Remembering Dave Durian

Paul Stevens

Dave Durian, one of the finest journalists to come out of Fort Dodge and beloved in Baltimore where he was a former anchor for WBAL radio, was a friend and classmate of mine when we attended Fort Dodge Community College back in the 1960s.

I join many of his friends in mourning his loss. Dave died of complications of cancer and a stroke in late January at his home in Baltimore County at the age of 72.

One of his WBAL colleagues, John Patti, said in his obituary that “Dave had a Midwestern familiarity to him. He was your friend.” That familiarity came from growing up in Fort Dodge, the son of Robert F. Durian, a sporting goods and insurance salesman, and his wife, Marilyn “Mimi” Green, a copy editor at The Messenger.

Dave was a 1964 graduate of Fort Dodge High School and the two of us – and my wife Linda – served together on the FDCC Student Senate. Dave was president of the student body in 1965-66. He worked at KWMT/KKEZ as a news announcer. Dave earned a journalism degree from Iowa State University and spent two years in the Peace Corps. He was sent to the Western Caroline Islands and while there, he met his future wife Martha. He served two years in Palau, a South Pacific Island, where his father fought the Japanese during World War II, and he helped start or expand a radio station in the town of Koror. It was there he met his wife who was also a Peace Corps volunteer.

He came to Baltimore in 1982 by way of Rock Island, Illinois, Kansas City and KDKA in Pittsburgh, where he was an Evening Magazine co-host, and became a lead anchor at WBAL-TV 11. He spent more than three years as the television news anchor. Dave then left the station and worked at Maryland Public Television. In 1988 he returned to WBAL Radio as a show host, where he remained until he stepped down in 2012. For many years he also appeared on television for the noon news.

He became known as “Morning Dave.” A 2009 Sun story quoted WBAL general manager Ed Kiernan as saying: “Dave Durian is the locomotive that drives the train.”

In addition to his wife Martha, survivors include his daughter, Amy Durian Backhaus of Phoenix in Baltimore County; a brother, Steven Durian of Geneseo, Illinois; a sister, Diane Maxwell of Madison, Wisconsin; and five grandchildren. His son, Adam Durian, died in 1999.