Laura Powell (Fritz), who hosted WKRQ-FM afternoons for more than a decade, died Saturday after “a grueling battle with Crohn’s disease,” according to a GoFundMe account set up Sunday.
Powell worked more than 15 years in Cincinnati radio. She co-hosted mornings at old “MOJO” (WMOJ-FM 94.9) with Keith Mitchell from 2002 to 2006. Then she moved to Q102, where she did afternoons from 2007 to 2018 with Brian Douglas and later Jon Curl.
“Laura was a mentor, a mother, but most notably, a remarkable human being. When I met her, I just remember thinking ‘I just want to talk to this woman about everything!’ She was so selfless and wanted to hear about all the challenges I was facing. Meanwhile, she had a bundle of her own that she would just set aside and give you her whole self,” Curl says.
Curl started a GoFundMe page Sunday, with a goal of $50,000, for her two young sons, Joe B and Julius.
“We have a responsibility now more than ever. To give back to a woman for all that she gave to us …her entire self,” Curl wrote.
“This weekend, Laura Powell Fritz lost her grueling battle to Crohn’s disease. Our sadness is completely indescribable. Her strength and spirit never faltered along her journey. She left behind a trail of smiles for miles…impacting thousands of people with her infectious sense of humor and unconditional love for others.
“A few of those smiles she created every day were on the faces of her two boys, Joe B and Julius. This fund could never fully fill the void that friends and family are feeling, but it’s the best attempt we ALL can make by helping secure the future for her sons. Please share, support and give because she would have done the same for us … all while making us smile.”
When Powell was abruptly dropped by the station in 2018, she accepted my invitation to say goodbye to her loyal Q102 listeners.
“I would like to say thank you to the listeners that enjoyed our afternoon show. You are family! Thanks for all the stories and the belly laughs,” she told me.
She said she was “unable to get into the details of my departure due to contractual restrictions” with Hubbard Radio, Q102’s owner. “I don’t know if I will continue to be on the radio. There may be another calling for me. On to the next adventure!”
Her LinkedIn profile described her as a self-employed public speaker since leaving WKRQ-FM.
Powell, who grew up in Maryland, was brought here from a Tampa station by Mitchell, now WGRR-FM afternoon host and Cumulus’ Cincinnati operations director. The 1990 Temple University grad worked in eastern Pennsylvania before Florida, says Mitchell, who liked to call Powell “the Oprah of Cincinnati” because she was willing to do practically anything and constantly engaged with listeners.
“I’m stunned and saddened by Laura’s passing. She was a tremendous partner on the Mojo in the Morning Show. After our run ended on MOJO, I was so glad she was able to stay in Cincinnati on another station. She was a very talented broadcaster and a great mom to her two boys, Joe B. and Julius. My thoughts and prayers are with her sons,” Mitchell says.
Curl also called Powell “the Oprah of Cincinnati” because “that is the kind of impact she made on so many of us. She always knew how to use humor as a remedy. She would often say, ‘Honey, my life is God’s sitcom and he just keeps ordering more episodes!’ She could make you laugh at just about anything.
“I also remember watching her with her kids and thinking, ‘THIS is unconditional love.’ She lived and breathed her two boys. She’s given me a roadmap to the type of parent I want to be,” Curl said. “I’m just grateful that I had the good fortune of being in a chapter in her life…God knows she’ll be in the rest of mine.”