If you were on social media for a nanosecond, Monday, you saw the many moving tributes to one of the best Top 40 DJs of all time. Dan Ingram died at his home in Florida on Sunday at the age of 83 after years battling health issues. Former Saga Communications Executive Steve Goldstein was lucky enough to have worked with Ingram and put his thoughts about the WABC host into a blog. Here are some excerpts from that post…
“My very first programming job in commercial radio was as the Assistant Program Director at the legendary Music Radio 77, WABC, New York. There was no bigger radio station on the planet. At its height, it reached 6 million people every week. A top station in New York 40 years later is lucky to hit 2.5 million. It was a giant. And among the giants, no one was bigger than Dan Ingram.
“I had an office along the famed ‘blue wall’ with the titans of radio management. I was 24 years old and I was cool. Among my responsibilities was making sure Dan Ingram was happy. That was a tall order. Dan was nothing short of my idol. I had written to him in junior high school and he answered. I listened to him every afternoon. And during my initial time around him, my youth showed through and I never said one intelligible word.
“Name any of the best air personalities from your hometown, they were listening and stealing from Ingram. The legendary Rick Sklar, my friend and mentor, and the program director of WABC in the station’s heyday, told me Dan had the best ‘seven-second mind in radio.’ Indeed. Dan ‘talked up’ short record intros with clever, fresh, interesting, topical, fun, and often provocative content. The speed and precision were devastingly good.”
Read Goldstein’s entire blog on the great Dan Ingram HERE.
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “Dan Ingram will be sorely missed for his sharp wit and intellect. He was a brilliant man whose talent, commitment to his work and to the merging of our unions was inspiring. He had an incredible career that spanned over five decades. Our hearts go out to his wife and our colleague Maureen Donnelly and their family.”
And SAG-AFTRA Executive Vice President and New York Local President Rebecca Damon added, “Dan Ingram was deeply admired by his colleagues in New York and across the country. He was the best at what he did. He inspired a generation of broadcasters and his union work was on behalf of all on-air people. He was an A-list broadcaster who showed up for his union colleagues. New York is quieter this morning. Dan will be deeply missed.”
The legendary Top 40 DJ began his broadcasting career in the 1950s at small stations throughout New York and Connecticut, before moving on to Dallas and St. Louis. In 1961, he returned to New York to debut his show on WABC-FM, which led the station’s surge to the top of the city’s ratings, where it remained for the better part of two decades. Ingram later worked at WXRK, before wrapping up his career in 2003 after more than a decade at WCBS-FM. He was considered a radio pioneer and “talk up” savant who perfectly timed his speaking during a song introduction before the lyrics began.