Rick Shaw, voice of South Florida rock 'n roll radio, dies

Beloved radio DJ introduced South Florida to Beatles

By Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer, Kristi Krueger - Anchor/Health Reporter, Robert Alpizar - Assignment Editor

MIAMI - Before Spotify and iTunes, when vinyl ruled, Rick Shaw introduced South Florida to the Beatles. 

It was a Saturday afternoon in 1964. He played "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and about a minute into the song the phones at the WQAM 560AM studio just wouldn't stop ringing. He would play that song for decades. 

Rick Shaw, a beloved radio disc jockey born Jim Hummel, died at home Friday morning. He was 78.

"My father was an amazing person down to the final moments," Sean Hummel, his son, said. "He was my hero."

Many South Florida families listened to him Rick Shaw for generations and considered him a hero too. 

"My parents when they were kids, they met in high school in North Miami, they used to listen to him on WQAM," Fred Adler, 51, said. "My mom used to listen to him in the car radio. In the late 70s and 80s, I always used to listen to him when I had a car.  He was a warm kind person. He was like part of the family here in South Florida."

Rick Shaw was a VJ before VJs existed. Long before YouTube and MTV played music videos, he ran the "Saturday Hop" music show on WLBW-TV Channel 10. 

His son said Shaw’s brush with broadcasting came by accident. In high school, Shaw was asked to fill in for the school’s radio show when the weather forecaster called out sick. The station manager was instantly drawn to Shaw’s inviting personality and unique voice.

Hummel started his career in St. Louis. After working for radio stations in Omaha and Denver, he moved to Miami to work with WCKR 610AM. He joined WQAM 560AM in 1963 and changed his name to Rick Shaw. 

David Scott said he gave him his first on-air job and mentored him over the years. 

"He allowed me creative freedom that few if any would tolerate today, but he encouraged it ... He was so much more than a boss, a personality, a legend," Scott said. "He was my champion, my friend."

When FM stations began to overtake AM stations, WAXY-FM 106, later known as WAXY 105.9 and WBGG 105.9, hired him as program director. His last on-air job before retiring in 2007 was at WMXJ-FM "Majic 102.7"  He remained involved with the Majic Children's Fund. 

"I am beyond devastated to learn of Rick Shaw passing away," Rixys Alfonso wrote on Facebook. " He was one of the cause movers who helped me get Devin Alvarez the medical treatment he needed when he was a toddler, which led to saving his life."

Some of Rick Shaw's friends were sharing his regular sign-off song -- "Goodnight My Love" by Ray Peterson -- on social media.

Remembering a local icon

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