WSB-AM began its noon newscast Saturday with a story that hit the news gathering organization right at home. Assistant program director Condace Pressley announced that WSB-AM producer Raymond Royal Marshall had collapsed at home and died early Saturday morning at age 43.
Marshall produced The Neal Boortz Radio Show since 1996. No immediate cause of death was known. He is survived by his wife Annette and two daughters Amira, 4, and Ava, 2.
Posting the development on his Facebook page, AJC reporter Mike Morris wrote: “Starting the weekend with a heavy heart. Just found out that a co-worker at [WSB-AM] passed away this morning. As he would have put it, ‘Just damn.'”
The comical phrase often tumbled out of the more moderate Marshall’s mouth while on air with his Libertarian co-worker Boortz whenever the talk show host made one of his more outrageous comments.
For longtime Boortz listeners, Marshall was the yang to Boortz’s blowhard yin. Along with executive producer Belinda Skelton, the unlikely threesome became family. On Saturday morning, a shocked Skelton told WSB News for an online tribute “For 15 years, it’s been ‘Royal and Belinda.’ My other half is gone. I don’t know if I can sit and look at someone else on the other side of that glass.”
As word spread across the city, Marshall’s Facebook page filled with tributes. Wrote Tiffany Roland Abbott: “We have lost an incredible spirit. Today my best friend has [gone] home. Please respect Annette during her time of loss. We love Raymond Royal Marshall.”
Added Marjorie Coley: “I love you Royal. You can rest now.” Wrote Michelle Noll Wilkerson: “I am in disbelief right now. I will be praying for your family. Rest in Peace my friend. I will miss your funny messages and how you never forgot my birthday each year.”
Wrote Atlanta radio vet Spiff Carner: “Rest in peace my friend. You were a true professional and an amazing individual. I was lucky to know you. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends.”
Royal’s wit was often on display as he commented on the news of the day and fatherhood on his Facebook page. His final status update posted on Friday offered tongue-in-cheek commentary on the city’s recent snow and ice event. Posted Marshall: “Wonders how many players got stuck at the wrong house these past few days. Or had the wrong person at their house. I bet you were checking the roads Monday night like ‘It looks pretty clear out there, baby. I bet you can make it.’ LOL.”
And earlier in the week, Marshall quipped: “Parenting rule No. 18: Never give a child more Cheerios than you are willing to clean up in the next 10 minutes.”
On Saturday, funeral and memorial arrangements for Marshall had not yet been made. Check back to ATL Intel for updates.
Below, feel free to post your memories of Marshall.