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Don Boyd | all galleries >> Memories of Old Hialeah, Old Miami and Old South Florida Photo Galleries - largest non-Facebook collection on the internet >> Miami Area TELEVISION and RADIO PERSONALITIES Historical Photo Gallery - click on image to view >> Rick Shaw, the voice of South Florida Rock 'n Roll Radio Photo Gallery - click on image to view > 2006 - Rick Shaw and morning co-host Donna Davis - retirement announced November 28, 2006
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2006 - Rick Shaw and morning co-host Donna Davis - retirement announced November 28, 2006
JUN-2006 Miami Herald: Carl Juste

2006 - Rick Shaw and morning co-host Donna Davis - retirement announced November 28, 2006

WMXJ-FM studios

Update: November 28, 2006: Rick Shaw announced his retirement from daily broadcasting after 50 years of continuous on-the-air radio announcing. He will continue to work with the Majic Children's Fund, sponsored by WMXJ-FM 102.7, and will fill in for disc jockeys on vacation. He will no longer have to rise at 4am during the week to host the morning show on Majic. Congrats Rick, you've set an all-time record for longevity that will never be surpassed. It's a sad day because we've listened to you since 1960.
November 28, 2006 by Glenn Garvin
Goodnight, my love
Rick Shaw, the last South Florida veteran of Top 40 radio, announced his retirement this morning on his WMXJ show. And when Shaw packs up his microphone after his final show, he probably should go ahead and take WMXJ's records -- well, mp3s -- with him. Oldies radio radio is dying fast -- big stations in New York, San Francisco and Chicago have dumped the format in the past 18 months -- and it's hard to see Shaw's departure as anything but an ominous portent of things to come, soon. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for Elvis Presley, the Four Tops and Aretha Franklin.

Even stations that don't formally renounce the format are quietly shedding it like an old skin. Hardly anybody anymore plays Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly or other 1950s rock and roll giants. And an increasing number of oldies stations are abandoning 1960s music, too. Although Gene Pitney hit the charts 24 times during the 1960s, you can't hear him on WMXJ -- not Town Without Pity, not (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance, not It Hurts To Be In Love, not I'm Gonna Be Strong, even though they were all Top 10 chart records. Even before Shaw announced his retirement, WMXJ had one foot in the 1970s and was headed inexorably for the 1980s. Any day now, expect to hear an "oldies" station that plays U2 and eminem.

It's not that there's no audience for 1960s rock and roll. Are you kidding? Baby Boomers are the biggest demographic bulge in human history and will remain so for another 20 years. And they still want to hear their music, which is why Barbra Steisand and Paul McCartney have made more money than anybody else on tour in the past year. The problem is the same one that afflicts television, the belief by advertisers and their hunchback assistants, the programming consultants, that anybody over 50 might as well be dead. WMXJ finished 10th in the market in the summer Arbitron ratings period, ahead of 17 other commercial stations, but too many of its listeners are past that deadly 50th birthday.

Someday advertisers are going to wise up; there are all kinds of studies showing that Baby Boomers have a lot more money than anybody else and, as part of their lifelong obsession with being hip, are eager to use it to try new things. Until that happens, the best bet for 1960s music is satellite radio, which doesn't care how old its listeners are as long as they fork over the $13 a month subscription fee. In fact, Rick Shaw in his mid-60s incarnation as a WQAM boss Top 40 jock can sometimes be heard on XM satellite radio, which uses old tape to recreate the sound of 1960s stations.

Meanwhile, I laughed out loud this morning when the first thing Shaw did after announcing his retirement was to violate WMXJ's Stalinist playlist restrictions: He cued up Goodnight My Love by Ray Peterson, the 1959 record that was his signoff back in the Top 40 days. Maybe, before his final shift at WMXJ next month, he'll even play a Gene Pitney record. (I vote for Looking Through The Eyes Of Love, Rick.) What can the programmers do, fire him?

