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WLIR alums to speak at My Father's Place

Larry "The Duck" Dunn at WLIR-FM studios in

Larry "The Duck" Dunn at WLIR-FM studios in Garden City, circa March 1987. Credit: Bob Wilson

Experience the art of storytelling at the next level when the “Now You’re Talking!” series comes to My Father’s Place in Roslyn on Saturday, Aug. 3. “On Your Radio” is the theme featuring various speakers who are veterans of the dial.

“This is a show where people tell true stories about their lives,” says MC / founder Tracey Segarra. “These stories aren’t recited, they are rehearsed and told without notes. There’s some magic in that. You really bring the audience in.”

BEHOLD THE DUCK

One of the speakers on Saturday is WLIR DJ Larry “The Duck” Dunn, who has been a longtime radio presence at 92.7 FM where he went from intern to music director.

“WLIR was a historic place where we were breaking new artists,” he says. “The emotional connection with the listenership was key because we didn’t care about the ratings. Our audience was passionate about the music the way the staff was.”

Dunn will discuss a story about when management didn’t want to deal with interviewing Van Halen back when the station played southern rock and heavy metal before their signature new wave days.

“Van Halen was known to trash radio stations. A lot of the owners didn’t want to deal with that,” says Dunn of Massapequa Park. “At WLIR, they were like, ‘Let’s let the rookie do it!’ “

When the band was headlining Nassau Coliseum in 1981, drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony arrived at the WLIR studio in Garden City ready to wreak havoc.

“They came in with two six packs of beer under each arm,” recalls Dunn. “I grew up — very quickly.”

Dunn even remembers when U2 played Malibu in Lido Beach.

“The band ran out of songs and had to play their hit, ‘I Will Follow’ twice,” he says. “They recalled the show and even mentioned it on stage when they recently headlined Nassau Coliseum.”

So why is he called “The Duck”? The origin of the nickname stems from DJ John DeBella who labeled him that after bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn from Booker T & the M.G.’s and the Blues Brothers Band.

“People don’t remember real names, they remember nicknames,” Dunn says. “Plus, it has a nice Long Island ring to it.”

SILVA THE STORYTELLER 

Another WLIR alum Carol Silva, who is best known as a News 12 morning anchor, will be making her second turn as a storyteller. 

Silva, of Oyster Bay, got her start on WLIR reporting news on the airwaves from 1979 to 1983.

“It was a crazy time. We were taking the news of the day and making it apply to an audience that was as young as 15,” says Silva. “Plus, managers would walk in with hot vinyl and say, ‘Play this!’ We were spinning stuff no one else would.”

The story Silva is ready to tell on stage is about how she had a hand in helping form The God Squad — the iconic Long Island religious duo of the late Msgr. Thomas J. Hartman and Rabbi Marc Gellman.

“We had done so many reports about the conflict in the Middle East, but we don’t talk about the things that people have in common as human beings,” says Silva. “Since Easter and Passover were coming together, I wanted to see if we could bring people together by focusing on what similarities we have.”

Silva introduced Hartman to Gellman at News 12 in 1987 and from that time a partnership was formed.

“They talked for two and a half minutes in the studio and then two and a half hours in the parking lot. It changed the direction of both their lives and the lives of so many other people,” says Silva. “They wrote books together and were regulars on CBS News and ‘Good Morning America.’ They developed this message of let’s see what we can do together as people and they took it around the world.”

Silva recently announced her retirement from News 12 but hints she’s not done.

“I worked in rock and roll radio so I’m not retiring to a rocking chair,” says Silva. “I’m going to rock something else, I’m just not sure yet what it is.”

“NOW YOU’RE TALKING!”
WHEN/WHERE 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, My Father’s Place at the Roslyn Hotel, 1221 Old Northern Blvd. in Roslyn
INFO 516-413-3535, myfathersplace.com
ADMISSION $24

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