Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Providence's Degraide signs off...
I know there are a lot of people in Boston who have worked in Providence and a lot of folks have worked with Gary over his many years in radio.
(A few may have even worked with his Dad, Gene Degraide.)
You might enjoy this insightful article in the Providence Journal.
Gary DeGraide will sign off radio Dec. 23
(Free registration is required, but for those who don't want to bother, I have clipped some of the article below.)
Broadcaster Gary DeGraide will be leaving his morning show on WWLI-FM (Lite Rock 105) after 22 years behind the microphone. His last show will be Dec. 23.
Tony Bristol, operations manager for Lite Rock 105, said the station's management was shocked when DeGraide told them of his decision. He said the station has not yet determined who will replace DeGraide, who had co-hosted the show with Heather Gersten.
In a phone interview yesterday, the 57-year-old DeGraide said he was tired of getting up at 3 a.m. every day in order to be at the station in time for his 5:30 to 10 a.m. show.
More important, though, DeGraide said he felt called to do something that better reflected his strong Christian faith.
DeGraide said he will probably do some work as a counselor in the substance-abuse field. He said he's been in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse himself for the past 17 years, and has spoken to Christian men's groups around the state on the subject.
Radio is in DeGraide's blood. His father, Gene DeGraide, is a well-known Rhode Island broadcaster, and Gary DeGraide can remember sitting on his dad's lap and reading the weather. (Gary said his dad, 83, is doing fine.)
"The DeGraide name has been on the air in Rhode Island for 60 years," said Bristol. "It's been associated with good clean fun. Gary's show was a family show, and that's what you could expect to hear."
DeGraide said he got his first radio job in sales at WARV in Warwick, then moved to WICE, where under the name Gary Steele he competed with his own father.
His career took him to stations in Hartford (WDRC) and Boston (WRKO) before he took a break from radio to tour with a band called Family Tree, which mostly consisted of members of his wife's family, the LaChances.
In 1976 DeGraide was back on the air, hosting an afternoon drive show on WPRO-AM, then in late 1983 he moved to WPJB-FM, which became WWLI.
DeGraide said he's comfortable with his decision to go off the air -- but that doesn't mean there won't be elements he will miss.
"There are so many stories of listeners who call . . . it's amazing how many friends you make. People get used to having you in their lives," he said.