What they'd do if they were smart is give Shaw a couple of hours on the weekends and let him play anything he wants: hits, near-hits, misses, flip sides, novelty records, anything that struck his fancy during 46 years in South Florida radio. Come on, WMXJ. Give us decrepit 50-year-olds something to listen to while we shop for satellite radios.

Posted by Glenn Garvin at 11:59 AM in Radio Permalink

Posted on Monday, June 19, 2006

Mr. Radio's career passes half a century
By Kevin Baxter, Miami Herald

PERSISTENT PERSONALITY: Morning DJ Rick Shaw, with morning co-host Donna Davis, is celebrating 50 years on the air.

WLRN-Miami Herald News | Interview with Rick Shaw
WLRN-Miami Herald News | Aircheck of Shaw from 1963

MR. RADIO: For 50 years, Rick Shaw has been bringing us the music of our lives

There's no such thing as luck, says Rick Shaw.

"Luck," the veteran radio personality explains, "is preparation running into opportunity."

Maybe. But preparation and opportunity alone seem insufficient to explain Shaw's remarkable broadcasting career, one that passed the half-century mark last Friday.

What about timing, for example?

Shaw signed on for the first time when rock 'n' roll was just beginning, opening up microphones for kids who had a passion for music but no knowledge of radio.

Being in the right place at the right time helped, too.

When Shaw moved to South Florida in 1960, the area was little more than a winter home for snowbirds and a summer home for hurricanes. Now it's the 12th-largest radio market in the country.

And then there's . . . well, what else can you call it but luck?

In a profession where change is the only constant, where stations flip formats and fire DJs at the drop of an Arbitron diary, Shaw has been without work for just a few weeks -- combined -- over the last five decades.

''Oh, it's way unusual,'' says former South Florida radio personality Joel Denver. ``It's very hard. And it's a big, big, huge testament to [his] skills, [his] talent and [his] ability basically to listen to the marketplace, know what the marketplace wants and be able to deliver it to them on a steady basis.''

Shaw has made his mark in South Florida radio more through repetition than ratings, more through consistency than controversy, even weathering a 2002 conviction for drunk driving -- a mistake he apologized for on-air.

While broadcast legends such as Dr. Don Rose in San Francisco and Ron Chapman in Dallas left huge footprints behind when they left the air, Shaw's career has been noteworthy primarily for its length.

"He was a respected legend when I was there," says Dave Hoeffel, East Coast editor for the trade journal and a South Florida DJ from 1982-85. "He was already seen as a veteran and a legend and sort of a grandfather of pop radio . . . and the fact that we're still talking about him almost 25 years later, you can't be more huge than that."

Yet as remarkable as his 50 years in radio are, and as unprecedented as his 46 years in the same market may be, Shaw's most notable accomplishment may be that he's accomplished all that without making any enemies.

"He has a real everyman persona," says Donna Davis, Shaw's partner on the morning show at oldies station WMXJ-FM (102.7) for more than six years. "He doesn't have a huge ego. I really don't think that he realizes how much of an icon he is and how much impact he's had on people. Even though he hears it over and over again."

A huge bear of a man who wears a warm smile almost as often as he wears his trademark Greek fisherman's cap, Shaw passed through four South Florida radio stations before landing at WMXJ in 1995. Yet he's seemingly left nothing behind but good friends and better memories.

Part of that is Shaw's good nature. While off-color language and rude pranks have become staples at other radio stations, Shaw laughs easily and drops words like ''golly'' into normal conversation. And he humbly credits his radio success to everything but his own talent.

"Somehow I've been able to go with the flow enough to maintain reasonable contact with the present as well as the past," he says.

Adds Davis: "When you look at Rick you just kind of transport yourself back to that golden age in radio. He's been able to keep that."

