Larry Hall, whose broadcast voice was heard by radio and television audiences for nearly 30 years, died Sunday of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, at his Ruxton home. He was 57.
He was the morning drive-time announcer on AM radio stations WCBM and WCAO in the 1970s, and later recorded scores of commercials for automobile dealerships, jewelers, furniture stores and schools.
"His voice was like the friendly guy next door," said ad executive Nick Griffin of Towson. "It was ubiquitous on Baltimore radio -- and in D.C. and southern Pennsylvania. He was in so many commercials."
"Larry was a real person with an announcer's voice," said Louis Mills, a producer-engineer at Flite 3 Recordings. "He was a total joy to work with. He could take hard commercial copy and soften it -- without changing the words. He could get a message across that was impossible not to listen to."
"He could tell a story like he believed it and you were his neighbor," said Betsy Harmatz, president of BH Audio Inc., with whom he often worked.
Lawrence E. Hall was born in East Weymouth, Mass., and became interested in radio while attending Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pa. He also worked at college stations at the University of Texas at El Paso and Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif.
He moved to Baltimore in 1968, settled in White Hall and was hired by WCBM, where he worked the morning slot alongside Lee Case. Several years later, he moved to WCAO, where he also worked mornings. Officials of Plough Inc., the station's owner, named him program director and gave him the job of remaking its local FM station, which had featured classical music, into an urban contemporary sound of rhythm and blues. It was renamed V-103 and became a hit.
"He transformed the sound and took the Baltimore market by storm," said Mr. Griffin. "Larry was the guy behind it."
In the mid-1980s he was program director at WMAR-FM for about a year.
At about that time, he began doing commercials and eventually became a full-time voice-over artist. He became the TV and radio voice for the Maryland State Fair, T. Rowe Price, Towson University, Northrup Grumman and many local businesses. He also produced videos, including a juror orientation film for the Baltimore County Circuit Court.
Mr. Hall was an avid birdwatcher and could identify many species of birds by their songs.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 11856 Mays Chapel Road, Timonium. He is survived by his wife of nearly 30 years, the former Dorothy Hergenroeder, and a daughter, Lauren Hall, both of Ruxton.