I had the opportunity to first meet Dick Clark in High School. He had come to town for a promotional autograph session on a new book which he had just written. I went down to the department store, picked up a copy of the book and got his autograph. I asked Mr. Clark if he had any free time and would love to come down to our student radio station. Much to my surprise he said YES!
I remember his eyes lit up and he said to me that he loves young broadcasters and how they find new music first. He came down for about an hour that afternoon and played on the air, taking questions and playing our Top 40 hits. He went to no other radio stations in town except for ours. He even sat in with a local TV station morning show and talked about visiting us.
Many years later I had the chance to hook up with Dick Clark in the 90s while working in radio out in San Francisco. Our radio station was promoting Dick Clark’s new Rock ‘n’ Roll show at one of the Casinos in Lake Tahoe. I had the privilege to interview him many times on the air and meet him at his show. One of my biggest thrills was Dick calling me up to wish me Happy Birthday, which he did several times. All I can say is that the man was very approachable.
Before leaving the West Coast to come back to the New York area, I would occasionally run into Dick Clark at industry conventions and media parties around the Los Angeles area. I appreciate the fact that he would spend a few minutes with me and always would ask how my career was going. Unfortunately, I never could get him to remember the time he came to my student radio station when I was 16 years old. He explained to me it was just a different time in his life back then. My guess would be his first wife!
I’m not so sure that Dick Clark was America’s oldest teenager, but he certainly was an adult business man who understood teenagers and their musical tastes. From my childhood, I got to experience watching Dick Clark on American Bandstand and then years later as an adult dealing with him in the broadcast/programming industry. New Year’s Eve is going to be a little empty this year.
- Ron Parker
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