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Jack Mindy 1943-2022
Veteran radio broadcaster Jack Mindy has died at the age of 79. He is survived by a son, Steve of Vienna, Virginia, two grandchildren and brother Jim of Bouse, Arizona.
By his own count Jack worked for 28 radio stations during a long career at major stations in San Francisco, Detroit, St.Louis, Pittsburg, Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo. Mindy retired in 2009, leaving the mic at WGMC, FM 90.1 in Greece, New York. In an interview with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Mindy said, “I’m one of a dying breed in radio. That’s all gone now. Everything’s on computers. It’s mechanical and not challenging anymore. We’re not going back to the days of people like me.” WGMC featured jazz, including LP’s from his own collection. “I want to play Stan Kenton, Joey DeFrancesco, anything on Blue Note. Best you can do is mix ’em up and hope. It’s a shame we don’t have station libraries like we had many years ago. It’s a loss of a common language.”
Born in Buffalo Mindy grew up loving radio. It began in high school, at a small radio station in Fredonia WBUZ that was looking for kids to do a radio show. Mindy said he sent a post card to the station and soon he was spinning records on the radio. He moved on to Ithaca College graduating in 1962 from the school’s radio-television department. The mid 60’s found him working at WTRX in Flint, Michigan. He said he did a live remote from a gas station there sitting 20 feet atop a price sign giving out hot dogs and ‘Mountain Dew’ to onlookers below. At one station Mindy sported a different air name, calling himself “Glen Shannon.” He recalled WSAY Rochester used classic DJ air names, Tommy Thomas, Jerry Jack and Mike Melody. Mindy said in the early days when it was a rocker, “I was a screaming rock DJ at WYSL, but then the station’s sound at 1080 on the dial changed format and they played as Jack put it ‘schmaltzy’ elevator’ music. In the air everywhere was its slogan.”
While Jack loved radio, he also loved cars and owned two vintage Peugeots. And there were trains. Yes, trains and he loved trains of all sizes, often traveling by train to see his brother, Jim in Arizona and then by train to San Francisco to see his friend from radio days, Tom Saunders. Another friend of Jack’s (and fellow IC alum) Marge Villanova told me when she visited him at his home in Webster, N.Y. he proudly showed her a large-scale outdoor model train layout he built in his backyard. It ran from the patio, through grass and flowers all the way to the front door, then circled back again.
Jack had a great sense of humor about his radio days. He joked in e-mails about a station where paychecks bounced. Station was one step from bankruptcy. Once he said he was laid off at a station to make room for talker Rush Limbaugh. KQV, Pittsburg was “best job of my entire life. I should have stayed. Great people, most beautiful radio station anywhere.” Jack Mindy’s longest radio gig was at Buffalo’s WBEN. “Ten years there” he said “can’t be all bad.” I will miss my radio pal, Jack Mindy and his emails that were often laced with humor involving his life and those sometimes crazy radio days. At the height of the pandemic Jack e-mailed me this: “Stay safe. Remember when ‘stay safe’ meant don’t get run over by a truck?”
Memories of Jack Mindy, by Bill Diehl, correspondent ABC News Radio New York