In Memoriam – Harlyn “Hal” Fisher
Hal relocated from Malrite’s Rochester, New York stations – a daytime AM and a beautiful music format FM – following the license transfer of WHK and WMMS from Metromedia to Malrite. Hal grew up and attended college in South Dakota and started his radio career as a sports announcer in Youngstown. Later, he moved into programming and sales management and, for a brief time hosted a children’s TV show in South Bend, Indiana.
Hal was a conservative Republican and a lay church leader, but never let his personal beliefs get in the way of managing WHK and WMMS. He supported and never questioned WMMS, whose format and content provided the soundtrack to a period of unprecedented social change in America. He never criticized what he didn’t understand.
Despite a photo in his office showing Hal shaking hands with President Nixon at a private reception, he approved, without question, a print ad for WMMS, which promoted a Sunday night WMMS broadcast of The National Lampoon Radio Hour’s Nixon Impeachment Special. It’s even more startling. This was the only time we were granted approval for a paid print ad that year.
Hal signed off on the hiring of most of the original WMMS on-air and support staff during 1973 through mid-1974, which included Jeff Kinzbach, Ed “Flash” Ferenc, Matt the Cat, Kid Leo, Betty Korvan, Larry Bole, Debbie Ullman, Donna Halper, Walt Tiburski, and yours truly.
For more information on Hal Fisher, see Chapter 5 of The Buzzard.