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Man Arrested In Crash That Killed Wichita Radio Personality Don Hall

Courtesty of KEYN
Don Hall, who worked in the Wichita radio market for more than 45 years, died Wednesday morning in a traffic accident.

Wichita police have arrested a man following a fatal crash Wednesday morning that killed longtime radio personality Don Hall.

Hall, 70, was on his way to KEYN, where he worked as one of the morning drive-time hosts. Police say he was turning left onto Rock Road from Kellogg Drive when a car traveling south on Rock Road apparently ran a red light.

Police say Ray Watkins, 43, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of second-degree murder. Police think alcohol and drugs were a factor in the crash.

"This is a very sad and tragic case," Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said in a statement. "Don was a big part of the Wichita community for many years. He will be missed."

After working at stations in Pittsburg and Hutchinson, Hall arrived in Wichita in 1974 to work for KEYN. He worked for several other stations in the market before returning to KEYN, where he co-hosted a morning show with Barbara Baan.

Often called "Dancin' Don Hall," he was a popular emcee for charitable events in Wichita and also appeared in television commercials for local businesses.

"Don was one of those people that always kind of left you smiling after you were around him," said Mike Kennedy, the longtime Shocker broadcaster. "He really liked people. He was interested in everbody.

"The first thing he’d say when he saw you was, 'Hey, what's happening with you?' "

Hall also was well known as the arena announcer for Wichita State University men’s basketball games. Since assuming that role at the start of the 1983 season, WSU said he had only missed two games.

"That public address thing is not an easy job," said Kennedy, who began broadcasting Shocker athletics three years before Hall became the arena announcer. "Some people may think it is, but it’s not.

"And he was really good at it and worked really hard to be good at it."

WSU athletic director Darron Boatright said in a statement that Hall "was a special person in Shocker Athletics and brought a lot of joy to our fans and student-athletes during our events."

WSU president Jay Golden tweeted, “All of Shocker Nation is saddened at the loss of Don Hall this morning. He brought so much energy and enthusiasm to @GoShockersMBB games the roundhouse. We @WichitaState send our deepest sympathies to his family and his friends at KNSS. He will be missed.”

And former Shocker player Ron Baker tweeted, “I’m saddened to hear the passing of Shocker legend & PA announcer Don Hall. A very humble individual who was always fun to talk to. … Rest easy my friend!”

A native of Overland Park, Hall was a 1971 graduate of Pittsburg State University, were he played golf. He was a veteran and rode with the Kansas Patriot Guard.

Tom joined KMUW in 2017 after spending 37 years with The Wichita Eagle where he held a variety of reporting and editing roles. He also is host of The Range, KMUW’s weekly show about where we live and the people who live here. Tom is a board member of the Public Media Journalists Association, serving as small station representative, a volunteer coach for League 42 and an adjunct instructor in the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University.