WDUV-FM morning man Dick Ring retires Friday after 32 years on the job
Dick Ring may be the most successful personality with the lowest profile in Tampa Bay area radio.
While rivals on flashier stations talked to strippers or pulled stunts on air, Ring spent the last 32 years providing a friendly voice for the traffic, weather and news reports at WDUV-FM (105.5 The Dove), an easy listening “soft adult contemporary” music station which is also one of the most listened-to outlets in the Tampa Bay area.
At age 69, Ring has decided to retire, leaving WDUV as one of area radio’s longest-running on air personalities. And he’ll leave in much the same way he’s filled the station’s morning show; quietly and with a friendly dignity.
Today is his last morning show before heading to a home in North Carolina with wife Joyce, and he’s asked for no on air retrospectives or drawn out goodbyes. On Monday, Ann Kelly will take his spot while also filling the afternoon drive slot on WWRM-FM (94.9 Magic) from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“It’s tough walking away; I would rather go quietly,” said Ring, who decided to retire more than a year ago. “I attribute my long career to keeping a low profile. If they can’t find you, they can’t fire you.”
WDUV regularly scores as the top station among all listeners age six and above. Mention that the station is considered a haven for older listeners — its target audience is aged 35 to 64 — and general manager Wendi Power notes they have also ranked fifth in listeners aged 25 to 54.
On any day, you might hear Bob Seger’s Against the Wind or The Five Stairsteps’ Ooh Child; outside Ring’s show, the songs are played by a computer with a pre-recorded voice smoothing transitions.
Since 1981 Ring has been the station’s morning voice, welcoming listeners “with a Ring in their ear,” touting WDUV at personal appearances. He came to the Tampa Bay area in 1974 from Dover, N.H., landing first at WTRL in Bradenton and then WDUV seven years later.
“An on air personality becomes like family for so many people,” said Power, noting Ring will likely still appear in advertisements airing on the station. “We’ll miss him, but we’re happy for him.”
Ring credited the station’s steady, unobtrusive approach for its success, but he might well have been talking about himself.
“It’s not intrusive and people appreciate that, (so) I try not to be intrusive,” he said. “I keep the chatter to a minimum; our mantra is the music.”