Celebrating the Life of Former DJ Dick Ireland
The sound of Dick Ireland’s laugh was unmistakable. It was a laugh filled with joy and so much presence you could hear it through a closed door. Dick’s laugh made it impossible for him to be anywhere anonymously. One laugh and heads would whip in the general direction and someone would inevitably ask, “Was that Dick Ireland??”
How does a laugh become that recognizable? Dick was a staple on Baltimore radio for more than 50 years, beginning when he was just a teenager. Some of Dick’s early accomplishments include being an assistant to Buddy Deane on his radio show and interviewing John F. Kennedy. Of his many years, Dick spent only nine of them at 95.1 WRBS (as we were known then), but they were nine years that helped to make the station you know today. On Monday, July 21st, 1997, Dick cracked the mic for the first time and became part of the family. Every afternoon from 2pm – 6pm, Dick could be heard with encouragement and music.
In November 2000, Dick moved to mornings, and a whole crew was formed: Dick Ireland and The Morning Crew.
Mike Alley of Tracey & Mike (currently heard 6am – 9am weekday mornings) was part of the original crew that also included Jeff Atherholt (now Audio Production Manager) and later Joe Norris (now Operations Director). “I was blessed to spend many years alongside Dick Ireland every morning as part of Dick and The Morning Crew,” Mike reminisces. “He taught me so much about expressing my faith on the air and in public. I have never met anyone who was more comfortable with people than Dick.”
Jeff seconds Mike on how Dick taught him as well. “Dick wasn’t just a co-worker. He was, without trying, a mentor. He was the kind of guy who would take you under his wing without telling you he was taking you under his wing. He lived his life as an example, and he was easy to follow.”
Dick Ireland and The Morning Crew could be heard throughout the greater Baltimore metro area for just over six years until a stroke that affected his ability to communicate ended Dick’s career in May 2006. In September of that year, we celebrated his many accomplishments and contributions to our ministry by retiring his microphone.
While the stroke may have ended his radio career, his creativity, love, and affinity for people wasn’t diminished. Working with his wife Jeannette, he ran consecutive Bible studies on Sunday mornings at his church – The Tweeners (for people who are in-between stages and ages of life), the Heap O’ Sheep, and currently SOAR – a Bible study group for ages 55+. Dick loved to greet people and make them feel good inside, and he continued to do that by visiting church members in the hospital and bringing joy and laughter in hard moments.
On October 14th, Dick, Mike, and Jeff got together for lunch to catch up and reminisce. They recorded this moment to share with the BRIGHT-FM audience.
Dick Ireland was called home to Heaven on November 2nd at the age of 81, and we are eternally grateful for our time with him and celebrate his impact on our listening community. We’d like to think he’s in Heaven right now worshiping his Savior and greeting everyone with a classic Dick Ireland greeting, “How ya doing? So good to see you!”