Monday, March 15, 2010

Ron Lundy (1934-2010)

Not a good week for my broadcasting heroes. I'm blessed with many voices that have influenced me in one way or another. Of course, I'd be talking of Vin Scully, Don Imus, and so on. Last week, I wrote of the passing of Merlin Olsen. I just found out that Ron Lundy, a New York icon, one of the stalwarts of "Music Radio" 770 WABC, has died at the age of 75. Lundy might have been the very first in that long line of influential voices for me.

Ted David, one of the contributors to the New York Radio Message Board, made the announcement under an hour ago.

David Hinckley in the New York Daily News, noted that Lundy had been ailing.

Ron Lundy greeted us - his listeners - the same way every day, with an enthusiastic "HELLO, LOVE!" He breathed life into each song that was cued up on 770 AM. You never had a sense there was such a thing as a bad time with Ron Lundy. His voice spoke of the South (from Mississippi) and the listener could sense the warm ocean breeze and a mint julep.

Yet he loved New York City, where he made his professional name, working on WABC from 1965 until its very last minute as a music station, in 1982, then on WCBS-FM from 1984 until 1997, when he returned to Mississippi for good.

Even then - at the bitter end of WABC - Lundy was still upbeat. That was purely his style, and we were better for it.

Besides "HELLO, LOVE!", Lundy was known for always saying that New York was "The greatest city in the world!" and, at the end of each air shift, telling listeners, "I had a GOOD time today!"

To think back on hearing Ron Lundy on the radio is to think of "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)", "The Night Chicago Died", and "Seasons in the Sun." It's hearing him intro any song by the "king of rock and roll" as "ELLLLLVIS!" It's The Beatles, even if he might have missed out on the W-A-Beatle-C years.

Those were some amazing times on radio in New York. WABC was blessed to have a lineup including the "Morning Mayor" (Harry Harrison), Lundy, and the biggest start of them all (and Lundy's best friend), the great Dan Ingram. While I loved Lundy, Ingram was perhaps the greatest DJ of all-time, and I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who could talk up a record better.

Yet they had a ying and yang, did Lundy and Ingram. To put it simply, Ingram was a rascal. Lundy wasn't. Someone might want to break it down further than that, and so be it. That's enough for me.

Steve West runs a tremendous radio site called Airchexx. I encourage any of you interested in the earlier days of the DJ business to head over there and listen to some of what Steve has. Tonight he is paying tribute to Ron Lundy by running several of his old air checks on his webstream, ThunderFM. While there, download some of the Ron Lundy audio from over the years.

Ron Lundy's Wikipedia page is here.

1 comment: said...

Ron Lundys passing is a great loss for all of us who remember that great voice we heard on WABC and CBS-FM. Not only did he and the other great djs spin those 45s but they entertained us with their wit and humor. He will be missed. RIP Ron Lundy.