Harry Harrison (radio)

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Harry Harrison (born September 20, 1930 in Chicago) has been a popular American radio personality for over 50 years. Harrison is the only DJ to be a WMCA "Good Guy," a WABC "All-American," and on the WCBS-FM line-up when the New York station flipped to the "Jack" format in June 2005.

WCFL, Chicago, Illinois—1953–1954[edit]

Harrison worked at WCFL as a summer replacement, yet remained there eight months, substituting for the permanent DJs.

WPEO, Peoria, Illinois—1954–1959[edit]

Harrison became program director at WPEO, Peoria and hosted the morning show as the "Morning Mayor of Peoria."[citation needed] In just six months, Harrison made WPEO the top station.

WMCA, New York—1959–1968[edit]

In 1959, Harrison joined WMCA, New York, as the mid-day "Good Guy." Joe O'Brien (mornings) and Harrison gave WMCA a "one-two punch" for over eight years.[citation needed] Harrison, along with wife Patti, and children Brian Joseph ["B.J."], Patti, Patrick, and Michael called the New York suburbs "home".

In 1965, he recorded the nationally charted holiday narration "May You Always" on Amy Records.

Other WMCA "Good Guys" included Jack Spector, B. Mitchel Reed, Dan Daniel and Johnny Dark, and talk show host Barry Gray. Harrison became popular with his "Housewife Hall of Fame” feature, and participated in the 1966 WMCA Good Guy picnic. Often, he scored the highest ratings on WMCA. WABC program director Rick Sklar took note.

WABC (AM), New York—1968–1979[edit]

In 1968, when WABC morning man Herb Oscar Anderson left the station, Rick Sklar hired Harrison to replace him. Harrison was followed in the WABC day by Ron Lundy.

Every year, Harrison played seasonal songs, such as his holiday greeting "May You Always” in the winter (the Amy records single of this song made the Billboard Christmas charts in 1965), and Allan Sherman's summer camp novelty, "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh", throughout the summer months.

WABC personalities included, along with Harrison, Charlie Greer, Scott Muni, Bob Lewis, Lundy, Johnny Donovan, Dan Ingram, "Cousin Brucie" Bruce Morrow, Chuck Leonard, Bob Cruz, Frank Kingston Smith, and Roby Yonge, and others.

Harrison had a number of "trademark" phrases, such as "Morning, Mom", "Every brand new day should be opened like a precious gift", "Stay well, stay happy, stay right here" and "Harry Harrison wishing you the best... because that's exactly what you deserve!” Also, on the last day of every year, Harrison would bring his four children to work with him and at the end of his shift, he would join them in giving listeners New Year's wishes.

Harrison was let go from WABC as the station changed direction in November 1979.

WCBS-FM, New York—1980–2003[edit]

In March 1980, Harrison became the morning personality at WCBS-FM (101.1), playing oldies music. In 1984, with Lundy joining the station, they were once again heard back-to-back. Harrison would interact with Morning Crew engineer Al Vertucci, Phil Pepe, who reported sports, and joke about "wacky weather" and toupee warnings with Irv “Mr. “G” Gikofsky (weather), Mary Jane Royce, and Sue Evans. At 7:20 AM, Harrison opened the "birthday book" and announced listener and celebrity birthdays.

On April 25, 1997 New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani issued a proclamation, naming April 25 "Harry Harrison Day" in honor of the second "Mayor."

On March 19, 2003, after a 44-year career in New York radio, Harrison left WCBS-FM, saying "I am not retiring." His farewell to his loyal radio friends (from 5:30 to 10:00am) was held before a live audience at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City. It offered old airchecks plus guest appearances by WCBS-FM colleagues Don K. Reed, Bobby Jay, Steve O'Brien, Randy Davis and Dan Taylor, his replacement, as well as his son and daughter, Patti. Harrison took phone calls from Bob Shannon, Mike Fitzgerald, Ed Baer, and Ron Lundy. Songs included Gladys Knight's "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)" and the Little River Band's "Reminiscing," before closing with "That's What Friends Are For."

Shortly after he left WCBS-FM, Harrison's long-time wife, Patti, who he had always referred to as "Pretty Patti" on the air, died.

WCBS-FM, New York—2004–2005[edit]

Harrison returned to WCBS-FM with a Saturday morning show in 2004. It offered two hours of variety and two hours of Beatles music and memories.

On Memorial Day, May 30, 2005, Harry and "Cousin" Bruce Morrow were guests on WABC Radio’s annual Rewound show. Four days later, on June 3, WCBS-FM ended its "oldies" format, in favor of the new "Jack" format.[citation needed] However, as a result of listener disapproval, the WCBS-FM Oldies format was brought back on July 12, 2007, in a modernized form.

Personal life[edit]

Harry spends his time tending to his 5 dogs at his Bergen County, New Jersey home.

External links[edit]