KI Hall of Fame

FUN Fact.

FUN FactIn 1969, Taft Broadcasting purchased 1,600 acres for $3.2 million to build KI.

KI Hall of Fame

Kings Island opened its gates April 29, 1972, serving as a replacement for Coney Island, an amusement park located on the banks of the Ohio River that begain in the 1870's.  Since its opening, Kings Island has entertained nearly 120 million guests with its lineup of world-class thrills, fun and family entertainment.

Established in 2008, the Kings Island Hall of Fame was created to honor park associates who made extraordinary contributions during their years of service at Kings Island, or have distinguished themselves in some way that makes them worthy to receive this honor.

Inductions are held annually in the fall.  The individuals chosen for induction are selected by the Kings Island Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

2012 INDUCTEE

ED MCHALE
Ed McHale began his career in the amusement park industry in 1952 at Cincinnati’s Coney Island. He moved into a management position in 1959 and played an instrumental role in the planning and development of Kings Island. Mr. McHale oversaw the transportation of the rides and attractions from Coney Island to Kings Island in the fall of 1971, including rides that remain at the park today like the Grand Carousel, Dodgem, Monster and Scrambler. After spending the 1972 season as park operations manager, Mr. McHale was promoted to general manager, a position he held at Kings Island until 1976.


2011 INDUCTEES

CHUCK INGRAM
Mr. Ingram worked as a seasonal associate at Kings Island from 1978 to 1985. He spent his first two years in the merchandise department before transferring to entertainment, starting out in tech services. Mr. Ingram was promoted to an area supervisor responsible for the park’s roving entertainment, including the Clown Band, Juggles and Mimes. He has spent the past two decades working in radio in Cincinnati at 50,000-watt 700 WLW, where he has served as an on-site broadcast engineer, promotions and operations director, and director of traffic operations.



RUTH VOSS
Ms. Voss spent 15 years as Kings Island’s public relations manager from 1974 until her retirement in 1989. During her tenure she met and worked with Dick Van Dyke, Jonathan Winters, Dinah Shore, Evel Knievel, Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna on park projects and special events. Ms. Voss is credited for naming The Beast roller coaster in 1979. She came to Kings Island after 29 years in journalism. United States President Richard M. Nixon invited her to meet with him at the White House on October 21, 1971 after reading the articles she had written in The Cincinnati Enquirer and learning about the amount of time she had given working on projects for teens.


2010 INDUCTEES

LEWIS JOHNSON
Mr. Johnson was employed as a seasonal associate and supervisor in the rides department from 1981 to 1987, including the Beast and Racer crews. An All-American track star at the University of Cincinnati, he broke into broadcasting as a “runner” for ABC Sports and ESPN before earning a series of coveted assignments for NBC. Johnson has worked six Olympics for NBC, including the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. He previously reported on NBC’s coverage of Notre Dame football and the NBA including two All-Star games and NBA finals.



ROB POTTORF
Mr. Pottorf worked at Kings Island as an entertainer from 1980 to 1985, performing in a variety of live stage shows. He remained involved with the park for an additional 11 years as Sr. Composer for Paramount Parks. Now a composer for film and television music, Pottorf has worked on several projects for 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, Paramount, Turner Network, CBS, HGTV, CourtTV, Nickelodeon and others.



2009 INDUCTEES


GARY WACHS
Mr. Wachs developed the concept and design for Kings Island in the mid 1960’s while serving as the assistant general manager of Cincinnati’s popular Coney Island. He was named the first general manager of Kings Island and is accredited for bringing back roller coasters and other thrill rides into the amusement and theme park industry when the park opened to the public in 1972. Wachs currently is general manager and co-owner of the Garfield Suites Hotel in Cincinnati.



RICH WALBURG
Mr. Walburg was employed as a seasonal associate at Kings Island from 1983 through 1991, working in various departments including admissions, communications, ecology and food service. He has spent the past 18 years at 700 WLW radio in Cincinnati, finishing his career there as assistant program director and executive producer.



2008 INDUCTEES


CARMEN ELECTRA 
Ms. Electra begin her career as an entertainer at Kings Island in 1990 as a dancer in one of the most popular shows in the park’s history, “It’s Magic.” The American glamour model and television personality gained fame for her appearances on the MTV game show Singled Out, on the television series Baywatch, and for her roles in the parody films Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans. 



DENNIS SPEIGEL
 
Internationally recognized as a leader and expert in the theme park/leisure industry with over 40 years of professional experience, Mr. Speigel directs International Theme Park Services, Inc. (“ITPS”). He began his career in the amusement/theme park business in 1960 as a ticket taker at Coney Island in Cincinnati. Mr. Speigel quickly worked his way up to assistant park manager of Coney Island and then Kings Island, where, as assistant general manager, he supervised general park operations, including personnel, rides, food/beverage, merchandise, games, and guest hospitality from 1972 until 1974, when he left the park to become vice president and general manager of Kings Dominion in Richmond, Virginia.



JANEEN COYLE 
Ms. Coyle worked at Kings Island in 1976 as a rides associate on the Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad. She has gone on to have a long and successful career in radio, starting at WKRQ in 1979 while attending the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. She began with overnights, worked middays, and later moved to afternoon drive where she remained until 1988. From there Janeen did talk radio, hosting the very popular Chick Talk show. She co-hosted morning drive on WKRC until she was contacted about joining her husband, Chris O’Brien, in 1995 and forming the unique husband and wife team heard weekdays from 5:00am – 9:00am on 103.5 WGRR in Cincinnati.