Shaw got his start in radio by, well, by luck, actually, when he dropped in at a tiny East St. Louis, Ill., radio station to visit his high school English teacher, who was a part-time DJ. The station's news reader had called in sick just 20 minutes before he was to go on the air so the teacher pointed Shaw toward the Teletype machines and told him to prepare a script.

"I didn't blow a word," Shaw remembers. "Not a single word."

Never mind that the station had the signal strength of a light bulb and could barely be heard in the parking lot, Shaw was hooked.

"Just riding home that afternoon thinking about what had just happened. I was on the radio!" he says. "People all over East St. Louis could flip a little switch and hear me talking to them. Whoa, what a concept!"

"I just became obsessed with it. I said, `This is what I'm going to do. Somehow, someway, I'm going to do radio as a career.' I knew that."

The station manager hired him to read the news. Then, as luck would have it, a few months later one of the regular DJs called in sick and Shaw suddenly had his own show.

The timing couldn't have been better. That January Elvis Presley released Heartbreak Hotel, his first gold record, kicking off the rock 'n' roll revolution. As radio executives clamored to catch up, the industry underwent massive upheaval, replacing veteran personalities with kids who understood the music but nothing about the business.

"With Top 40 radio there were no books to read. There were no classes to take. Because nobody knew what was going on. All the rules were changing," Shaw says. 'If you were a kid who had a halfway decent feel for rock 'n' roll and music and stuff like that, you could do what we did on the radio."

And they were in demand for doing it. Soon Shaw moved to a station in Omaha, then Denver, which was experiencing one of its coldest winters on record. That's when he looked on a map and found Miami. Within days he mailed out a air check -- an audio clip -- and in 1960, less than four years after his radio debut, Shaw signed on for the first time as the evening personality on WCKR.

When he moved east, Shaw left more than the cold behind. He also left his name. Born Jim Hummel to a couple who ran a sporting goods store in Illinois, he was given the stage name Rick Shaw when he got to Miami. That seemed a small price to pay.

"When I came to South Florida, I said, `Man, this is paradise,' " Shaw remembers. ' `This is as good as it gets. Whatever I'm going to do with my life, I'm going to do it right here.'"

So Shaw settled in and began narrating the soundtrack of a generation, helping start Stevie Wonder's career, breaking the Beatles' first U.S. release and once earning a record 54 share of the South Florida audience, meaning that for one month more people were tuned to him than the rest of the market's stations combined.

And rarely does a day go by without someone reminding Shaw of a special moment they shared together.

"The first time they drove a car, there was a radio. I might have been on it," he says. "The first night they went out on a date and kissed a girl, I might have been playing the right song. Radio is a powerful, powerful vehicle. And people remember some of the silliest things.

"They turned on the radio and there I was. So I was part of that whole experience."

And there will never be another time like it. At least not in radio.

"It will never, ever happen again," Shaw says. "The ingredients, the formula that it took. All the things that had to happen at exactly the right place and exactly the right time cannot happen again.

"They talk about the golden age of radio as the '40s. I don't think so. I think it was the '60s. It was a great time to be doing what I was doing."

As for how long he'll continue to do it, however, Shaw is uncertain.

"I cannot imagine that he is getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning and showing up every single morning," says Davis, herself a veteran of 20 years in radio. "He's never called in sick. Every morning I drive in, his car is already there.

"He has often said that this is what he does and he doesn't know how to do anything else. He can't imagine not doing it."

Yet there are few milestones left to achieve, and even though he's healthy, he'll be 68 in October and concedes the early-morning wake-up calls are getting increasingly tougher to answer.

But then he smiles and quotes legendary South Florida TV newsman Ralph Renick.

"When it's time," Shaw says Renick once told him, "you'll know. So I'm waiting."

One of Shaw's fondest radio memories actually had very little to do with the radio -- but everything to do with the impact he's had on his audience.

