Dick Purtan On The Mic

Photo: David Yarnall

How can one sum up an amazing 45 years in radio?  They can’t. Dick Purtan’s radio career has meant so much to so many Metro Detroiters.  He woke us up, in the kindest and funniest way for decades.  Here’s to you Mr. Purtan!  May you have a beautiful retirement! Click on the more tab to watch the video.

Comments (56)
  1. Karen St. Dennis says:

    I have listened to you for twenty two years every morning and I must say I have introduced you to many of my co-workers and family and friends. We will all share such a feeling of loss when we wake up next Monday morning without you. Heck, I used to hate when you went on vacation, but you did have a great crew that always did an awesome job holding the Fort down for you, I must say they will be a great loss as well, you were all such a great package deal. I wish you sooo much happiness Dick Purtan with your wife and family. Thank you for bringing so much laughter into our homes and work places. I wish all of you very much happiness, I will miss you all. God bless you all and thank you so much.

  2. Tim says:

    i loved listening to dick purtan everday in my life and now he’s gonna make his final run until this day i will miss him and hope to keep hearing those great golden oldies on the Stereo
    Dick Purtan if you recieved your WKNR CD That i Sent you
    Hope you Listen to It and Have a Great Time And Good Luck!

    Write me back at jamesjohnson842009@yahoo.com

    Thanks Dick Purtan For Your Support and Kindness And Music That You Put on For Us At Oldies 104.3 WOMC

    Sincerely, Tim

  3. rob says:

    Thanks for all of your years and the best morning show I have ever heard THANKS ENJOY YOUR RETIREMENT YOU DESERVEIT THANKS

  4. charles clapham says:

    love the show

    1. MAX KERNER says:


  5. Patty Wilson says:

    Hi Mr. Purtan, I say “Mr.” because I started listening to you when I was in junior high and you were on KEENER radio. It seems like only yesterday. Now you are retiring and I am a grandmother of a 3 year old. I want you to know that you are one of the few people in media that seems to have some values and a moral compass. I admire how you have always kept your family first, remained in love with your wife, honored and respected your children and provided a positive public role model for everyon who listened to you. Do you realize how rare that is. Thank you for your humanity, humor, talent, and dedication to providing entertainment that was done in good taste, yet a little tongue in cheek! Enjoy the many years ahead with your wife, daughters and grandchildren. You deserve it. God Bless you always. Patty Wilson

  6. Carol says:

    HI, I have been a listener and love your show. Your show has been an awesome show to wake up to and not have to worry what the children would hear. It has been clean and fun. I will miss you and wish you and your family the best.

  7. Sherrie Hershiser says:

    Thank you, Mr. Purtan & ALL of Purtan’s People for bringing many a smile to my mornings as well as the many wonderful things you have done for “our town”. Will indeed miss you but wish you & your dear wife all the best -enjoy the best of retirement, you have both earned it. God bless you & your family.

  8. Laura says:

    Thanks for keeping me company through the years. I listened during my high school years. Then I took great comfort to find that I could listen to your program when I was at college and needed a touch of home. And for the past 37 years we have been driving buddies either to or from work everyday. Thanks for the info, the music and the laughs. I wish you all the best.

  9. Bob the BodyMan says:

    Hey Dick I still got my Keener 13 Album!

  10. Cliff L says:

    Hi, Dick: 45 years, how awesome! I will miss you after daily listener for years. Thanks for the ticketys to your 1st Comedy Night and my several calls yo you and gang. I wish you the best in your retirement! Bedst wishes yo you and Gail and your family, Meet yhou on-line. Love, Cliff L, Colmmerfce, MI

  11. Liz says:

    We always knew which other cars in the morning gridlock were listening to you. Everyone was laughing! Thanks for getting our days off to a super start.
    Best wishes and God bless.

