We lost a true broadcasting icon today with the death of Dick Clark from a massive heart attack at the age of 82. His passing has been big news, of course, and it is being felt keenly here in Syracuse. Dick Clark was a graduate of Syracuse University and was a disk jockey on local radio station WOLF, hosting the popular late night program Sandman Serenade. His ties to Central NY also included work at Utica radio station WRUN and tv station WKTV before moving on to Philadelphia tv station WFIL, where he would become the host of a local program called American Bandstand. The rest, of course, is history.
Besides American Bandstand, Clark will be remembered for other programs such as $10,000 Pyramid (which would become $25,000 Pyramid and then $100,000 Pyramid), TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes (with Ed McMahon), The American Music Awards, Dick Clark's Live Wednesday (an atypical failure) and, of course, New Year's Rockin' Eve.
It was New Year's Rockin' Eve that would eventually show America a vulnerable Dick Clark after he suffered a debilitating stroke that would force him to miss the broadcast in December 2005. He returned the following year, looking gaunt and speaking with slurred speech. It was somewhat jarring to hear how he now sounded but as a stroke patient myself (my own stroke also affected my right side but not my speech), I admired his tenacity and his obvious hard work in his recovery. He would return 5 more times to ring in the New Year (with most of the hosting chores done by Ryan Seacrest).
New Year's Eve just won't feel the same again.