this is an utter surprise! After 30 years as a newspaper and magazine
journalist and now a painter after graduating from art college,
I find my radio DJ past online!
I'm Rolf Rykken, who served as Famous Amos on the all-night show
on WPGC Good Guys Radio. Hello to anyone who might remember!
his early career:
started my brief radio career in 1967 in Portsmouth, Ohio, at
WIOI, having been hired based on a homemade simulated broadcast
tape. (I did have some actual radio experience during my brief
undergraduate period at the University of Marylands WMUC
did the morning show at WIOI as Rick Rogers (it seems that movie-and
TV cowboy star Roy Rogers had been raised in the area). I copped
Harv Moores Morning
Mayor idea (which was used in other markets too), and was
also the stations Music Director.
a fun year there, I was lured by a former WIOI-er to WSAR in Fall
River, Mass., where the Top 40 format was relatively new, and
got to do the morning show there, too, as Rick Robbins (!).
Being Hired at WPGC as 'Famous Amos':
was hired by Bob Howard, whose
ever encouraging words to me were, Dont screw up.
This was typical of the Howard Style of Management. I always joked
that at Christmas we usually received some forgettable gift with
the command, Have a good Christmas - or else!
started at WPGC when the station went 24 hours on FM in the Fall
of 1968. Howards
bizarre marketing idea to promote WPGC going all-night on FM was
The return of Amos and Andy to radio, thus the Famous
Amos and Handy Andy
monikers. The actual, cost-savings reason, of course, for having
two part-time people on overnight was you dont have to pay
full-time AFTRA wages.
got somewhat of a break from Howard, et al, because they essentially
made me an assistant Music Director because I was interested in
and knowledgeable about rock-album cuts, rather than just singles.
At my two previous Top 40 stations where I had Music Director
duties, we routinely played album cuts along with the singles.
In the late 60s, WPGC began playing rock-album cuts in the
latter hours of the Davy Jones
show as well as overnights.
left WPGC in mid-1969 over a dispute about me allegedly not playing
a commercial when I was supposed to. The reality was that Howard
was upset that I had gone to the union when I was wasnt
fully paid for working one pay period beyond my usual part-time
the same time WPGC fired me I was hired by former
Good Guy Jack Alix, who had
become Program Director at WEEL
in Fairfax. He inaugurated an all-oldies format there and the
djs were known as the Million Dollar Airmen. I was
named Larry Cash and did the morning show. About every five oldies
or so, we actually got to play something current.
Howard stopped by one morning to say hello and even complimented
me and the station to Alix. I
was there until late 1969, leaving of my own accord because the
station owners changed the format to an annoying soft-rock sound.
Becoming a Journalist:
because of my strong verbal and writing skills, I was recommended
by the News Editor to her managing-editor friend at a suburban
daily, The Northern Virginia Sun, in Arlington. Thus began my
30-year journalism career, helped largely because I had learned
how to make police calls and quickly write and rewrite news items
for radio newscasts.
went on to other newspapers and magazines in Delaware, then back
to D.C. in the late 80s with the Newspaper Association of
America, which I left in 1994 when I entered the Corcoran School
of Art (now the Corcoran College of Art and Design) full-time.
I graduated in 1997 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree. (I had
decided to go to art school at such a late age, my late 40s, because
I figured thats what one does after his 20-year marriage
interest in rock music did stay with me in my journalism career.
I wrote music reviews of albums and concerts for most of the newspapers
I worked for and was also a contributing critic while in art college
during the late '90s for AOL's former electronic magazine, "Critic's
Choice," reviews of which were also used by many newspapers
More recently (2001-2002), I was a contributing critic for a now
defunct regional magazine, "Listen Up," out of Rehoboth
attending art college I continued my journalism career at the
now defunct international business-news monthly, Global Business
magazine, which ceased publication in 2001. I was Europe editor.
now have a humble, low-level office job at Americas first
modern-art museum, The Phillips Collection, in Washington and
continue to paint. My expressionistic, figurative, narrative work
is on view at http://www.rolfrykken.com.