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Dedicated in memory of Jim Collins


The Famous One did overnights at WPGC from the Fall of 1968,
when the FM went 24 hours, till mid 1969.



Famous Amos writes:

Well, 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!

Yes, 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!


On his early career:

I 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 Maryland’s WMUC campus station.)

I 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 Moore’s “Morning Mayor” idea (which was used in other markets too), and was also the station’s Music Director.

After 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 (!).


On Being Hired at WPGC as 'Famous Amos':

I was hired by Bob Howard, whose ever encouraging words to me were, “Don’t 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!”

I started at WPGC when the station went 24 hours on FM in the Fall of 1968. Howard’s 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 don’t have to pay full-time AFTRA wages.

I 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.


On Leaving WPGC:

I 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 wasn’t fully paid for working one pay period beyond my usual part-time hours.

At 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.

Oddly, 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.


On Becoming a Journalist:

Fortunately, 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.

I 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 that’s what one does after his 20-year marriage falls apart.)

My 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 Beach, Del.

While 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.

I now have a humble, low-level office job at America’s first modern-art museum, The Phillips Collection, in Washington and continue to paint. My expressionistic, figurative, narrative work is on view at



Sound Files


February 1969 - 3:43


February 1969 - 1:02


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