings grew up in an orphanage.

However, this is where is his broadcasting dreams would begin.

“They waited tables and cleaned up afterwards and he said my dad was broadcasting back then,” Marty Plascak explained. “He would have a broom in his hand and would act like it was a microphone and broadcast.”

Shortly after graduating from Indiana State University, Plascak would be drafted to the Korean War and would spend roughly 16 months overseas. Upon his arrival back to the states, Plascak would dive into the broadcasting world.

He joined WBOW-AM radio in 1951 where he would go on to work there for 25 years. He would earn the ‘News Director’ title just three years later in 1954.

With one of the most recognizable voices in the Wabash Valley, he drew attention from big broadcasting companies in Chicago and Indianapolis. However, his son said that Martin’s love for the Valley was just too strong to accept any other offers.

“I’ve heard it said that he was the Walter Cronkite of the Wabash Valley,” Marty Plascak said. “He could’ve went to Chicago or New York but he really loved the Terre Haute area.”

In total, Plascak would be the ‘News Voice of the Wabash Valley’ for over 40 years.

Plascak would go on to rack up multiple broadcasting accolades. In 1996, he was inducting into the Associated Press Hall of Fame. In 2014, he was inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.

Plascak had a passion for collecting old audio clips of past sporting events and World War II memorabilia. His collection goes shelves high and nearly fills a storage room.

“Lets say a movie was wanting some footage or maybe wanting some audio of an old football game,” Marty Plascak explained. “He has football games from the 1930s and 1940s and they would pay him to use some of that stuff.”

He kept a lot of miscellaneous audio clips around his home. Ironically, his son said that Martin was too humble keep any of his own audio clips.

“He didn’t save anything from himself because he thought he was no big deal,” Marty Plascak said. “He was very humble.”

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