Booking.com

Remembering Dale Dorman

Dale Dorman recently died, and suddenly all those WRKO AM 680 memories from the late 1960s and 1970s came rushing back from the transistor radio side of my brain.

Hearing that happy, sunny, one-of-a-kind rapid fire voice and the way he led into a top 40 song (like "Midnight Confessions" by The Grass Roots or "Rock the Boat" by the Hues Corporation) resulted in Dorman, almost immediately, becoming an instant radio legend. The way he could come up with an impromptu joke suggested a future in comedy. His friendly interaction with other on-air staff encouraged my own personal growth in conversation with family and friends. Sure, I sounded a little wacky at times but starting to communicate more was a good thing!

Known as Uncle Dale, his authentic love for rock and roll and working for a living as a disc jockey shone through while many others were getting by on just voice, or style. He made me want to become a disc jockey as I was so impressed that someone with an untypical announcer voice could find ways to connect with the audience and ultimately carve his own career path without following the norm. WRKO had a knack for this type of hire with Harry Nelson, Joel Cash, JJ Wright, Mike Addams and other hugely talented DJs gracing and amping the airwaves, simultaneously.

Few think of rock and roll disc jockeys as masters of the English language, but Mr. Dale Dorman proved otherwise. With an incredible verbal dexterity and the correct use of grammar to back it up, Dale approached Johnny Carson's innate talent for wonderfully employing the English language. What a joy to a little kid like me in the 60s and 70s, writing one short story after another and using the dictionary on a daily basis to explore the vast possibilities of the English language!

Dale in his later radio days
Dale was something of a visionary, too. Even though AM radio contributed to flourish, Dorman recommended to management to bring WRKO radio to FM, and start talk radio on the AM side.  “The music sounded great in stereo on FM,” said Dorman.  File that one under Boston's version of Nostradamus!

All this radio greatness and vision earned Dale a 2010 spot in the Massachusetts Broadcasters Radio Hall of Fame. To me, it was kind of like the radio version of Babe Ruth being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.! Although my fondest memories of Dale were on WRKO, his long-time presence on Kiss 108, and final radio days on Oldies 103.3 equally contributed to his Hall of Fame induction. He also had a tremendous run on Channel 56 as the affable voice over in between shows like the Creature Double Feature,  The Monkees, and Gilligan's Island.

I always made it a point to look at the WRKO radio antenna tower when driving up Route 3 north in Burlington, Mass., en route to a family beach day at Silver Lake State Park in Hollis, N.H. Thinking of that proverbial powerhouse 50,000 watt blowtorch and the great things that came out of it during top 40 radio's apex, my mind always came around to focusing on Dale Dorman. That one person with a love and talent for his work could use that metal blowtorch to reach out to hundreds of thousands of local kids -- and many adults, too (even though they didn't always admit it!) -- is true testimony to what makes radio great.

Unfortunately, today, it's more "what 'made' radio great as cookie cutter programming and favoring syndication over local talent impedes, and disrespects, the innate greatness of radio. Fortunately, memories of Uncle Dale can never be taken away. Our radio dreams, therefore, can live on, forever. Thank-you so much, Mr. Dorman, you were so much appreciated for your contributions to Boston radio, and forever shall be. In my radio "Midnight Confessions," you will always be number one!

Let's close this post with some of those fun Dale Dorman memories on WRKO...


No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts