Born in the Bronx, New York, and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Dick is a “naturalized Southerner” and fast becoming “the world’s oldest disc jockey.” He’s still “playing the hits…of the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s.” He became interested in broadcasting at the age of 10, when he built his own neighborhood radio station. His original audio console consisted of a plywood frame wired with toggle switches and volume controls removed from old radios. He also assembled a Knight-Kit low-power AM transmitter. In 1956, when he was 13, The Charlotte News published a feature story on Dick’s radio station, and the manager of WWOK 1480 radio called him to congratulate him on the article and invited him to visit the station. That visit led to an internship as music librarian and coffee runner for the announcers. He eventually landed a job at the station as a disc jockey playing mid-1950s rock ʼn’ roll hits from the WWOK “Nifty Top Fifty” music list. He also worked part-time at the NBC radio affiliate, WSOC.
Dick proudly received a WBT/WBTV scholarship in 1958 to the Ninth North Carolina High School Radio-TV Institute conducted by the Department of Radio Television and Motion Pictures at UNC–Chapel Hill. Attending the institute became life-changing experience for him. He adjusted his career goals from being a “holler-and-scream teenage rock DJ” toward becoming a well-rounded professional broadcaster.
After graduating from East Mecklenburg High School in 1960, he attended his first and only college choice, UNC–Chapel Hill, and majored in RTVMP. During his years at Chapel Hill, he worked his way through college by working on the production crew of the Chapel Hill studios of WUNC-TV. (Channel 4 was the only UNC station back then.) A benefit of being a crew chief at WUNC-TV included the opportunity to travel to all ACC campuses on weekends to operate television camera for the C.D. Chesley Network, which televised ACC basketball and football sporting events. He also continued to enjoy being a night and weekend “rock jock” at Durham’s popular but low-power top-40 station, WSSB 1490. Dick worked during all his summer college breaks. He returned to Charlotte each summer to be on the production floor crew of WBTV and did voice work on weekends as “duty booth” announcer for both WBTV and WBT radio. They used live announcers back then. Imagine that!
He became a producer-director at WUNC-TV upon graduation from UNC, but the eager draft board stalked him regularly. After a brief stint at WDNC, CBS Radio in Durham, NC, he joined the U.S. Air Force. The recruiter in Durham arranged for him to be placed directly in his chosen career field of broadcasting. For two years, Dick produced, directed, and narrated Air Force training films at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas. At night, he moonlighted in his first job as program director, at KNTO, a Wichita Falls “Beautiful Music Station” (think Percy Faith and Montovani). He’s been a program director since 1967. He was deployed overseas to Thailand in 1968, where he received the Air Force Commendation Medal for duties performed as AFTN “Top of the Morning Show” host and radio program director of the network lead station of the American Forces Thailand Network.
Following his Air Force discharge in 1970, he returned to the Raleigh-Durham area as program director of WDNC (AM and FM) in Durham. Later he became production manager and announcer for then NBC-TV affiliate, WRDU-TV, channel 28. His ultimate career goal was finally achieved in 1976 when he joined the announcing staff of 50,000-watt legacy AM station, WPTF, in Raleigh. He served at WPTF/WQDR as production manager, interim program director, computer operations director, and host of various talk shows and the WPTF Record Vault, a popular music history program. He spent 22 years on the air and in management at WPTF.
Dick knew WCPE general manager Deborah Proctor when both of them worked together at WRDU-TV 28 in the early 1970s. When Deborah put WCPE on the air, Dick soon became a WCPE volunteer and eventually chairman of the WCPE advisory board. Dick had always wanted to work with WCPE, so when the program director position became available in 1998, he joined the staff.
Throughout his career as a television and radio production manager and program director, he has taught and coached hundreds of volunteers and employees. He’s been a guest lecturer at area schools and universities. He has lead Explorer Scout Posts in broadcasting. He is currently network operations manager of The Classical Station.
Dick’s mother was a teacher and classical pianist who nurtured his interest in classical and popular music. He was trained by a jazz pianist in Charlotte and performed and arranged music for his own dance band while in high school.
He lives in the historic district of downtown Raleigh.