How much do we impact someone’s life? On March 17, 2011, my father Ralph, at age 93, unexpectedly passed away. My world for the past several weeks has been shaken, as we were quite close and I miss him dearly. Now I could be cliché and remind people that we need to appreciate each and every day we have with our family and friends; or that we need to stop and take time to enjoy our surroundings and “be in the moment” when we are spending time with someone. Sometimes we just need to stop and let work wait. Or how when a crisis or event, such as death, occurs, it is amazing how our priorities and those of our friends and family shift and we have time to spend with each other. But I’m going to refrain from these commonly used, though quite meaningful sentiments.
As I have been thinking about my father, I spoke to several people about his professional career in radio, as a general manager of WBOS A.M. and F.M. radio station in Boston. I realized how much of an impact he had on many people’s careers. For example, he started the career of a California music producer/supervisor involved in such TV shows as “Dallas”, “Knots Landing”, & “Falcon Crest“ and movies like,” Gods and Generals”, “Sea of Dreams” and many, many more. In talking to David recently, he said, “I owe my career to your father.” And quite a career he still enjoys.
He championed the careers of several local Boston TV and radio personalities, including Arnie “Woo Woo”Ginsburg (well-known disc jockey inthe Boston radio market from the mid-1950s to the 1970s); John Henning (TV Newsman); and Ron Della Chiesa, a fixture on public radio broadcasts hosting live Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts and his own show, playing only Frank Sinatra. He, too, credits his career to my dad.
My father also started sports talk radio in Boston in 1970. My dad overheard some guys talking about sports in a restaurant in downtown Boston. He approached them and asked them, if they would like to do a sports talk show and have listeners call in and talk to them. 5 days later, these inexperienced sports lovers were on the air, taking calls – thus the start of “Sports Huddle” with Eddie Andelman. Mr. Andelman’s career continues today as he is a well-known radio personality in Boston. And his son’s have a popular TV show, the Phantom Gourmet. They may have been able to have a show without the influence of their famous dad but who knows…? And if their dad didn’t get his radio career start…well again, who knows?
It is like the holiday movie classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Our lives touch so many people’s lives, knowingly and unknowingly. We can influence a person by a kind word or taking a chance on someone by giving them an unexpected opportunity. We may never see or know how we’ve touched someone’s life but that’s OK – that’s what makes it so special.
What ways do you influence or impact those around you, either obviously or perhaps in a more subtle ways? No matter what, we all impact each other and hopefully we can affect those we meet and those we know and love in a way that is positive –we can change a stranger’s life or that of someone we see every day. We all change the world. And my father did, through his career in radio, World War II heroism, love of his family and music, sense of humor, and so on--in ways too many to count with very little fanfare.