Dick Summer Connection

I think loneliness could be a savior for radio. Here’s why. Today’s podcast says loneliness is a feeling of being disconnected from other human beings. 51% of Americans in a recent survey now say they always feel alone and 20% say they rarely or never feel close to anyone. What’s that got to do with radio? True story…A long time ago, my mom and dad gave me a transistor radio for Christmas. I don’t think I turned if off till the 4th of July. I hid it under my pillow at night listening to William B. Williams. He always started his show by saying, “Hello World.” Willie welcomed me into his world every night. Me. A kid with big ears and pimples listening in Brooklyn. Willie’s world was full of famous musicians and other show biz people. Willie taught me a huge lesson about radio with one sentence. Willie was a big booster of an outfit called Big Brothers. Guys who spent time with kids who didn’t have much of a father figure in their lives. A big singing star by the name of Vic Damone was also heavily into big Brothers. Vic was doing a benefit concert for Big Brothers, and Willie was Mcing it. So Willie had Vic on his show one night to promote the concert. It was a warm and wonderful interview. Just two guys who really tried to help a bunch of kids. At the end of the interview, Willie took about ten seconds of dead air. TEN SECONDS OF DEAD AIR on one of the most powerful stations in the world. And then he very quietly said, “Vic, I really like you.” It was perfect. It was real. It put me on the floor. Right in that instant, I connected with Vic Damone and Willie B. That connection still tugs at me every time I think about it.

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