Ron’s Room

I’m sitting here in my big, comfortable, black leather poppa chair in my living room, and I was about to ruminate with you ! Until I realized that ruminate is one of those weird words that fascinate me, because it doesn’t mean what it sounds like. Ruminate. I never met anybody who actually ate a room.  Laminate is another. Sounds like you just finished eating a lamb. I’m always having nutty mind swings like that with words. My radio career probably came about because of that. I think the good Lord was looking after me…keeping me locked up in a little studio, so I couldn’t hurt myself.

Reckless is another nutty word. A reckless driver is the kind of guy who wrecks cars. But reck-less sounds like he didn’t have any wrecks. How about a near miss. That really describes a near hit. If two planes had a near miss, that should mean they almost missed, but they didn’t.  Every few years, there are gubinatorial races in every state. But not one gub-inator is ever elected.

 Most radio disc jockeys have disjointed minds like mine. That’s why the good Lord keeps them locked up in those little studios. So they can’t hurt themselves. Ron Lundy was a big time New York disc jockey. He was a southern boy. I think he was from Mississippi. We worked together for a while at ABC radio in New York. Ron had a mind full of southern sunshine…and it flowed out in his voice. His voice made you feel comfortable, and warm…because that’s the way he was…comfortable and warm. 

 Ron and I weren’t close buddies, mostly because our schedules didn’t allow it. But I always looked forward to having a cup of coffee with him at the diner down the street, and talking shop. And I liked hearing him on the air. He was good. He was a top flight professional. And he was a gentleman.

 Gentleman is a non nutty word. It means exactly what it says. A gentle-man. My Dad was the smartest guy I ever knew. He taught my brothers and me to be gentlemen. And he taught by example. “Show is always better than tell,” is something he always said. And dad made a big distinction between the words “gentle” and “soft.” He said, “anybody can be soft, but it takes smarts and strength to be gentle.”

 Ron Lundy died the other day. I’m going to miss him. He had a good, full, successful life. And in a radio business that can be pretty cut-throat, I never heard a single nasty word about Ron. One reason for that was that I never heard a single nasty word FROM him.  

 Unless you’re a New Yorker, you probably never heard Ron. And that’s too bad, because you really missed a treat. Anybody can be a disc jockey. Mostly a disc jockey is just a guy with an un-naturaly deep voice, and a big ego, who becomes a little glue between the music and the commercials. Listening to most disc jockeys is about as exciting as biting into a piece of chewing gum that you started chewing yesterday. Mostly. But I’ve known some exceptions. William B. Williams, Allan Freed, Murray Kaufman, Al Collins, Dave Maynard, Rosko, Carl deSuze, Wally Phillips, Bruce Bradley, Allison Steele, Danny Ingrahm, Gene Klavan, Dee Finch…and… Ron for example. You probably remember some exceptions too. People who left a little smudge of themselves on your radio to keep you company when their shows were over. You’d believe it if one of those folks said, “I love you.” And the reason for that is…they did. They loved being with you. You could tell.

 Dick’s Details Quiz…all answers in the current podcast.

1-    What sleeping habit does my Lady Wonder Wench share with female dolphins ?

2-    What seems to happen to the sex lives of American women past the age of 26 ?

3-    What’s so good about fog ?

 Dick’s Details. They take your mind off your mind.

 It hit me pretty hard that Ron signed off just as I’m beginning to feel like I’m getting my life back. I told you I had a nasty operation a few weeks ago. It really squeezed the  wise guy out of me for a while. For the first time in my life, I actually felt kind of helpless. My strength is coming back now. I can walk a short distance, and drive the car, and I’m going to take my plane up for the first time since the operation this weekend. But then there will be Ron’s funeral. I’m going to need all my wheels for that. There’s a story about going to a funeral in the Night Connections personal audio cd. It’s called “A Real Friend.”

 Next time you go to a funeral…look around. You just never know…who might really have loved…enough…to give up the loving…for a lifetime.  “A Real Friend” is from the Night Connections personal audio cd. If you like it you can just keep the podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just download it from the Night Connections icon on the home page.

 My life is coming back. And it’s good. I heard the youngest member of our family… little Cecilia…on the phone…trying to say mommy. What a lovely sound…a baby trying to talk. I can read to my Lady Wonder Wench at night again. My voice is still a little worn down, but it’s good enough for a late night Once Upon A Time again. It was a beautiful day today, and tonight is incredible…completely quiet…a dark chocolate sky full of stars. The woman I love is dozing off to sleep on the couch across the room… probably keeping one eye open at all times of course… because she knows those juices are flowing again. The ones that make my eyebrows wiggle and my ears  twich…among other things…when I look at her. 

 I’ve been lucky. The good Lord kept me locked up in those little studios so I couldn’t hurt myself for a long time. And it has been a good long time. It takes a few years to become a member of the Louie-Louie Generation. Some people do the nip and tuck, trying to turn their odometers back. Not me. I want people to know why I look this way. I’ve traveled a lot of roads. And some of them weren’t paved.

