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Passing: Rich Conaty

We were saddened to learn of the death of Rich Conaty.

We never met but he was like a friend – one of my radio companions. But he was special.

Rich was the host of The Big Broadcast (WFUV Radio), a show of jazz and pop from the 1920s and 30s. He started it at WFUV, Fordham University’s station, which he joined as a freshman in 1973, and gave his last live broadcast in September. Except for a few years at WQEW in the 1990s, he stayed at WFUV, playing songs from his vast personal library of 78s, taking not a lot of money, giving lots of listeners a happy education in Sophie Tucker, Cab Calloway, Bing Crosby, Rudy Vallee, Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike) and Isham Jones.

He described his program as “for the old and old at heart”.

It was a one of a kind program. Conaty was a one of a kind person.

He was knowledgeable, informative, entertaining, and humane. He taught us about music, about a period and helped safeguard a sensibility.

Not only did he pass too soon. His presence is needed these days more than ever.

Some great pieces remembering and honoring Rich Conaty: from The New York Times and Stan Fischler (2015), and Broadway World.

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This article was first published on http://www.journeysinto.com.