Harry_Harrison_(radio)

Harry Harrison (radio)

Harry Harrison (born September 20, 1930 in Chicago) has been a popular American radio personality for over 50 years. Harrison is the only deejay to be a WMCA “Good Guy,” a WABC “All-American,” and on the WCBS-FM line-up when the New York station flipped to the “Jack” format in June, 2005.

WBEZ, Chicago, Illinois—1953

At age 23, Harrison listened to a lot of radio while he was confined to bed for rheumatic fever for a year. After his recovery, he approached Chicago station WJJD, but was signed instead to a contact with an educational radio station, WBEZ.

WCFL, Chicago, Illinois—1953–1954

Harrison worked at WCFL as a “summer replacement,” yet remained there eight months, substituting for the permanent deejays.

WPEO, Peoria, Illinois—1954–1959

Harrison became program director at WPEO, Peoria and hosted the morning show as the "Morning Mayor of Peoria." In just six months, Harrison made WPEO the top station. WMCA, New York would come calling.

WMCA, New York—1959–1968

Harrison, along with wife Patti, and children Brian Joseph ["B.J." taken from them much too soon], Patti, Patrick, and Michael would soon call the New York suburbs "home".

In 1959, Harrison joined WMCA as the mid-day "Good Guy." Joe O'Brien (mornings) and Harrison gave WMCA a "one-two punch" for over eight years. Harrison told San Diego radio personality Gene Knight in an interview in 1994 that WMCA program director Ruth Meyer originally considered both Joe and Harry, separately, for the WMCA morning show.

Other WMCA "Good Guys" included Jack Spector, B. Mitchel Reed, Dan Daniel and Johnny Dark, and talk show host Barry Gray. Harrison became popular with his "Housewife Hall of Fame” feature, and participated in the 1966 WMCA Good Guy picnic. Often, he scored the highest ratings on WMCA. WABC program director Rick Sklar took note.

WABC (AM), New York, New York—1968–1979

In 1968, when WABC morning man Herb Oscar Anderson left the station, Rick Sklar hired Harrison to replace him. Harrison was followed in the WABC day by Ron Lundy.

Every year, Harrison played seasonal songs, such as his holiday greeting "May You Always” in the winter (the Amy records single of this song made the Billboard Christmas charts in 1965), and Allan Sherman's summer camp novelty, "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh," throughout the summer months.

WABC personalities included, along with Harrison, Charlie Greer, Scott Muni, Bob Lewis, Lundy, Johnny Donovan, Dan Ingram, "Cousin Brucie" Bruce Morrow, Chuck Leonard, Bob Cruz, Frank Kingston Smith, and Roby Yonge, and others.

Harrison had a number of "trademark" phrases, such as "Every brand new day should be opened like a precious gift", "Stay well, stay happy, stay right here" and "Harry Harrison wishing you the best... because that's exactly what you deserve!” Also, on the last day of every year, Harrison would bring his four children to work with him and at the end of his shift, he would join them in giving listeners New Year's wishes.

Harrison was fired from WABC as the station changed direction in November, 1979.

WCBS-FM, New York—1980–2003

In March, 1980, Harrison became the morning personality at WCBS-FM (101.1), playing oldies music. In 1984, with Lundy joining the station, they were once again heard back-to-back. Harrison would interact with Morning Crew engineer Al Vertucci, Phil Pepe, who reported sports, and joke about "wacky weather" and toupee warnings with Irv “Mr. “G” Gikofsky (weather), Mary Jane Royce, and Sue Evans. At 7:20 AM, Harrison opened the "birthday book" and announced listener and celebrity birthdays.

On April 25, 1997 New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani issued a proclamation, naming April 25 "Harry Harrison Day" in honor of the second "Mayor."

On March 19, 2003, after a 44-year career in New York radio, Harrison left WCBS-FM, saying “I am not retiring.” His farewell to his loyal radio friends (from 5:30 to 10 am) was held before a packed, live audience at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City. It offered old airchecks, and guest appearances by WCBS-FM colleagues Don K. Reed, Bobby Jay, Steve O'Brien, Randy Davis and Dan Taylor, his replacement, as well as his son and daughter, Patti. Harrison took phone calls from Bob Shannon, Mike Fitzgerald, Ed Baer and Ron Lundy. Songs included Gladys Knight's "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)" and the Little River Band's "Reminiscing," before closing with "That's What Friends Are For."

Sadly, shortly after he left WCBS-FM, Harrison would lose his long-time wife, Patti, who he had always referred to as "Pretty Patti" on the air.

WCBS-FM, New York—2004–2005

Harrison returned to WCBS-FM, to the delight of his fans, with a Saturday morning show (6–10 AM) in 2004. It offered two hours of variety and two hours of Beatles music and memories.

On Memorial Day, May 30, 2005, Harry and Cousin Bruce Morrow were guests on WABC Radio’s annual “Rewound” show. Four days later, on June 3, WCBS-FM ended its "oldies" format, in favor of the new “Jack” format. (Ironically, Harrison's voice was last heard on New York radio, not on WCBS-FM, but on WABC.)

Today

Harry spends his time tending to his 5 dogs at his Bergen County, New Jersey home.

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