I studied music as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I’m fond of telling people that when I graduated from high school, even though most kids received a typewriter for a high school graduation gift, my Dad gave me a radio. I had to borrow a typewriter each week to write a paper for my Freshman English class, and I listened to my radio each morning as I began my day.
East Lansing, MI the home of Michigan State University was also home to WKAR radio where Dick Estell, The Radio Reader read 30 minutes of fiction each morning to me through my beloved radio. Dick Estell didn’t really create voices for his characters, but I loved his readings and never missed an installment, except when I was out of range.
The Radio Reader could be heard on about 100 NPR stations throughout the United States and claimed about 1.5 million listeners. Dick Estell recorded and produced the show from 1964 to 2016. Estell chose recently released books, often best sellers. He read about 12 books a year.
Thank you, Dick Estell, for allowing me to stay abreast of recently released popular books during my college years when I certainly didn’t have time to read them myself. Your work also planted a seed which later grew into a segment of my own radio show.