Paul McLane is editor in chief of Radio
sadness I note the passing of my friend and colleague Dale Tucker.
Word reached me Monday that Dale, shown at right and below, had died of cancer at age 73, after a short period of illness. I could not share the
news with you until I had confirmed it with his family.
you have read Radio World over the years, you saw the fruits of Dale’s labors
in our pages, though you might not know his name. If you work in the broadcast
equipment manufacturing business, especially if you attended radio’s big trade
shows, you probably knew Dale personally.
Dale sold ads for our employer, and did it well. He spent 17 years as a
regional sales manager for Radio World when the publication was owned by IMAS
Publishing, working for founder Steve Dana, and was often seen at conventions in
the company of his sales colleagues Skip Tash or John Casey. Dale also helped
launch sister publication Pro Audio Review.
space is hard. Deadlines are frequent, even intense; clients may not wish to
take your calls; the industry around which your business is based changes
constantly; competitors constantly seek to eat your lunch while you are pressed
by the needs of your job to grab theirs.
Dale was no
cut-throat account exec. His skill with folks and his genuine warmth were what made him successful. Demonstrating his sense of humor, Dale listed this as his specialty
on LinkedIn: “Crack production whiz with Ampex 350 and an Editall Splicing
block/razor blade. Cutting edge 40+ years ago!” But more seriously, he named as his specialty, “relationship selling
and service.” That was the Dale I knew, a “people person” if ever I met one.
His success came from that personal warmth crossed with a droll sense of humor.
He also exuded a passion for radio evident to anyone who met him; his greatest
compliment about another person in this business was, “He’s one of us.”
Dale loved old radios, old microphones, funny ties, and
interesting automobiles old and new. I remember his joy when he realized that
we shared a love of historical World’s Fair iconography and he rushed to share
photos with me. And he so enjoyed comparing notes and sharing stories — about people, about radio and
about their careers. (One colleague noted that word of Dale’s passing has been
circulating on the grapevine, then added: “For years, Dale was the grapevine.”)
According to his
LinkedIn profile, Dale was educated at the University of South Alabama and
began his radio career at WILE in Cambridge, Ohio. He went on to stations in
Tampa, Fla.; Washington; Omaha, Neb.; Mobile, Ala.; Boston; Denver; Aspen, Colo.; Minneapolis; and the
Bay Area. He was an air personality, production manager, program director and
station manager. He sold equipment, program syndication, and print and online
A job of which Dale was most proud was that of production director and air
personality for WRKO in Boston in the late 1960s. He voiced promos, PSAs and
spots, and worked a weekend air shift on the AM. “Bob Henabery hired me,” Dale
wrote on LinkedIn. “He and another genius, Harvey Mednick, turned the tables on
the common automated radio station — rather than trying to hide the fact that
it was automated, they capitalized on it! WRKO-FM became ‘R-KO, the shy but
friendly robot.’ … Due to an AFTRA contract stipulation, they had to hire one
exclusive voice for the FM. That was me.”
John Casey recalls: “Dale told me, during one of our many road trips visiting
accounts in California, of the day he had to pinch-hit at the last minute for
one of the absent radio hosts at WRKO. That fateful on-air coverage turned out
to be the very first U.S. radio interview of the Bee Gees … a fairly
significant and historical radio event, indeed.”
his career Dale also sold space for other trade publications. In later
years he created Tucker Broadcast Surplus and the Tucker Broadcast consultancy,
continuing to help stations buy and dispose of equipment. He was active in SBE
Chapter 43 in Sacramento and was a volunteer for the California
Historical Radio Society, where his activities included managing antique
radio swap meets.
Dale is survived by Kathy, his wife of
41 years, and their daughter Jessica. To inquire about the memorial service,
share a memory or say goodbye, feel free to call Kathy at Dale’s old business
line at (916) 721-3410 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For me as a co-worker, Dale’s sales work literally made
my work at Radio World possible. As a friend, I’m going to miss him greatly; and
I know many others who will too. I welcome your memories of Dale posted below
and will share them with his family.
Dale, you were one of us, and always will be.