For a generation of New York radio listeners, and for thousands of others who tuned to “77 WABC” after dark across much of the East Coast, the name Dan Ingram is iconic.
A famous air talent of the rock ‘n’ roll era, Ingram hosted nationally syndicated Top 40 programs and worked at other stations in New York including WCBS-FM.
Ingram died Sunday evening at the age of 83.
As first reported by Fybush.com, Ingram was one of the signature voices on WABC-AM 770 in New York, starting in 1961 and through its rise in the 1960s to become America’s most-listened-to Top 40 radio station — mainly thanks to its booming 50kw signal that famously made WABC-AM the No. 13 station in Pittsburgh during a 1971 survey.
He was the last voice of WABC’s “Musicradio” era, as the station transitioned to Talk on May 10, 1982 with Ron Lundy, also deceased, trading off thank yous ahead of John Lennon’s “Starting Over” and “Imagine.”
That wasn’t the end of Ingram as a nationally known air talent, however. From 1984-1986, he hosted the Top 40 Satellite Survey — one of several competitors to American Top 40 to crop up with the surge of Contemporary Hit Radio stations just one year after WABC-AM’s switch to Talk.
By 1984, Ingram — along with the late Jay Thomas — were on the air at WKTU-FM 92.3, one of the stations that claimed “Musicradio.” Under the guidance of Mel Karmazin and an ownership change to Infinity Broadcasting, WKTU became WXRK-FM “K-Rock,” and popular WNBC-AM afternoon host Howard Stern was installed in mornings. Ingram left.
He would not resurface on the Tri-State Area’s airwaves until October 1991, when he began a 12-year stint at Oldies WCBS-FM 101.1 that ended in 2005.
As noted by Fybush.com, Ingram was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2007 and returned to WABC several times to appear on the Memorial Day “Rewound” segments.
Longtime producer and air personality Howard Hoffman took to Facebook to share his comments about Ingram’s passing.
He said, “He was to radio what Johnny Carson was to late-night TV. What Willie Mays was to baseball. What Mort Drucker was to MAD Magazine. He was the gold standard. It can’t be described. It had to be heard. When you come across how many people say they got into the radio business because of listening to him growing up, you’ll know how powerful his charisma was.”
Allen Sniffen, a.k.a. “Dr. John Baron” of WSPK-FM “K104” during the 1980s, operates the tribute website http://www.musicradio77.com/.
He wrote, “I cannot begin to express my sadness. There are no words. Dan was radio to me. I grew up thinking he was the funniest guy I ever heard on radio. He had a charisma that reached me from the day I could turn on a radio.
“As I grew older and learned more about radio, my admiration went from idolizing to revering. The more I learned about radio, the more amazed I was by Dan Ingram. Most of us leave our childhood idols behind. With Dan, I never did. I cannot imagine a world without Dan Ingram.”