Dale Dorman, Morning Host ― August, 1968 to September, 1975
Updated May 23, 2014
Dale Dorman's Timeline
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 it's crazy!!!"

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 Confessions 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

If you can help fill in the blanks, please let me know!

Dale Dorman in 1966 Dale Dorman in 1968
Dale Dorman in 1966 Dale Dorman in 1968
Dale Dorman in 1971 Dale Dorman in 1975
Dale Dorman in 1971 Dale Dorman in 1974 
Dale Dorman in 1977 Dale Dorman in 1998 Dale Dorman in 2008
Dale Dorman in 1977 Dale Dorman in 1998 Dale Dorman in 2008

  • Another classic Dale Dorman aircheck thanks to Lee Goodman. Recorded Friday, September 24, 1971. Dale, originally from the Central New York area is sitting in for Jim Sims on one of his visits to his old favorite station.

    ** Because this particular show was done during a rating period, Dale makes a couple of "inside" references that will be immediately understood by other broadcasters (and radio freaks) that prompt listeners to remember his show.

    *** With banter between Newsman, Bill Rossi, and Traffic Copter reporter, Red Baron