Dick Summer 1935-2024

Legendary radio personality, Dick Summer, was born on February 24, 1935 to Richard and Catherine Schwende in Brooklyn, New York, within earshot of the Brooklyn Dodger’s stadium that he was such a fan of.

The eldest of five children, he was recognized as a superior student throughout his career, particularly with vocabulary and his innate ability to tell a good story. He graduated as an exceptional scholar from Fordham University, majoring in psychology and communications.

He grew up with a great love for music. This began with his father, the church organist, choir master, voice coach and music teacher. He played several musical instruments himself. His passionate appreciation for the musical arts morphed into a dream of sharing music with the world on the air. This started with his admiration of listening to Willy B Williams on his transistor radio at a very young age.

The man behind the voice, Dick’s career spans from radio to TV personality. He famously hosted record hops and could be seen atop Merrills Hi Decker restaurant where they built a glassed-in studio above the popular restaurant where he first came up with “make it or break it” to help promote local bands a bit later used by Dave Letterman on his show. He was a pioneer of pre FM “underground radio” channels on WBZ Boston, a clear channel AM station bringing his show across the country with his Dick Summer Subway show, introducing new musicians like Tom Rush, Jose Feliciano and Harry Chapin to name a few. WNEW-FM’s first morning host when they switched to then FM termed “underground” music and WNBC AM  with his “Mouth vs Ear” show.  He was more than a DJ who spun records. He truly wanted to connect with his audience via stories, games and even a softball team that always won.

Dick has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame several times, the broadcaster Hall of Fame, and Music Museum of New England.

Established author and poet, he also took pride in owning his own therapy and hypnosis business in N.Y. called Quiet Decisions. Author of the “Lovin’ touch” poetry series, voice overs on radio and TV (you may remember the Binder & Binder law firm ads). It was during this phase of his life that he again reached out a supporting hand to those around him, connecting with the people of his beloved city and offering them a concerned ear and artful encouragement with his patented sense of humor as he had in his radio days. He has spent his whole life celebrating in the sharing of experiences, and frequently shared his belief that this sharing is part of what makes the human experience beautiful and worth living.

His great passion project in life was to become a pilot and he spent proudly decades flying his family and friends around in his Piper Cherokee, happily exploring many new destinations.

He departed peacefully surrounded by loving family on May 14 at the age 89. Please feel free to share memories and pictures on Facebook and Instagram with #DickSummer

8 Responses to “Dick Summer 1935-2024”

  1. Marilyn says:

    I will miss you more than words can say, Dick.

  2. Ann says:

    I Loved His Radio Programs. I grew up listening to him in Boston. I Bought The Loving Touch book at Lauriets in Boston. RIP Dick!

  3. Betsy says:

    I’m so sorry to see this and will miss Dick. What a talented, funny, caring, decent man he was, who so loved his lady, children/grands and wider family. What a full life he had. My deepest condolences to all who loved him.

  4. Jay says:

    I was sad to hear that Dick Summer has died. He was a big influence on a fat, nerdy kid in the 60s who listened to his show with a pillow speaker. He introduced me to musicians like Joan Baez, Mickey Newbury, Leonard Cohen and of course Tom Rush.
    All these years later I can still recite the Nightlight Password.

  5. Louis says:

    Good bye, Dick,
    I will miss you. I have fond memories of listening to the Mouth vs. Ear on WYNY on late night drives home. And more recently to the Good Night podcast.
    Rest in Peace.

  6. X22coeda says:

    Hey people!!!!!
    Good mood and good luck to everyone!!!!!

  7. Fobertbuila says:

    Can I just say what a relief to uncover somebody that really knows what they’re discussing on the internet. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people need to read this and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular since you certainly have the gift.
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  8. Jack says:

    Good Night Dick