Dan Ingram, one of New Yorks most legendary radio voices has passed away at the age of 83. Dan Ingram died on June 24th 2018 in his Florida home. While his retirement years may have been spent in Florida, Dan Ingram was all New York. Dan Ingram was born in Oceanside, New York in 1934. Ingram attended college on Long Island at Hofrsta University. Like so man talented performers itching to get into the professional world, Ingram began hs radio career before ever graduating Hofstra. Dan Ingram spent the early days of his career jumping back and forth between radio stations on Long Island. Dan Ingram also worked in the cities of St Louis, Dallas and the State of Connecticut. However, it was the job he landed at New York’s WABC AM radio station in 1961 that lead to Dan Ingram’s legendary radio status.
If you grew up in New York City in the 1960’s and 1970’s you knew who Dan Ingram was. WABC AM radio infiltrated New York’s airwaves more than any other station. Even if you were not a music fan, you heard Dan Ingram’s voice because every restaurant, dinner, grocery store, newstand, street corner and apartment usually had WABC AM radio playing in the background. These were the days long before all the various sorts of entertainment we now deal with in 2018. There were no cell phones, no cable television, no computers, no cds, no video. We had newspapers, seven television channels and radio. AM radio in the 1960’s was the format of choice for everyone. FM radio had not yet reached the masses. Album rock was still in development. We were a country that celebrated the hit single. Dan Ingram was the man who delivered those singles to listeners every day from 2 to 6 pm on the city’s most popular radio station. Everyone had on WABC 77. Their signal was very strong. WNBC and WCBS radio were also popular stations, but WABC ruled the airwaves with their strong signal strength and popular radio personalities.
Dan Ingram’s radio personality fell somewhere in between Howard Stern and Mike Francesca. Dan Ingram was over the top at times and very funny in a Howard Stern type way, but nowhere close to as vulgar. But he could also come across sounding a bit grumpy in a Mike Francesa way. However, Dan Ingram always respected the listeners and paid special tribute to them when he left New York radio in 1982 stating that if it had not been for the listeners he would have never had a job.
As a kid, I had a small cassette tape recorder that I used use to tape songs off the radio. It was tough to do with Dan Ingram because he would talk over the musical introductions right up to the part in the songs when the vocals began. That was the style of the radio DJ back in the 60’s and 70’s. Dan Ingram defined that style more than any other radio disc jockey. Listen to the way Dan Ingram spoke over the introduction to Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re An American Band,” in the great video below placed on YouTube by Ellis Feaster.
Dan Ingram would leave the airwaves every week night at 6:00 pm and be followed by George Michael. The station had a strong group of personalities including Ron Lundy, Cousin Brucie, Chuck Leonard and good old Harry Harrison whose name jingle was always my favorites. The WABC radio jingles got more play than the music it seemed. The station was identified by that famous WABC jingle. I can still hear Dan Ingram’s name being sung with the call letters WABC.
Dan Ingram left WABC AM radio in 1982 when the station changed formats. He floated around for a while before landing a job at WCBS in 1991. He stayed at WCBS until he retired from radio in 2003.
Unless you grew up in New York City in the 60s and 70s, its hard to understand how much of an impact radio personalities had on people lives. Maybe impact is the wrong word? They may not have changed what we were doing but they did follow us around in everything we did. Voices like Dan Ingram’s followed us everyday in New York City. I wish he was still following us now, then again. its possible he still is.