  12. Sue Hornung says:

    Goodbye is so very hard to say – even though you deserve to retire and spend time with Gail. I have listened to you since the first year you arrived in Detroit and have followed you everywhere. I have no idea how I will survive my morning and get off to work! I have so enjoyed all the laughter and tears through the years. You will never be replaced – we have come to the end of an era; the end of a kinder, gentler time. I am so very happy that you will be staying in touch with us! I will miss all of the wonderful people who have been on your show with you during the years. I’m so happy to have my “Best of” collection! May God bless you and your family; and give you and Gail a golden retirement. Thanks for the memories Dick, you will be missed for years to come.

  13. Ellen Hoover says:

    I have listened to you every morning for many many years. It’s not going to be the same when I tune into 104.3. Thanks for the wonderful years. You will truly be missed. Congratulations and Best Wishes to you in your retirement.

  14. Lynn & Lynn Gregg says:

    Wow… what’s going to happen on Monday when Purtan’s People can’t be found anywhere on the radio dial?! It will be a sad and lonely drive into work!
    We had the good fortune to be able to visit the station and watch the show in person on two occasions (Thanks, Al… yea, we brought food too.) Everyone there treated us so well… and made us feel right at home. During breaks Dick would come over and chat with us…. always the congenial host! He treats people so well… it’s no wonder he has been so successful for so long! Dick (and the cast of characters) will certainly leave a void in Detroit…. but…. not much we can do about it. Enjoy your retirement…. and cast members: good luck as you pursue new and exciting ventures! Dick: will look forward to your book and seeing you at a signing!

  15. Denis Martin says:

    I’ve been listening to Dick Purtan since his arrival at Keener. I’m now 71. Dick, you will certainly be missed, as well as all your Purtan’s People. My mornings will be void now. You have brought great inspiration into my life. What a great DJ you have been. I wish you the best in your retirement. You deserve it. May God Bless and keep you and your family in good health.

  16. Mack King says:

    Dick I first listened to you on my way to work when you were on (“Keyner 13”) and have listened ever since. That first time you were making fun of the Polish community by saying that your program was sponsored by Pan Hamtramic Airways with landings on Joseph Campo and Mother Wisnewskie’s executive length, over-the-calf white cotton soxs. I cracked up! I now live in Fairfield Glade, TN., however I managed to listen to you last week while visiting MI. Good luck in your retirement and God Bless! Mack King

  17. Joyce Younk says:

    Dick. This is a bitter-sweet moment for you and all of your fans. I am so SAD you are leaving the air, but so HAPPY you will be able to enjoy your wife and family.
    I moved to MI 31 years ago and was miserable!!! Especially those MI winters. But I discovered you on CKLW and my life changed for the better.
    I have loved your patriotism, sense of humor with all of your various Purtan’s People, devotion to family, Salvation Army Radiothons, and particularly your sense of decency. All of this is rolled into one terrific guy which so many of us would like to call our “friend.”
    THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for just being YOU!
    Joyce (from Canton)

  18. larry says:

    Mr. Purtan, Congrats. on your retirement.And thank you for the 45 years on radio You have given the most and I only hope you remember that we will always have a place in our heart for you.
    larry lehmann

  19. Richard Marshall says:

    Many years ago my buddy put me on and told me Richard Burton was the night D.J. at WKNR, Keener 13. I couldn’t believe it and sure enough it was not true. What I heard was a new guy in town, Dick Purtan. You were fun then and have been a standard of excellence for all the years that followed, both as a D.J and a credit to Detroit. Live long and enjoy your family and retirement.

  20. Cliff B says:


  21. cathy says:

    Dick Thank you for all the years of laughter, and may God bless you and your family in your retirement years. My prayers are with you and Gail for the best of health. I will miss you and your morning crew.That morning radio slot will have to fill some pretty big shoes.THANK YOU FOR A JOB WELL DONE. Cathy Carlson.

  22. Keith Kramer says:

    Imangine a Russian accent when reading this

    My name is Pickup And-drop-off (Andropov), Russian Truck Driver. We used to listen to Mr. Purtan when he broadcast RADIO FREE MINSK. I would drive a truck from Moscow to Minsk on the Siberian highway and we learned so much from him.

    We learned which way to put the toilet paper on the roll, which we don’t have.

    We learned to only gargle 50% Listerine, which we don’t have.