 So it was Ron’s turn to walk out of his little studio room, and close the door behind him the other day. Everybody gets a turn eventually. I wonder where he is now. I know he’s somewhere…making everything around him a little more comfortable. Maybe there’s some place where good folks go when they wander out of their personal safe rooms, and close the door behind them. The holy guys in most religions seem to think so. It’s probably right next door to where unborn babies hang out waiting to be conceived. Baby is one of those nutty words that I like. Say it slowly. Bay-Bee. Sounds like a little honey maker who lives in a safe harbor. Bay-bee. The picture fits little Cecelia, trying to say, “mommy” on the phone  today.

 And so, as I’ve heard Ron say plenty of times on the air…”The beat goes on.”

9 Responses to “Ron’s Room”

  1. Marge Davidson says:

    I grew up listening to Ron Lundy on WABC radio, 77 on your AM dial! “Hello Love” will be forever ingrained on my heart! He had the ability to make me feel he was speaking to me directly from that little orange transistor radio I carried everywhere! May he rest in peace.

  2. Bruce Bradley says:

    Dick, I think we (you, me, Ron, etc.) have been blessed beyond reason
    with our lives and careers and I shudder at the occasional thought of what my life
    would have been without ten radio biz. You have 6 kids and I have 5, and though
    they’re all grown up now, we were able to support them well for all those years.
    and now I watch as our chosen profession continues in its freefall and I couldn’t
    in good conscience recommend it now to anyone as a career choice. LUCKY!
    is what we were, and still are.

    Bruce Bradley

  3. Audrey says:

    You’re right, Bruce. I grew up on WBZ with you, Dick, Carl de Suze, and the rest……. I try to find stations that are similar to the days when radio was radio and good entertainment ….. and you “knew” the DJ’s, and believed that somehow they knew you too.
    I went in to radio while in college, and tried to model my shows after those that had kept me company. I didn’t stay in radio. The freedom wasn’t there.
    But I still quote things I heard from the DJ’s on WBZ (and later WRKO). TEKELO —- Treat Elephants Kind Especially Lady ones …. and all those other cute things.
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  4. Jeff Silver says:

    Dick is right in that a few on air personalities such as himself, Dave Maynard, Ron, Allison and Dan shaped the musical tastes of a generation. They just didn’t play records but cared about the music and their listeners. We remember the personalities and the music 50 years later. That says something. I had given up on FM radio for quite a long time and just played CD’s. About 5 years ago I discovered Sirius/XM radio which has rekindled my love of radio. I listen to it in the car and for hours at home, as we used to listen for hours in the 60’s to WBZ and some of the NY stations. Cousin Brucie and Pat St. John from WABC and WNEW are on Sirius/XM. It’s sad to loose the great old timers. Hang in there Dick!!

  5. bruce bradley says:

    From Bruce to Dick:

    Far be it from me to re-kindle the elephants v. grapes battle
    that you so ignominiously lost 45 years ago but I noticed in
    Audrey’s email her heartfelt tribute to elephants (especially
    lady ones) that you dismissed so scathingly as “Those
    Ponderous Pachyderms” that the subject of grapes never
    came up. Sigh. I suppose PEOPLE REMEMBER WHAT’S
    GRAPES! FILM AT 11!!!

    PS: I mean this in a good way.

  6. Dave Ventre says:

    Hearing that Ron Lundy had died flashed me back to the mid-to-late 60s and the voices on my little Sears transistor, always tuned to 77WABC. When before or since has any radio station had such an amazing stable of on-air talent?

    The sounds of Lundy, Cousin Brucie, Dandy Dan, Harry Harrison and Chuck Leonard are forever burned into that part of my brain that remembers endless bike riding through the streets of Bayonne on hot summer nights, the little radio playing from the tiny plastic saddlebag behind the seat.

  7. Bill Gallagher says:

    Ron’s voice can be heard doing his WABC radio show at the beginning of the Oscar-winning movie “Midnight Cowboy”.

    He will be missed.

  8. Bruce Bradley and Dick inspired me to make a career of radio. I could quite literally see WBZ’s tower from my bedroom window, and their shows became my “Night Light.”

    I heard the great gray vs. purple argument play out over months and marveled at their skill in making mileage out of their material. And being around Boston meant I never heard WABC until my career took me to New York City, where I heard Ron Lundy for the first time… And more than 30 years later I can’t even think of his name without hearing “the greatest city in the world” in my head, and marveling at how much radio mileage a pro could make out of what would seem to be no material at all.

    I never met Ron or Bruce, but I’m thankful for having heard them all.

    And Bruce? Three words: “Thelma Lou Camacho.” But I still owe you a fourth… Thanks!

  9. Mark Parisi says:

    I, too, grew up listening to WBZ throughout the sixties. One of the highlights of the summer of 1963 when my mother took me down to Revere Beach to see Bruce Bradley do his show from the “sundeck studio”. I got to shake his hand that night and went away a fan for life. I was also one of the thousands that would sneak a transistor radio under my pillow and listen to Dick Summer all night. That was truly wonderful radio which we will never hear again. By the way, I still like to listen to “Grandpa’s Grave” by Peter Sellers and still call the Stones the “Rolling Uglies”. Many thanks for some great times.