With a career spanning more than 50 years in radio, Rick Buckley died early Sunday (7/31) after suddenly falling ill on Saturday. He was 74 and had been President of Buckley Broadcasting since 1972.
Long-time friend and colleague Frank Boyle told RBR-TVBR that Buckley had been out boating off Long Island, came home, had a swim and then told his wife, Connie, that he had a terrible headache. After being checked at a small local hospital he was rushed to Stony Brook University Medical Center, where he died early Sunday of a brain embolism.
“He loved the business. He loved his stations. He loved his staff as long as they performed,” said Boyle, adding, “We’ve lost a great one.” Buckley had been in good health and Boyle had met Buckley for lunch just last week, along with several other veteran broadcasters.
Best known for owning WOR-AM New York and the WOR Radio Network, Buckley also owned clusters in Connecticut and California. Over the years he, and his father before him, owned numerous stations across the country in large and small markets.
It was just a few weeks earlier that Buckley was inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The bio noted that his career in broadcasting began in 1960 as an NBC page. He went on to work for the family company and became President of Buckley Broadcasting in 1972.
Rick was a past Chairman of the Board of the Radio Advertising Bureau, a past Chair of the Southern California Broadcaster’s Association, and at the time of his death was the Finance Chair on the Board of Directors of the Broadcasters’ Foundation.
A member of the Board of Trustees at his alma mater, The University of Miami, Buckley was instrumental in establishing the newly dedicated Richard D. Buckley Audio Lab at the University of Miami School Of Communication.
Known to friends as “Buck,” the veteran broadcaster had his wife and long time friend and Buckley Broadcasting COO Joe Bilotta, by his bedside in the hospital when he died. His only daughter, Jennifer, who is Director of Sales at WOR, was flying back to New York on Sunday from the West Coast.
Funeral arrangements will be posted in RBR-TVBR when they become available.
RBR-TVBR note: Joe Bilotta, COO, passed along this email below to all Buckley emplyees:
31 July 2011
To: All Buckley Radio employees
It is with a deep and profound sadness that I must inform you that early Sunday morning, Rick Buckley passed away.
His passing was peaceful and without pain. He suffered a brain embolism on Saturday afternoon at his beach home in Quogue, NY.
There is no more impassioned leader of any company than Rick Buckley. He led the company that bears his name for over 4 decades and did so in a style and manner that reflected the family nature of his business.
He loved Radio, loved his company and cared deeply for all of his employees.
At this writing, Connie and Jen have not announced their memorial plans and we certainly will be advising everyone.
A company is an assembly of its parts and Rick had a favorite saying that, ‘People are our most important commodity’….You are and were his company. I trust that you will have him in mind with good thoughts and prayers.
As we all soldier on, let’s remember him as the caring, loving leader that he was and work to insure that the legacy he labored so hard for lives on.