    He told Kruchev that low-cal pork was in Cuba which caused the Bay of Pigs, international crisis.

    We will miss him and thank him for ending the Cold War.

    Yours very truly,

    Keith Kramer

  23. Carrie M. Velasco says:

    Mr.Purtan, & The Purtan’s People: I’m almost 46 years old I grew up on the Eastside of the Detroit Area. I started listening to this radio station when it was called CKLW. I would have this little hand held radio. My friends and myself would walk up and down our street listening to this station. Then as a younger adult I would have this radio station on my alam clock (radio) ready to woke up to hear the Dick Purtan and Purtan’s people. Then when I started to leave for work every morning I have my car radio on your station, that you have been on for a few years. and listen to you all the way to work. I remember when you and Doc Andrews were on here together and when he past away I cried then. And I know I will cry. Today march 26,2010. I will truly miss your voice and all the different voice’s that Big Al Muskavito has done. I wish you Mr. Purtan and the Purtan’s people a wonderful retirement. I hope you know how much your voice will be missed here on the radio. P.S. I will also miss not hearing those great joke’s of the day as well. Again I wish all of you a wonderful retirement and the best in what ever you do for the rest of you lives. Thanks for all those wonderful years. Bless of luck to you all. Bye from a great fan Carrie M. Velasco

  24. Sandy says:

    Mr. Purtan, congratulations and many best wishes on your retires. WOMC is the only radio station my cars evern knew. I will miss you greatly and thank you for getting me to work with some laughter and in a better frame of mind every morning. I listened to Keener Radio for many years when I was going through school and loved you then. Big thank you for all you have done for so many and for Salvation Army especially. You will be greatly missed. God Bless you and your lovely wife Gayle and may you enjoy many year of happiness and joyous occasions together now that your will be retired.

  25. anita gray says:

    I grew up listening to you every morning and am truly going to miss you and the whole crew. Listening to you made every day going to work a lot easier. I wish you and Gayle wonderful years ahead of you both to enjoy your retirement.

  26. Patti Neville says:

    Dick, you have been an inspiration to everyone in the Detroit area. I’ve followed you from Keener….and I’m not even a stalker. Your last three daughters were born around the same time as my three sons!!! When you’d announce that Gail had another girl I knew I was going to have a boy!!!! Will miss your laugh….. Take care and God Bless. May God grant you and Gail many years.

    Patti Neville
    St Clair Shores

  27. Pat St.John says:

    Such a talent, such a wonderful guy, such an inspiration, such a hero Dick! I love you! Pat St.John

  28. Janet says:

    We will continue to celebrate you and your contribution to radio and mankind!! Your fans and family are so proud of what you represent. God Bless and keep you and the memories will live on—Enjoy every bit of your retirement you so deserve it. Dick Purtan is synoymous with great radio and humanity!!

  29. Ruth Frikken says:

    Dick, My husband and I met you about 31 years ago at a dinner dance our son’s preschool hosted in St Clair Shores. Your were our entertainment. We have followed you since then and used to tape you until we could buy your tapes for our four sons while they were away at Western Michigan. They each got the tapes for Christmas. You have been a part of our lives and we thank you for that. My husband and I have retired but when I worked I made sure my radio station was set for you every morning when I went to work. You got me on the right track for the day. THANK YOU DICK and a thank you to your crew. Ruth and Tim Frikken

  30. Dawn Jenkins says:

    I don’t know how I will get up in the morning without you but I certainly wish you and your family – your radio family and personal family – all the very best. I’ve listened to you practically all my life although it began when I was a senior in high school.. I met you once when our office group was attending the Dr. Sonya Freidman (??) show. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I bumped into you in the hallway. You shook my hand and I told you (as many others probably have) that I loved waking up with you!!! (I said it quite suggestively too I might add!!) You chuckled and then walked on – ah Gail – you lucky woman. Again, best wishes and thank you for bringing some of the many, many laughs into my life.

  31. Pam Bellino says:

    You are the BEST! I will miss hearing you and your morning crew very much! We could always count on funny, CLEAN humor that started our days with a smile on our face!!!
    Thank You!! Enjoy retirement!

