The first Saturday of 1964, 12:00 noon, DJ Rick Shaw was on the air when a special delivery package with a record of a new song from an emerging super group from England is delivered to the station. James Dunlap, music director, at WQAM instructed him to put it on the air. Rick put it on the turntable and introduced the new song. Thirty seconds into the song all the request lines began to ring. “What is the name of that song you are playing?” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was the start of history in the making. At that moment Rick Shaw could never have known that he would become as much a legend in South Florida as the Beatles would become to the world.
It all began in 1956, when he was just 17 years old. “Rock N Roll was just getting going. What a great time for a kid to get started in radio,” says Rick Shaw. Four years later, in 1960, he arrived in South Florida and fell in love. “Man this is paradise,” he recalled thinking, “what ever I am going to do with my life I am going to do it here.” Fifty years later, in May of 2007, he finally bid farewell to his daily radio listeners. He has the distinction of being a radio host with the most longevity.
Though the technology behind radio changed, he was committed to Rock N’ Roll. “When I began we were playing records, when I left we were playing CDs. We went from AM to FM, from mono to stereo, but the basic format was always music. And in between the songs, I did the best I could to keep [the listeners] happy, “ he says. Rick believes that Rock N Roll “is part of the American culture, it is part of us. It gives us an emotional reflection of the people who are listening to the music, who are writing the music, who are performing the music like during the Viet Nam war. I don’t think [Rock N Roll] will ever go away,” he adds.
In 1995, Rick joined forces with Majic Radio (www.wmxj. com). Dennis Collins, who hired Rick for Majic, suggested that he get involved with the station’s Majic Children’s Fund. Rick had a reputation for working for children’s charities so it was a perfect fit. Dennis told Rick, “You have a track record of helping children’s charities. Let’s see if we can’t raise some money for needy children. And we did,” Rick states, “Since 1995, we have raised a little over 3 million dollars.”
The Majic Children’s Fund (www…) began in 1988 but it was not until Rick took over did the Fund become active. The fund raises money for nonprofit organizations that help children in need in the tri-county area. “We are a bit different than most charities, as we have a radio station that allows us to tell our listeners what is going on. We are busy all year round. We helped raise money for the band from Taravella High School (in Tamarac, FL.) so they could play at the inauguration. There was a terrible tragedy where a family was rear ended at a stop light. All three children were killed. We talked about it on the radio and we wrote a check to help pay for the funeral.” The Fund has helped many children through organizations such as: The Children’s Home Society, The Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Sheridan House for Boys and Girls, The Easter Seals Society, and The March of Dimes MADD, to name a few.
Rick has been President of the Fund since 1995. Like every other foundation, Majic Children’s Fund is not immune to the down turn in the economy. Rick explains, “The willingness to give is there, it is the ability that sometimes is not. We have seen a different attitude about giving.” This is only a momentary reality. Speaking with Rick one realizes that the Fund will continue to raise money and help children just as it always has.
Blessed with having spent every day of his working career doing something he loved and was totally passionate about, his days away from the station are being spent the same way. Having an infatuation with toy trains since his father started him with old Lionel 3 trackers when he was a kid, Rick always wanted a “Train Room” to enjoy throughout his retirement years. Constructed by Skip Stundiss, it took a 22×26 foot addition to his home and 2 1/2 years to complete. Rick’s “Little Piece of Disney”, as he calls it, “Always gives a little something back that is pretty much predictable and as positive as you choose to make it.” Keeping on the right “track” and still a kid at heart, to Rick Shaw helping children has always been the nearest and dearest thing to his heart.
Rick can be now heard on the radio making public service announcements and announcements about activities for the Fund. Though he misses doing what he did on a daily basis for 50 years, he does not miss getting up at 4 in the morning. “Looking back, “ he reflects, “ I had a wonderful run. I enjoyed every minute of it.” -DUO
A Radio Legend Dedicated To Helping Children
Written By Linda Firestone