Fayette County

Buzz Riggins, former TV anchor and businessman, dies of colon cancer

Floyd H. "Buzz" Riggins, a former Lexington television news anchor and businessman, died Saturday of colon cancer. He was 75.

Born in Danville, Mr. Riggins was well known, too, as owner of the local Mole Hole gift shops.

Beginning in 1968, he joined the staff at CBS affiliate WKYT-27 and became news director, as well as an anchor on the evening and late news.

"He did just about everything," said June Rollings, a WKYT host at the time. "His most impressive work was just the fact that he had so much camaraderie with every member of the news team."

She said he seemed to always be smiling.

"You wanted to be around him because he was always upbeat about everything," Rollings said.

Retired Lexington meteorologist Brad James, who worked at WKYT at the time, said Mr. Riggins hired him about 1973.

"He had this big deep voice," said James, who retired from ABC affiliate WTVQ-36 in 2008. "People behind his back sometimes called him 'Froggy.'

"And he had some sayings, too, like "Golden, mate," as in 'I approve.'"

Ray Holbrook, who ran the station on behalf of owner Garvice Kincaid during some of that time, said Mr. Riggins was able to live up to Kincaid's expectations for strong local programming and news.

"People knew they were going to get fair coverage of their story," Holbrook said. "He was fair. He was honest. He was a good man."

Rollings said Mr. Riggins could always find the most interesting stories, too.

"He just had a knack for it," she said. "I just never understood why he got out of the business, because he was just top-notch."

But leave he did, taking a job in 1975 with Jim Host & Associates. He left there in the early 1980s to go to work for Diamond Shamrock coal company, where he stayed until about 1986.

At that time, he began working with the Mole Hole, a local gift shop that expanded to three locations at its peak. The store originally opened in Festival Market downtown and later moved to Lexington Green, with other locations at Turfland Mall and Lansdowne Shoppes. The stores closed by the late 1990s.

About that time, Mr. Riggins took a position as development director for the Lexington Philharmonic, where he worked during the early half of this decade.

Peter Kucirko, the group's executive director, said Mr. Riggins was helpful in organizing the orchestra's first Horsetails fund-raising project, in which artists use hair from famous horses as part of works of art.

"W.T. Young and Storm Cat were our first acquisitions, and Buzz was critical to that," Kucirko said.

Mr. Riggins was an active member of Immanuel Baptist Church, where he was a former deacon and president of the Hallelujah Singers.

Survivors include his wife, Kay Morris Riggins; children Kim Pope, David Riggins and Lawson Riggins; a brother, Proctor Riggins; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Immanuel Baptist Church.

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