|Paul Sidney Tribute Page|
April 2, 2009
April 2, 2009
|WLNG 92.1FM Station Release
Thursday, April 2, 2009
WLNG RADIO sadly reports the passing early this morning of Eastern Long Islands most well known broadcaster, the legendary Paul Sidney, a personality who almost monopolized the airwaves out here for 4 and a half decades.
Loving the East End and every facet of broadcasting, particularly his air time, audiences and callers, Paul could hardly be kept from a remote broadcast. By the time he'd been on the air at WLNG for a decade or two, he had built an immense local following.
We dont know just how he got the bug, but by the time he was 8 he had mikes and a whole studio in his room in Brooklyn. Undeterred by his youth, by 11 he had hung around the DuMont TV studios in New York so often that they finally gave him some commercials to read. From that point on, his every breath became radio. His first full time air shift was at WBRY in Waterbury Connecticut followed by several years at WLIS Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Lured away from Saybrook by WLNGs founder Fitgerald Smith and WLNGs first General Manager James Talcott, Paul descended on Sag Harbor when WLNG was but a 500 watt AM at 1600 on the top of the dial. What followed through the years was more power for the station, the addition of an FM and ultimately the development of a great team of inspired local talents.
What also followed were a string of national awards for the station. For Paul himself theres now a whole hallway at the station of commendations capped by several life time achievement awards and a recent New York State Broadcasters Induction into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Although Paul never had much of a financial interest in WLNG and hasn't been a shareholder for some years now, for decades our principal shareholder Robert King and several other caring long time shareholders have partnered with Paul in running the company. Shareholder Gary Sapiane for instance has been aboard and into community concerns with Paul for 38 years, Shareholder Rusty Potz for 33 years, and Shareholder Ann Buckhout for 30 years. Although not owners, there are two full timers now at the station, Brian Bannon and Chris Buckhout, who were following Paul around in LNGs studios 30 years ago when they were but 4 or 5 years old.
As a family station we couldn't be more proud of our oldest DJ, our former General Manager and President Emeritus Paul Sidney.
As will all of his listeners on Eastern Long Island and the whole world of small market radio, the airwaves will truly miss the boundless vibrancy of Paul Sidney.
A gathering at the Yardley Pino Funeral Home in Sag Harbor at 2 PM tomorrow, Friday, will precede a prayer service followed by a procession for the internment at the Chevra Kodeta Cemetery also on RTE 114 in Sag Harbor. All are welcome.
|April 2, 2009
My email box filled quickly today with messages from friends in the radio business who also knew Paul and WLNG. It was only a few days earlier that the news came that he had been admitted to the hospital, but was welcoming calls in his room from anyone who wished to call. What a showman! I thought, but I wasn't all that surprised. Paul never knew shyness, at least not the Paul that most of the radio world knew, and that included fellow broadcasters, advertisers, and of course, the countless millions of listeners whose lives were touched over several decades by this quintessential talent.
Esprit de corps meets an embodiment of selflessness.
I remember hearing Sidney marathons where Paul would broadcast tirelessly all Christmas day, freeing up even his part-time staff, and inviting listeners to come by the station to pick up batteries for their toys as a gift from WLNG. Wow. The important business lesson aside, I think humans in general can learn a lot from this kind of compassion for everyone from coworkers to complete strangers.
"Man Oh Man!" Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
It just amazes me how far Paul's lively mannerisms and expressions have reached. I've heard "Paulisms" used by other broadcasters, both traditional and underground, and even from behind-the-scenes staff at satellite networks. I honestly believe he had a cult following in a truly adoring way.
Paul Sidney, the ringmaster of the greatest radio show on Earth.
Nobody, absolutely nobody, could take a radio station and put it in the eyes, ears, and lives of more people. Paul constantly gave his listeners a reason to tune in. WLNG was everywhere, and I don't think there was a week without a live broadcast from a business or event. I've heard several "remotes" in one day, concurrently, and Paul would pull the whole experience together with his passionate energy. Barely a jingle went by, and there were many, before the listeners were whisked throughout the East End to another family friendly event. It was intermission-free entertainment performed by professionals.
Commitment to WLNG. Commitment to Paul.
Take a look at the WLNG tribute section below. Those pictures were taken in 1984 and while the red and white mobile bus has long been retired, the staff has not. Everyone pictured is still at WLNG. How many of today's businesses can claim that? How many employees believe in their leaders to that extent? Success leaves clues and these are obvious.
Bless you, Paul Sidney. You've shown the industry you loved so much that service to the listeners is the key to success. Your accomplishments and dedication to your many fans will be a lasting model for excellence to those who follow in your path.