Born August 26, 1925 in Decatur, Indiana, he grew up feeling that he was "the only jazz fan" around. During WWII, he trained as a bombardier in San Angelo, TX to serve in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) between 1943-'46. It was during his military career that he began his radio career."Till I was 21 or 22, I wasn't aware my voice was exceptional. An Armed Forces station needed an announcer and said, `We'll give you experience.' That was the start.
He subsequently attended Indiana University where he played trombone for the marching band.At odds with his father, who wanted him to be an electrical engineer, he enrolled in a broadcasting school and has been broadcasting ever since.
For a 1989 Sun-Times article by Bob Herguth, Buckley said "I grew up with radio. It was just that my tastes progressed to jazz bands. My mother, Ella May, who's 96 and lives in Plymouth Place in La Grange, still doesn't understand where she went wrong in my taste in music."
By 1986, Mr. Buckley was hosting his Sunday noon-4pm segment on WBEZ. Other jazz hosts for the station at that time were Neil Tesser and Barry Winograd, whom Mr. Buckley felt could ably and comfortably handle the playing of contemporary jazz, leaving him to play his favorites.
In 1988, satellite technology carried the unique voice of Mr. Buckley broadcasting live from the Chicago Jazz Fest, together with 17 other 'BEZ entities including Neil Tesser, and Richard Steele. Those live broadcasts were made from a trailer near Petrillo Music Shell, and were syndicated to over 150 radio stations, with listeners numbering as many as 10 million, estimated. On Jan. 14, 2007, Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ) made a major change to a talk, news and public affairs format, and Buckley's show was shortened from three hours to one hour.
On Sunday July 27, 2008, Dick Buckley bid the airwaves farewell in his final broadcast, a two hour special featuring guests and testimonials.