Every winter Shaw works tirelessly on behalf of the Majic Children's Fund, for which he's raised nearly $3 million over the last 10 years. Three years ago, a single mother and her young daughter, newly arrived from Atlanta and penniless, called and reluctantly asked for assistance at Christmastime. Shaw responded with supermarket vouchers and Toys 'R' Us coupons, then quickly forgot the whole episode.

But the woman and her child never did.

So 18 months ago, while Shaw was having lunch at a restaurant in Davie, a woman interrupted his meal by starting "you have no idea who I am. [But] I know who you are."

After recounting the whole incident in great detail, she called her daughter over, pointed to Shaw and said, "This is what Santa Claus looks like when he's not wearing the red suit."

Shaw's eyes still water at the memory.

"What greater compliment is there than that?" he asks.

And to think it might never had happened if the news reader for a small, low-power station in East St. Louis, Ill., hadn't called in sick 50 years ago last week.

What a lucky break.

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Bill Sullivan 13-May-2014 16:14
In Jan 1996, I discovered that there were no plans for a "30 Year" reunion for the North Miami High Class of '66, an unfortunate result of some after event personality issues from the 20th reunion committee.

The school referred me to First Class Reunions (Ft Lauderdale) who had a list of class alumni. A committee was formed, and I was surprised to end up with the job of chairperson (unusual because I wasn't a jock or a "Sosh" back in the day).

With only 5 months before the Summer, our committee was able to cobble together a hurried version of a 30th reunion that did manage to draw almost 250 people over the weekend at Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.

We jumped at the chance to include Rick Shaw as Emcee, and it was easily the highlight of the event. Every alumni was as familiar with Rick Shaw as if he had walked the halls of North Miami HS with us.

It was Rick's warm and funny performance - combined with great stories and wonderful nostalgia from our high school days - that removed the leftover tension that weekend. From the moment he began his show we all partied like it was 1966.

Rick Shaw saved our 30th reunion, and was cemented in my mind as the greatest radio DJ personality in history. Thank You, Rick!
K Martin 07-Mar-2009 08:01
oops meant class of 67...senility you know..ha
K Martin 07-Mar-2009 08:00
Oh god yes I remember Rick Shaw and all the other personalities at WQAM..Coral Gables class of 77. What a time for radio and music in Miami. Listening to Shaw and the others may have been a factor in entering radio myself in 1969 as a dj , music director , and program director in S. Carolina and remaining in the biz till about 2001. Times change and markets change and life moves on. Miss the biz but will always remember fondly Rick Shaw and listening late at night on those old transister radios to his sign off song " Goodnight My Love" . Thanks for the memories Rick and all the fun at WQAM....tiger radio
Ari Delgado 14-Feb-2009 22:54
i'm 60 and i use to listen to rick shaw on the radio nd we fallow the Gold GTO to get prices ,but in 62,63 i went to chanel 10 by JMH saturday hop, and the rich shaw show and in the 67,68,by tape and lip singing on his other show. i was crying the day of his ritired on the radio, he brouht lost of good memories,on early 60, i met in his show the great. Brenda lee
love and happyness
Wayne Werff 07-Sep-2007 06:33
I attended Hialeah High School class of"68. WQAM was the only radio station I ever listened to while growing up in Hialeah,Fl. All the DJ's were great but Rick was in a league of his own. I miss those days of high school and sock hops and all the things I remember of South Florida. But when I hear the name Rick Shaw,it all comes back to me as clear as a Friday night on a date on Miami Beach in the 60's and WQAM on the car radio.
Thanks Rick for all the memories and for being there for all us young teens back then. I wish you nothing but happiness in your retirement and I do hope you will get a spot on your past station to play oldies for us baby boomer's again and to hear Goodnight My Love again at the end of the show.
Jeff Levine 16-Jul-2007 03:39
For Don Lawrence: I knew Diane Raymond when she worked in the traffic department of WMYQ (now Power 96). Last I heard, she's working in New York.

