Thursday, January 5, 2012

RADIO MY WAY: Ron Della Chiesa at Stellina's

Ron Della Chiesa reading from his book at Stellina's in Watertown Square
Talking to a room full of admirers (most of whom were sipping wine from elegant wine glasses) at Stellina's Restaurant in Watertown Square yesterday evening, Ron Della Chiesa of WGBH fame, talked about his life in radio, the writing of his book RADIO MY WAY, and the many fascinating folks he came to know throughout his career in radio broadcasting.  If the book is even half as fascinating as he is, it's worth the read!  Radio My Way: Featuring Celebrity Profiles from Jazz, Opera, the American Songbook and More begins with several chapters on the early life of Ron Della Chiesa followed by 44 vignettes based on interviews with those famous in the world of music.  Thrown in for good measure are recipes served by his wife Joyce to the celebrities the Della Chiesas entertained.

Beginning with his childhood in Quincy, Ron writes about his fascination with radio, his Boston accent and how he dealt with it, his body building and fascination with Steve Reeves, his first job while at Boston University with Arnie Woo Woo Ginsberg on WBOS (anyone out there remember listening to Arnie's bells and whistles?), and his hilarious encounters while working as the only English announcer at WBCN, the foreign radio station which was then broadcasting  Greek, Polish, and Gaelic programming, Ron playing the records and broadcasting the ads in English.

A member of the audience asked if he had ever interviewed Fred Astair.  Yes, Ron answered, but Astaire's not in my book.  I interviewed him on his 80th birthday over the phone.  It was a difficult interview -- Astaire didn't like to look back, and was self-deprecating in a way -- he didn't want to talk about himself.  Luckily all of the folks Della Chiesa discusses in his book loved to talk about themselves, and thus we all have a treat in store for us.

Radio My Way promises to be a fascinating read! 

1 comment:

  1. Marko Pasha says....I've been listening to ron Della Chiesa for years. he very erudite and I think the best classical music host that I I've ever listened to. I never listened to Woo Woo Ginsberg, but I do remember hearing about back the '60s.