April is over, and I have officially been retired for three months, after my 40 years at WABC Radio. April also holds my other radio anniversary, as it was on April 17th, 1972 that I started at WHN Radio in New York, making it now officially 44 years since I first started working in New York Radio. I’ve been asked these last 3 months if I miss it, and my answer is always the same….No! I don’t miss waking up in the dark with the alarm, I don’t miss the Long Island Rail Road trip to Manhattan every day, and if I do miss anything, it’s some of the people. Not all of them, but some of them.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to reconnect with a lot of folks that were there when this life of mine started. The occasion was this year’s Induction Ceremony for the WCWP Radio Hall of Fame. You see, WCWP, the College Radio Station of C.W. Post is where it all started for me. If you remember my Blog Post, The First Time I Walked Into WABC, you may remember my story about starting at WCWP in my Junior year of college. At that point in my life, I obviously had no idea of what I was going to do with my life, and was in my 3rd or 4th college major. You also may remember the story of how a simple question that I was asked by WCWP Chief Engineer Bill Mozer, would change my life in ways I never even imagined! I’d been working at WCWP for about 7 or 8 months, and I guess had passed the “Mozer Test”, when he said to me one afternoon, “Do you want to come to work with me tonight?” By work, Bill meant did I want to drive into Manhattan with him where he was an Engineer at WABC and WPLJ Radio. Of course, I said yes, and to a great degree, the rest is history!
I was lucky enough to be inducted into the Hall of Fame 2 years ago, along with several friends from my days at Post, Bill Epperhart and Ted David. Last year we were joined by Bobby G and Mike Riccio, two other friends from our college days, and two of the younger guys who we overlapped with, Jeff Kroll and Bruce Leonard. Yesterday, the third of those younger guys, Joe Honerkamp joined up with his two brother musketeers, Jeff and Bruce, to complete the set! Also yesterday, a very special lady, Mrs. Ann Gaffney was posthumously inducted in the Hall of Fame. “Mrs. G” was the WCWP Station Secretary from 1971 to 1984, and was, in a real sense, the Station Mom to hundreds of students who went through the station during those 13 years. She was always available for advice or a kick in the pants…whatever the situation warranted!
From yesterday’s WCWP Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Fortunate to have worked with all three of these WCWP Hall of Famers…Joe and Jeff at WHN and Bill for many years at WABC.
As these things are, it’s always a nostalgic time seeing folks who I first met back when I was a teenager! As I turned off Northern Blvd. onto the Post Campus, I realized that this September it will be 49 years since I started as a Freshman at what was then known as C.W. Post College of Long Island University (today it’s the CW Post Campus of LIU). Where have the years gone, was a common question we all asked yesterday!
One of the biggest pleasures was to be there with former Director of Broadcasting, Bill Mozer, and current Director of Broadcasting, Dan Cox. Bill is the one that asked me that all important question over 45 years ago, that really started my life. Bill set the bar high at WCWP, expecting those that worked there to understand that excellence was to be the norm. It was that attitude that turned out folks who had no problem moving into the commercial world, be it at local radio stations, or network operations like ABC or NBC. Because those first hires did so well, the WCWP reputation of excellence spread, and it became a great leg up to come out of that little radio station on Long Island. I’m proud to say that under Dan Cox, that is still the case as attested to by the number of new WCWP Alumni that I was pleased to work with at WABC before I retired!
It was great seeing Harry, Bill, Jeff, Pat, Bobby, Bruce, and Bernie, who I have known for close to 50 years, and seeing folks like Suzanne, Dan, Pete, Jay, and others that are newer WCWP friends! It was great to be there to see Joe and Mrs. G inducted into the WCWP HOF, and to once again be a part of that little radio station on Long Island! Who knew that when I walked into the Benjamin Abrams Communications building 47 years ago, that the path of my life would forever be changed. Who knew that walking into that building would lead to my life’s work, to my wife and my family, and to my oldest son’s career path some 30+ years later!
Jeff Kroll said yesterday that most of us didn’t join a fraternity or sorority at Post because WCWP was our sorority or fraternity. He went on to say, it was our family! The great thing about family is that no matter how long you are away from them, or how far away your travels take you, you can always go home and are welcomed with open arms! That’s really what it feels like every time I’m anywhere that a number of my sisters and brothers are gathered.