Powerhouse Disc Jockey Dan Ingram Dies At 83 Dan Ingram was a legendary disc jockey on WABC-AM in New York City for two decades from the early '60s into the '80s.
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Powerhouse Disc Jockey Dan Ingram Dies At 83

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Powerhouse Disc Jockey Dan Ingram Dies At 83

Powerhouse Disc Jockey Dan Ingram Dies At 83

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

One of the most popular disc jockeys in the history of American radio has died.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Dan Ingram.

DAN INGRAM: We got music power for you from now till 7 on your Dan Ingram show...

KELLY: For more than 20 years, Dan Ingram was one of the top DJs on New York City's WABC. Ingram's career spanned five decades at stations across the country. He died Sunday at his home in Florida at the age of 83. Jon Kalish has our appreciation.

JON KALISH, BYLINE: Dan Ingram's father was a professional musician, and tagging along to radio studios ignited the boy's interest in the medium as he told college radio station WHPC in 1965.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

INGRAM: When I was 13, a guy by the name of Freddy Robbins, who was on WOV, was having an on-the-air disc jockey contest, and you could get on the air for 15 minutes if you were a finalist. And I was a finalist and, of course, I lost the contest.

KALISH: But he kept trying. After landing jobs in Dallas and St. Louis, he became the afternoon man at WABC.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) You and 77 WABC.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Unintelligible) Radio.

KALISH: Part of the station's stable of high-octane jocks, Ingram became known for his wisecracks, spoofing song titles and ridiculing both artists and sponsors, like this one for frozen vegetables.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

INGRAM: All you do is drop the plastic pouch in the boiling water as directed and presto. You've got a bunch of plastic in your pot.

ALLAN SNIFFEN: I don't think anybody ever executed the format better or was more entertaining than Dan Ingram.

KALISH: That's Allan Sniffen, who runs the fan website musicradio77.com.

SNIFFEN: He was funny. He could make you laugh over a five-second record intro.

KALISH: Ingram mastered the talk-up - talking over the intro to a song, ending right before the vocals.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

INGRAM: And once again, stepping into the spotlight - ow - hot, isn't it? - Frank Sinatra to sing "Strangers In The Night."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT")

FRANK SINATRA: (Singing) Strangers in the night...

KALISH: Dan Ingram wholeheartedly embraced one of radio's golden rules - when you're talking to the audience, do it like you're talking to one person. In an interview at the Paley Center for Media in 2001, he choked up when he acknowledged his audience.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

INGRAM: If you weren't here, if you didn't listen, I wouldn't be either. And I just want to say thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

KALISH: For NPR News, I'm Jon Kalish in New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

INGRAM: So I love you all. Let's start it off with number 12 this week at WABC. It's called "Dirty Water" - The Standells.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DIRTY WATER")

STANDELLS: (Singing) I'm going to tell you a story.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

INGRAM: And their sister (unintelligible).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DIRTY WATER")

STANDELLS: (Singing) I'm going to tell you about my town. I'm going to tell you a big fat story.

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