  32. Joyce Hess says:

    I wasn’t from the Metro area but married a guy who was 36 years ago. Many years later it has become home to me. From my first visit I was introducted to Dick Purtan on CKLW — loved the music, the style and the humor. Thereafter, whenever we were home on leave (from the Navy) it was such a treat to tune in. When we heard Dick’s voice, the easy style and the humor ever present in the show, it really felt like we were home and I always identified those things with “being home!.” Sometimes, during overseas postings we even had family members record the show and send us cassette tapes because we loved the music. A favorite Dick Purtan moment was, while posted in the UK (London) with the US Navy, a friend of ours had purchased one of those international broad band radios. The guys were fooling around with it seeing what they could find. Weather condtions must have been just right one night because they were able to find your show!!! For a moment it was like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because we were listening to “HOME.” In those years when long distance calling cost a fortune we did not have and Skype wasn’t even an idea yet — it was the little things lik a home radio station you could hear that hlped us feel connected to home. In closing, I listened to your sign off in my car and cried — not for you — you deserve a sleep in, time with your family (a trip to Japan) and some rest! I cry for us because we will miss your unequaled brand of humor. The show format (perfect for the morning commute) always had me walking into the office laughing (or at least smiling) and there is nothing funny about going to work at 6:30 a.m……; ). So, this is a particular brand of magic you all have. I wish you and your family, and your “people” all the best. I will miss you more than I can say. It is something pretty amazing that so many people you have never met love you and are wishing you all good things! Thanks for all the memories!

  33. Deborah Lankford says:

    There have been laughs and there have been tears but fortunately the laughs outweighed the tears. Thank you for putting smiles on so many people, your selfless contributions to Detroit and for loving this country so much as many of us do! God bless you and your family and have a wonderful retirement!! (Looking forward to the book….with pictures!)

  34. Karen says:

    Thanks for the memories. And thanks for all you did for the community. You are a great guy. Enjoy your retirement.

  35. Linda Romito says:

    Dick and the morning show,
    We love you in our house and have listened to you every morning the last 17 since we moved to Detroit. We even listened to you when we lived in Cleveland and could pick up your station there. We are truly going to miss you. Thanks for what you do for the community. You are truly a hero!
    Linda & Jerry Romito

  36. Lynn pou says:

    We miss you already! Have a wonderful phase II. Sleep in….

  37. greg phibbs says:

    listened to your program for many years,your Purtan’s People sure brightened up our days,this type of prgraming will surely be missed,all the best in your retirement.

  38. Tom Howard says:

    I have to say thanks again Dick for all the years of service for the Motor City. I am from Farmington, been many years since then and the freeway 696 went and took our farm and we moved to Southern California 1961. I would spend summers in Redford twp. I remember you on WXYZ 1270 and CKLW The Big 8 . I was lucky to know Ron Foster at CKLW and Ron got me inside CKLW and I got to meet you and watch you do the show. I have always been a Detroit radio fan. I lived in Ca and listened every Morgan to Robert W. Morgan and The Real Don Steele in the afternoon. I would come to Detroit it would be a treat to me to listen to the Detroit radio. I been to a few Detroit radio reunions and said hello,and anyway enjoy the retirement but it never goes away in the heart, thanks again a listener from Riverside, Ca. All The Best,

  39. Steve says:

    Mr. Purtan, Its been a wonderful 30 years of hearing your voice
    over the Airwaves. From CKLW to WKNR to WOMC. God Bless
    you for giving us the great wake ups in the morning.No one could ever replace you as a fine gentleman and a great Broadcaster. Good Luck to You and your Family.

  40. kathy says:

    Now what am I supposed to do?????

    Have a great retirement, but you’ll be so missed.

  41. Maria vicary says:

    OK…Now what am I gonna put on my clock radio for an alarm? Hmm? Mr Purtan – and all the People – I’m really gonna miss you on the radio. What’s a morning without Dick Purtan?? Have a great retirement! Enjoy wife, family, SLEEP (precious commodities indeed).

  42. mary kay crowley says:

    you were a great person you will be missed good luk in all you do!

