The only radio personality to have worked at former Top 40 WMCA-AM 570 in New York, rival Top 40 WABC-AM 770 in N.Y., and Oldies WCBS-FM 101.1 in the Big Apple has died.
Harry Harrison, inducted in November 2019 into the Radio Hall of Fame, died Tuesday (1/28). He had been suffering various health issues, AllAccess Music Group reports.
Harrison, who was 89 years old, retired from radio on March 19, 2003, exiting WCBS-FM.
He is survived by his daughter, Patti, and son, Patrick. Two children, B.J. and Michael, passed away in 1996 and 2017, respectively. Harrison’s wife, Patty, died in May 2003.
After a successful run at WMCA, Harrison joined the team at “77 WABC,” then the nation’s No. 1 pop music station. Harrison was the morning air personality at WABC from 1968 until 1979. He shifted to WCBS-FM in March 1980.
Harrison started in radio at the age of 14 while living in his hometown of Chicago, working as an eight-month fill-in at WCFL-AM 1000, before becoming the “Morning Mayor of Peoria” at WPEO-AM.
He moved to New York in 1959 for the job at WMCA. When Herb Oscar Anderson decided to leave WABC in 1968, WABC PD Rick Sklar hired Harrison to succeed him.
While at WCBS-FM, on April 25, 1997, New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani honored Harrison and issued a proclamation naming it “Harry Harrison Day.”
In an interview with Allen Sniffen appearing on a 77WABC tribute site, Harrison was asked how he stayed on the air in New York for nearly 44 years.
“I think the secret is that I come across as an ordinary guy, which I am. I spend time with my family, go to the movies, run errands, read books.”
On getting that first job at WMCA in 1959, Harrison said, “How many chances do you get to go to New York? Most people, when they come here, think they have to change. I didn’t. I do just what I did in Peoria. To me, people are people.”