Boston Radio Legend Dick Summer Dead At 89


Boston radio icon Dick Summer, known for his popular overnight show Nightlight on WBZ-AM, has passed away at the age of 89. WBZ announced Summer’s passing on May 14, highlighting his influential career during the 1960s and 70s.

Born in Brooklyn in 1935, Summer was inspired at a young age by on-air personalities like WNEW’s William B. Williams. His first professional job was at WNRC in New Rochelle, followed by stints at WROW in Albany and WTEN-TV.

In early 1957, Summer joined WNHC in New Haven, meeting future NYC legend Dan Ingram. He soon moved to WIBC in Indianapolis, where he hosted the show Summertime before moving to WISH. One night, he picked up WBZ’s signal from Boston. This inspired him to apply to the station, which he did repeatedly for a year until Program Director Al Heacock gave him a shot at overnights.

Known for his poetic recitations and humor, Nightlight was known for its unique benchmarks like “Nightlight Password.” Dick Summer also tackled serious issues with his segment “Nightlighters Against Gutlessness,” which condemned people who ignored crimes and urged listeners to carry a dime at all times in case they needed to call in and report a crime.

After leaving WBZ, Summer briefly worked at WNEW before returning to Boston’s WMEX in 1969 as program director where he created the show Lovin Touch. Summer returned to WBZ in 1971 and later worked at WPLJ, WNBC, and WYNY in New York.

In addition to his radio career, Dick Summer was known for his TV and radio commercial voiceover work. He also hosted the podcast Good Night later in his life and was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2018.

Radio Ink President and Publisher Deborah Parenti said, “He had a distinctive style and voice and an incredible way of weaving a story and bringing it to life. As a grade school girl in Dayton, I would set the transistor radio “just so” in the bedroom window that so I could listen to Dick Summer on WBZ in Boston. Years later I was fortunate to get to know and become friends with him and his wife, Barbara. Radio has lost a wonderful talent.”

Art Vuolo remembered Summer’s days in Indianapolis, “Doing his show from a tiny studio atop a Mel’s Drive-Inn style restaurant known as Merrill’s Hi-Decker where listeners would vote for favorite songs by flashing their headlights!”


  1. Dick Summer had the greatest influence on my musical tastes. On his how you could hear Leonard Cohen, Tom Rush, Mickey Newbury, Joan Baez and an up and coming singer named Bob Dylan. As a kid in Junior high school the Nightlight Show was like belonging to a secret club where only the chosen few knew the password.

  2. I would stay up late at night listening to Dick Summer. In bed, with the ear piece from my transistor radio, he would bring the world of the big city pouring into the head of a teen in Southern New Hampshire. That smooth wonderful voice was burned into my brain. I ended up spending over 20 years on the engineering side of the radio business. Over the years I would catch that voice on television doing spots for Resolve cleaner and some law firm whose name escapes me in the fog of age. I take some measure of comfort knowing those glorious tones (along with thousands of others) are still “out there”. Somewhere. Travelling at light speed and, perhaps, making the universe just that tiny bit better. If there is a heaven, I’m certain the password of “one hen, two ducks, and three squawking geese” would have been all that was required to pass through the gates…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here