  43. Renetta says:

    They say laughter is the best medicine and I want to thank Dick Purtan for keeping Metro Detroit healthy with such a big dose of laughing medicine each morning for all these years. You and Purtans People have been the best morning companions we could ever want. We laughed with you, we cried with you and we celebrated with you.

    Congratulation on your retirement. I guarantee you, in a few months you will wonder “How did I ever have time to work”,

    Next December I will smile when I think of you on a cold snowy morning, sitting in your recliner at 8am with a cup of coffee in hand, watching the traffice report and thinking – Man I’m glad I don’t have to drive in that! Now go and have that vacation, walk the beaches of Normandy and enjoy your well deserved retirement.

  44. Paul Krause says:

    May you have as many wonderful years in retirement as you have given us on your show. I can go all the way back to “Keener 13” when you started and have followed you to each radio station you went to. My mornings will not be the same next week. Maybe I will just listen to your last show that I taped and Purtan’s People will not have left the building. You started as a class act and left WOMC the same way. You showed us all what a great family man you are and truly a wonderful husband to Gail all of these years. Thank you for all the great laughs and many stories that have entertained us for all these years. Thank you to all of Purtan’s People also for making our mornings so special as we went about our business. You will all be missed but, wish you well and much happiness as you move on to other ventures. God bless you all and thanks for so many great years.

  45. Ed Marshall says:

    Dick , it has been great listening to you since the CK days right
    up till today. That is 40 plus years. Since everything has been
    said, ” just keep a smile and keep on truckin”, Best to you and
    your family. Ed

  46. Robert Walker says:

    Thank you Dick Purtan for the many years of wonderful, entertaining, professional, quality, etc. Radio entertainment, your Radio voice was always a pleasure to listen to each day and you brought back many memories and created memories too. 45 years dedicating your life to please other people is a quality not many people can say they have accomplished, but you certainly may take credit for those many wonderful years. Myself and all of your many, many listeners do sincerley wish you a very Happy and long retirement. You will be missed very much. Thank you once again.

  47. Sue Lamontagne says:

    You will be missed. All the best to you in your retirement.

  48. Patti Claes says:

    My husband and I grew up in Detroit and had to move away when he joined the U.S. Airforce . We lived in many states for 20 yrs. When he retired from the service, we moved back to the suburbs of Detroit and I knew I was home when I heard Dick Purtan and Purtans People one day on the radio on the way to work of my new job! The smile and comfort of the sound of Dick’s voice helped relax me in a way that I walked in without fear! Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your talent and style…many people could learn from you!! Congrats on a full and happy career…now,enjoy that family of yours!

  49. jon thostenson says:

    Thanks Dick- Like so many of us you have been with me from my times as a teen-throughout my adult life.So much you have been with me through-regardless of what it was the one constant-you were there! Thank you for alll you have done for all of us-regardless if it was something we could help others with ALL your charities all your work-or helping us through 911 r just making us laugh when we really had nothing to laugh about! May God bless you,your wife and family for MANY years to come! Thanks my friend you made my life richer,less stressful and much more rewarding-you are simply put-the best!! Jon

  50. Rosie says:

    My morning work-out’s were the best when I listened to your morning show….kept me going. May you be blest for your kindness in your retirement. One person, one deed a million thanks.

  51. Paul Miller says:

    I am in Dick Purtan and Purtan’s People withdrawal! What to do?

  52. Pam Rogozynski says:

    Well my husband and I always listened to your show on our way to Port Huron shopping! we enjoyed every minute of each show and sang along to every song!!! We will miss your laughter but know you have left it in capable hands and will continue to listen on our drive. Good luck and God Bless.

  53. max kerner says:

    you’re all class purtan.
    -the kerner family

  54. Karen says:

    I was away for the winter and I was totally surprised when the radio came on at 7:30 and someone else was the DJ and no Purtan’s people. I have followed you and Tom Ryan since Keener 13. Thank you for all the laughs while driving to work. Congratulations on your retirement and enjoy every minute of it. You will be missed by me and I know all your fans.

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