Honest Dick Smith Dies

marklaurence@mac.com marklaurence@mac.com
Fri May 20 22:04:28 EDT 2011

Well, I've certainly heard of Dick "the Derby" Smith.  Although I never worked with him, I grew up listening to him. He's one of those local heroes that every city seemed to have until the Telecommunications Act made such a bland national business out of medium market radio. Providence had Salty Brine, Portland had Bud Sawyer, Worcester had Dick Smith. He did mornings for years and was Program Director at WORC.

WORC was a trailblazer in its day. They were the first station to program their Top 40 format with all-requests from listeners. Sounds bizarre in these days of auditorium testing, but in the mid-60's they discovered a lot of hit records before anyone else.  Dick Smith had a gold record for The Beatles' "She Loves You," naming him as "The First Believer."  I had a WORC top 50 survey with Beatles records in every slot in the Top 10.

Among the people who started at WORC were John (Johnny Gardner) Garabedian and Mark (Scotty Wainwright) Parenteau.  Dick Smith made a short jump to Boston at WCOP, but quickly returned to Worcester, where he thrived with a 5000 watt AM signal that didn't get past Framingham.

Mark Laurence

On May 20, 2011, at 6:34 PM, Larry Weil <kc1ih@mac.com> wrote:

> At 4:19 PM -0400 5/20/11, Donna Halper wrote:
>> I was just called by WBUR about the death of Honest Dick Smith, former WORC (Worcester) music director and a very influential figure in top-40 radio.  Any of you ever work with him?
> Maybe the question should be if any of us have ever heard of him! :-)
> -- 
> Larry Weil
> Lake Wobegone, NH

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