~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~MIAMI HERALD ARTICLE ON RICK'S LAST DAY~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Posted on Sat, May. 12, 2007
MUSIC | THE RETIREMENT OF RICK SHAW
Radio's golden oldie signs off
Rick Shaw, the veteran disc jockey who stayed true to rock 'n' roll for a radio lifetime, retired amid tears, congratulations and sentimental memories.
By GLENN GARVIN, ggarvin@MiamiHerald.com
Comforting sobbing listeners over the phone and playing obscure old rock 'n' roll songs calculated to make a program director wince, veteran WMXJ disc jockey Rick Shaw turned off his microphone for the last time Friday, retiring after 46 years in South Florida radio.
'Rock 'n' roll has a song for every occasion, and this one is no exception,'' Shaw, 68, said in an uncharacteristically shaky voice as he cued up the towering vibrato climax to Roy Orbison's It's Over, then segued gently into his longtime sign-off song, Goodnight My Love.
His goodbye at 9:07 a.m. in a studio clogged with TV cameras and station executives was seemingly light years away from his hello in 1956, when he was asked to read the news on the air during a school visit to an East St. Louis radio station. But Shaw said that they weren't all that different.
''The first and the last are both butterfly days,'' he told The Miami Herald a few minutes after his sign-off. ``It was pretty emotional in there.''
Shaw spent his final morning on the air alternating between phone calls from old broadcast partners, who reminisced about the prehistoric days of radio when commercials were spliced together from audiotape with razor blades, and distraught fans who grew up listening to his show.
A few of the latter nearly took him over the edge -- particularly a listener who put her 8- and 9-year-old sons on the phone to sing ``You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.''
He also greeted his replacement, Bruce Kelly, a competitor on rival South Florida rock stations in the late 1970s who's back in town after a long stint on satellite radio. Not that Kelly seemed unduly sentimental about his return. ''Welcome to South Florida, me,'' he said. ``Will somebody please slam into me with another car?''
Shaw went out playing the same music he played coming in. About half the songs he used Friday are no longer on the playlist even at oldies stations like WMXJ -- rock that ranged from literally garbage (the Trashmen's Surfin' Bird) to literally classic (Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale, which borrows heavily from a Bach cantata).
''I never got tired of playing these records,'' said Shaw, a former Top 40 jock who has been mostly an oldies DJ for more than three decades. ``They were the soundtrack of my life -- I played them at the beginning of my career and I played them at the end.''
Shaw's career, which began with that impromptu newscast in 1956 (the station hired him to read news on the spot and made him a DJ six months later), took him briefly to Omaha and Denver before he arrived at South Florida's WCKR (now WIOD) in 1960. ''I took a look around and decided this was it, this was the place for me,'' he said.
In 1963 Shaw moved to WQAM, a Top 40 rock-'n'-roll station with a teenage following so fanatic that at times more than half the radios in South Florida were tuned to it. And no WQAM DJ was more popular than Shaw, the first one in Florida to play a Beatles record.
From there he joined WINZ in 1970, and WAXY (now WBBG) in 1976. When WAXY shifted from an oldies format to classic rock in 1994, he joined WMXJ (or Majic 102.7, as it's known by its listeners), first in the afternoon drive spot and for the past eight years as the morning man.
Those 4 a.m. wake-up calls are the part of the job he'll miss the least. ''The older I get, the harder it became,'' Shaw said. ``I've always been kind of a nighttime guy. The idea of going to bed at 8 p.m. when the evening is just beginning really busted my chops. That was probably the main factor in deciding to retire.''
Shaw won't disappear entirely. He'll continue to work two days a week on the Majic Children's Fund, his charity that distributes aid to underprivileged South Florida kids. And WMXJ music director Mindy Lang invited him to stop by her noon request show from time to time.
''We'll play songs we're not supposed to play,'' promised Lang. ''Woo-ooh, now you got me,'' laughed Shaw, who pretty soon was playing one of those banned records, the last of an estimated 975,000 he had cued up during his career. It was Ray Peterson's Goodnight My Love:
If you should awake
in the still of the night
please have no fear
For I'll be there,
you know I care. . . .
From http://www.wmxj.com/listingsentryheadline.asp?ID=493067&PT=Features :
There is only one KING of radio in South Florida ... Majic's very own RICK SHAW! Join the entire Majic family on Friday night, May 11th from 7pm to 11pm at the Ten Palms Restaurant at Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino as we honor Rick's extraordinary career and celebrate his retirement!
Join us for a 60's & 70's style buffet dinner and soft drinks, Chris MacDonald's "Memories of Elvis" live in concert, dancing, raffles, a cash bar and so much more!
Tickets are $75 each and all proceeds (except the cash bar) will benefit The Majic Children's Fund. To purchase tickets, please call 1-877-650-5001 Monday through Friday. In some cases, you may be asked to leave a message. If this occurs, clearly leave your name and a telephone number where you can be reached between 2pm and 7pm each weekday so we can get back to you as promptly as possible. You can also email your name, phone numbers and how many tickets you require to email@example.com and a representive will contact you within 24 hours. We accept cash, checks, Visa and Mastercard.
We hope you'll help us honor a South Florida radio legend and our friend ... Rick Shaw on Friday night, May 11th!