William “Billy” David Cohen has fond memories of growing up in Bexley – where he remembers receiving a wonderful education in a safe, secure environment with no feelings of prejudice or discrimination.

His family consists of his parents, Arthur and Beatrice, his sister Marian and his late brother Bob.

Billy majored in journalism at Northwestern University, graduating in 1970. During his college years, he took an active part in protesting the Vietnam War, and he also did some folk singing in coffee houses.

After returning to Columbus, he eventually was hired, part-time, as a news editor at WOSU Public Radio. This job was a stepping-stone to other positions at the radio station and, in 1975, Billy was named the State House reporter. He spent 42 years in public radio, retiring three years ago.

Billy loved covering issues and presenting all sides, so the public could make their own decisions. He felt it vital that his reporting be impartial. Billy’s reputation reflects this in that he was respected and thought of as fair to all points of view.

Billy met his wife, Randi Sue Weisberger, in the Clintonville area where they both lived. Randi, from Maine, was working on her Ph.D at Ohio State in foreign language education. Randi also received a Master’s degree in counseling and was in private practice for a number of years. They married in 1985.

They have a daughter, Hannah, who lives in Havana, Cuba – where she works as a tour guide. She has started to do some reporting and, as Billy said, has even had a by-line in the New York Times.

In retirement, Billy does many small concerts throughout the area. The concerts are theme-based, often featuring folk music. To Billy, music evokes memories and touches our hearts.

Research and text by Edie Mae Herrel and Nancy Beck
Originally published in Historical Herald, Winter 2017

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