Dick Orkin (center) is inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2002. Then-NAB Radio Board Chairman David Kennedy (left) and then-NAB CEO Eddie Fritts (right) do the honors. Orkin later requested to be removed from the hall because Rush Limbaugh was inducted, according to Wikipedia. Photo: National Association of Broadcasters
The radio world has lost a well-known voice actor and radio commercial producer after Dick Orkin passed away on Dec. 24 at the age of 84.
Orkin was well recognized for his work and was honored withinductions into the National Radio Hall of Fame, the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the Radio Advertising Bureau Hall of Fame as well as several state broadcasting organizations.
Orkin is perhaps most well known as the creator of the Chickenman radio series, which began when Orkin was a production director at Chicago station WCFL(AM) and was asked to put together a two-and-a-half-minute comedy feature. Along came Chickenman, a comedy about a shoe salesman who spends his weekend protecting the city from criminals everywhere in his yellow crime-fighting Chicken Coupe.
Chickenman’s 250-plus episodes have been syndicated around the world. Orkin also produced more than 300 episodes of “The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy” and created the Radio Ranch production studio in 1973 to produce his own comedic radio spots.
Born in Williamsport, Pa., in 1933, Orkin was 16 when he began his radio career as a fill-in announcer at WKOK(AM) in Sunbury, Pa. After earning his BA in speech and theater from nearby Franklin & Marshall College, he attended the Yale School of Drama and then returned to Pennsylvania to become the news director at WLAN(FM) in 1959 before joining the staff of KYW(AM) in Cleveland. He then moved on to WCFL.
Orkin passed away from a stroke in Thousand Oaks, Calif.