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Dick Rakovan


My first introduction to Dick Rakovan occurred in the Fall of 1985 when I was waiting for my flight to the NAB in New Orleans at Midway Airport. Dick was the General Manager of WFYR in Chicago and with Dick at the airport was Linda Packer Spitz (although I think she was just Linda Packer back then). Linda was Dicks national rep from RKO Radio Sales. As Linda introduced me to Dick, Dick began a tirade about my then business partner Saul Foos. Dick was not a fan of Sauls and decided that I should be the recipient of his angst. I asked Linda to explain to Dick that I was not like Saul. Linda had known me for years when she was my rep from my days at McCann Erickson. As a good salesperson Linda stayed silent and allowed me to battle with Dick all on my own. As we took our seats on the airplane, fate would have it, Dick and I sat across the aisle from each other. Two hours later he had invited me to dinner with his wife and I spent the evening meeting everyone in the radio industry. Because of all the people I know, Dick knows everyone in radio.

So here, in his own words, is how Snr. VP Membership Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) Dick Rakovan got into radio.

When I was about 10 years old, I was confined to bed rest because of a bout of rheumatic fever. My parents both worked, so to keep me company, they bought me a new radio receiver. While serving out my sentence, the long-form radio shows like Don Mc Neills Breakfast Club, Hawaii Calls, and The Arthur Godfrey Show became my mind theatres" and companions.

Run the tape forward a few years. When the professors at the communications arts school at Michigan State got sick of me, I went to work for a Detroit record distributor and for several labels which included Verve, Time, and Dot Records. The president of Dot Records asked me to go to Buffalo, New York, and open a factory distribution branch, covering Northern Ohio, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York.

Along with calling on rack jobbers and large retailers for Dot, I called on all the major radio stations in the area with many hits by Pat Boone, Billy Vaughn, The Hilltoppers, and Lawrence Welk.

I routinely called on WKBW which was Buffalos leading radio station at the time. It was also heard all over the Northeast at night.

One afternoon, when I was headed into KB, I bumped into Jim Arcara who was the sales manager. He introduced himself and said hed seen me at the station often and asked, What do you do?" I told him I was in the record business! You?" he said with a look of doubt. He suggested we have lunch one day.

Over lunch he fessed up as to why he looked so shocked when I told him what I did for a living. He told me that he had never seen a record plugger in a suit. We had several lunches thereafter and he asked me to join WKBW as a salesman. Working for Capital Cities at KB was a wonderful opportunity. My childhood love for radio really panned out!

Email Dick at

Lisa Miller is the President of Miller Broadcast Management in Chicago. She's also one of Radio Ink's Most Influential Women in Radio. Miller can be reached at or 312-454-1111.
So, how did you get into radio? We'd love to hear the story about why you're passionate about radio.

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