Dale Dorman knew he wanted to be in radio since he was very young. He literally
walked by a radio and heard a man's voice come out of it and said to his mother,
"who's that guy, how does that work?" She said that he was miles away talking
into a microphone and that it was through the air to the radio. Dale thought
that was the coolest thing. From then on that is what he wanted to do. So he
banged on a million radio station doors during high school and finally he knocked
on the right door in Syracuse, NY at WOLF/1490 AM. The morning guy had quit
and they also had another position to fill. Just the day before they had told
him that they didn't have any openings but to fill out an application just in
case you never know! Well the General Manager called Dale where he was working
as a bookkeeper in a bank and asked for a tape. He didn't have a tape because
he had no experience. So the GM gave him some records and a tape and sent him
into a studio. The GM told him to make believe he was on the radio. This happened
at 5 PM and at 6 PM he was on the air on the 6-Midnight shift and has been working
in radio ever since. Originally, Dale thought radio was a great way to get all
the new music. The other thing was that the business really does fascinate him,
even to this day. "You talk into this piece of metal and people can hear you
Al Gates told me he'd quit WRKO Big 68 because he didn't like Bill Drake's format
(others claim Drake simply couldn't get Gates to follow his format properly).
So, enter Dale Dorman. Dale worked for a KFRC in San Francisco for two years
before moving to Boston to work for WRKO. (The first song Dale played on WRKO
was Midnight Confession
s by the Grass
Roots) He stayed at WRKO for almost 10 years (1968-1978) during which he also
was the voice over on Boston's TV Channel 56 for the Kids Block Cartoons, morning
and afternoon. He was known there as Uncle Dale from 1969-1991. KISS 108 had
just come on the air less than a year before Dale came on board. He loved the
energy KISS was a disco station at the time. The station was wild and nuts!
Dale hung out in the building after his shift at another station (WRKO) until
they hired him. Dale's calling card or personal trademarks would be that he
always signs on his show with "Hi Ma", and being called "Uncle Dale."
In mid-1975, Johnny Dark ― for reasons unclear ― temporarily replaced Dorman
doing mornings, In September of 1978, Dorman was replaced by the team of Charlie
& Harrigan who quit the station shortly thereafter. Charlie & Harrigan didn't
do well at all in Boston. And Dorman moved on to WVBF, after ten long, loyal
(and popular) years at WRKO.
On Bill Drake: "I met an up-and-coming programmer named Bill Drake, who turned
out being pretty darned successful, Dorman fondly recalls. I sent him a tape
and he hired me to work at KYNO. He taught me his style and formula and I absolutely
loved it. The central-New York State native candidly confesses he has
absolutely no idea why he's been so successful in Boston. I keep going to work
every day and they're kind enough to keep me there. Its just turned into a career;
I've been very lucky. I had no idea it would last this long.[Boston] just feels
like home and being on the ocean made me happy. As long as the public accepts
me and I'm healthy, Id love to continue doing this [in Boston] for as long as
they'll have me.
One day at a meeting at WRKO, Dorman suggested that management flip WRKO-AM
to WRKO-FM and let WRKO-AM do Talk. The music sounded great in stereo on FM,
he says. People scoffed and laughed at me, but look what happened."
In addition to working under Drake, Dorman was also fortunate to have one-on-one
contact with Paul Drew. When Drake finally gave up the hands-on, he allowed
Paul to deal with me, Dorman recalls. I've been very lucky to work with guys
who've been absolute giants in the business. Bill Drake [is] a wonderful man
and smart as anything. He's very savvy, yet leaves the personality alone. There's
a little guidance and a little nudge in a certain direction." (Under Drake)
" The secret wasn't 'shut up and play the music.' The secret was
the fewer things you say, the more important those things become.
One day at KYNO, Dorman was walking up the long intro of Mitch Ryder & The Detroit
Wheels Devil With A Blue Dress
Recounting the story, he notes, "I did a weather forecast over it and something
else. [Bill Drake] came into the studio and told me that he was in Los Angeles
the previous day and The Real Don Steele played that same song. Over that intro,
Steele said, Hey little girl, want to go for a ride? By doing that, Steele said
more in fewer words than I could have done if I did five weather forecasts.
Drake was a great teacher and a great trainer. Man, did I learn from that."
Tim Braddock, a Radio station Engineer who once knew with Dale while at WCHN
sent this tidbit in to wrko.org:
"Dale really got his radio start with me in Norwich, NY at WCHN AM/FM. He
did an afternoon rock show that was amazing for its time. The station owner
hated rock and rock, so Dale was not on his Friend list."
"Dale lasted quite a while; I think we did a remote on the street in front
of the radio station and at the county fair. He didnít last long and after a
'real job,' he landed at WOLF. I went to visit during his shift. hilarious
Top 40 screamin' AM."
"As I think more about how crazy Dale was, we ran mic cables from the front
studio out the front window and down to the street where he did the show. I
had this big ugly battery radio that was the air monitor. No (tape) delay in
those days. Vivid epic memory. I did the
show open: 'It's 4:05 and time to go go go with The Dale Dorman Show.' "
Dale is an inductee in the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame