The 29th Annual National Radio Hall of Fame class of 2017 induction ceremony took place last Thursday, honoring many of the best and brightest in the industry. Host Dave Ramsey welcomed the sold-out crowd and commented, “We’re sitting in the midst of greatness tonight.”
Bill Handel was first to receive his honor. In a humorous video tribute, iHeartMedia Chairman/CEO Bob Pittman, Big Boy, Premiere Networks President Julie Talbott, KFI-AM PD Robin Bertolucci and others congratulated Handel. In his acceptance speech, he acknowledged his audience saying, “I have one person I’m talking to, just a million times. Radio is truly a magic medium.”
Entercom President/CEO David Field then introduced his father Joseph Field on the eve of “one of the largest radio mergers in the history of the industry.” David said, “What I most admire about my Dad is who he is as a human being. He’s the model of honesty and decency. Working together with my Dad has been rewarding and fulfilling.” Joseph stated, “I know I wouldn’t be receiving this honor tonight without David’s extraordinary record.”
John Records Landecker took the opportunity to acknowledge 1988 inductee and Lone Ranger creator Fran Striker. He was humbled to be in his company, along with all others. He also talked about knowing “radio’s best friend” Art Vuolo, since high school and that Art shared with him on the red carpet that November 2 was the 97th anniversary of radio in the U. S., making the event more special.
The late Bob Sievers’ daughter Caroline accepted the award on his behalf, saying, “My father was blessed with the gift of voice, which was unmistakable and always resonated with good will and enthusiasm.” She went on to say his audience, “saw him as their neighborhood friend and confidante. So Daddy thank you. We do remember. We honor you and we’re all so proud of you.”
Tom Barnard said, “I care deeply about my family and friends. You all keep me on the straight and narrow by threatening me, which is a good thing!” He went on to say “it’s about working with great people” and that he plans to be around “until I drop dead, I love [radio] so much. Thank you for including me in this club. I’m not even religious, but let me say this…God bless all of you.” He received two standing ovations.
NRHOF Chairman Kraig Kitchin surprised Dave Ramsey with a special presentation of his 2015 induction portrait which he couldn’t accept in person due to a commitment he made to speak in front of 4,000 of his fans. Ramsey accepted with surprise and graciousness.
Bobby Bones, the youngest ever inducted into the NRHOF, was congratulated via video by Bob Pittman, Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini and more. Bobby commented, “For me it’s about picking the best people,” which he attributed his success to. He thanked his listeners via TuneIn and acknowledged their help in raising more than $10 million for charity over the last three years. He closed with “This is a ‘we’ thing, not a ‘me’ thing.”
Additionally, Sean Hannity and Robin Quivers, who were unable to attend, were inducted.