2012 – Dick Clark died Wednesday of a heart attack at 82 on This Day in Rock Music History!
As a working teen in 1945 at WRUN-AM in Utica, N.Y., a station owned by his uncle and run by his father, he began his entertainment career as a news and weatherman.
After graduating from college, he used his experience to land a newscasting job at WKTV in Utica. But in 1952, he landed a gig at WFIL radio and television in Philadelphia. And the legend of Dick Clark Began.
At WFIL, Dick got the idea to play records of the latest artists coming out. Well, the Idea caught on, and the station decided to try it on the air for TV. So Dick and the station invited kids to come and dance as Dick DJ’d and spun the vinyl. At first, the show was called Bob Horn’s Bandstand. When Horn went on vacation, Clark filled in for him, and when Horn was arrested for drunken driving in 1956, Clark got the job permanently.
Dick really connected with the teens… and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand went National in 1957.
American Bandstand provided the first national exposure for Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and Chubby Checker, among others. It also Launched many an artist career. Hank Ballard, (The Twist), was quoted as saying “The man was big. He was the biggest thing at the time in America at that time. He was bigger than the president!”
By 1959, American Bandstand was broadcast by 101 affiliates and reached an audience of 20 million.
In 2001, Clark sold Dick Clark Productions for $137 million to a group of private investors but stayed on as chairman and chief executive, producing various shows and cultivating other parts of the business, such as Dick Clark Restaurants.
“Awards shows are the variety shows now because there are no more variety shows,” Clark told The Los Angeles Times in 2004 before his 31st edition of the AMAs aired.
Here’s to a great entertainer!