Regarding the change in the "oldies" format: I was a loyal Majic listener ever since the old WCKO was sold and changed their format to oldies (Majic 102.7). However, nowadays I seldom listen to the radio - my CD collection has a better playlist that Majic does.

You could almost set a clock by the repetition, and you're so right - so much is left out of the station play lists by supposed "demographic surveys". How soon they forget that the ones who KEPT them on the air are the very listeners they've abandoned...

Sure, there's a place for the "oldies" of the following generations... but they did the same thing to our parents when they dropped all of the "easy listening stations"... and you know what? I'd rather hear Frank Sinatra, Patti Page, Tony Bennett and Sarah Vaughn than even a two second sound bit of Brittany Spears, Christine Aguilara or any other current "flavor of the week"...

But for me... "Rock and roll will always be... it'll go down in history..."
Harriet 01-Jun-2007 20:27
Remember the Beatle-Button contest on WQAM? I was 14 or 15 at the time. One day while babysitting, the Beatle-Button went off. I had to be the first caller in order to win a free ticket to see the Beatles' move, A Hard Day's Night at the Coral Theater on Miracle Mile. I ran from the living room, jumped with all my strength across the room, landing on my "employer's bed to reach the phone, dialed the well-memorized number and lo and behold, it rang. Rick Shaw answered and I won a free ticket. For some odd reason, the next time the contest button went off, I flew through the air again and Holy smokes, I won again. Well this happened 5 times, only on the 5th call, Rick said, "C'mon, Harriet, give someone else a chance." All together, I won 4 tickets so my mom, sister, best friend and I all got to see the movie. Thanks, Ricky Ticky. You're my hero.
Guest 03-May-2007 11:58
like many who grew up in south florida, I watched Rick on his morning television show and listened on my transistor radio while doing my homework in the evening. Rick is definately the voice of the soundtrack of growing up in south Florida in the 60's. I used to enjoy his reunion shows of the the "Tiger" dj's from WQAM, Jim Dunlap, Lee Sherwood, Roby Younge and the rest. An example of the impact of Rick was when I listened to Gloria Estefan's cd of the songs that impacted her growing up and there was Goodnight My Love! Did anyone other than south Florida listen to that song? It certainly meant something to many of us, ususally "lights out" the end of another day! Thanks for a great ride! It has been much more than just memories.
sonny 15-Apr-2007 19:42
An old friend just sent me this email and saw Rick Shaw, memories of his show came right back to me. But the best times we had together is when we opened up a night club called Trader Johns and we decided to do a DJ and hired Rick, Robey Young and Lee Sherwood. Rick designed the booth and headed up the schedule for the D/J's we had plenty of fun, I wonder if Rick remembers Joe, who was sent down from NY to look over things. My best to Rick. Sonny Grech
Guest 07-Mar-2007 16:18
know this is late getting to you, but just ran across this...In 1962 I entered a contest on "why you'ld like to work on the Rick Shaw show." Strangely, I won. And for over a year I, along with a girl named Diane Raymond worked on his show at WCKR. I was 16. What a great time and learning experience. Rick actually helped me grow up and see the real world...It changed my life. He was great to work with and taught me a lot....I married and moved to NC in 1973 and rarely get back to Fla., but have thought of those days lucky was I to work at WCKR during those days. I'm a teacher in NC and often tell my students about those days....Congrats. Rick for 50 years.....Don Lawrence
SUSIE ROUNTREE 03-Mar-2007 21:18
HELENE 14-Feb-2007 19:46
carol mckenna 28-Nov-2006 15:20
On March 17,1993 I was meeting some friends for lunch when I noticed a pork pie hat moving across the parking lot and I knew who was under it. Rick and I had some conversation and he gave me one of his silver pennies. Two hours later i was sitting at the railroad tracks at Cyress Creek Rd. and Andrews Ave. when the train hit the tanker! That silver penny continues to be my good luck charm. Rick, have as much fun in retirement as you did in life. God Bless You. Carol McKenna