Exhibit - Dick Estell, The Radio Reader

Dick Estell was born in 1926 and raised in Hillsdale, a small southern Michigan community.  Upon graduating high school he entered the University of Detroit but left after one year to join the U.S. Air Force.  He trained as a ball turret gunner/radio operator, but the war ended before he saw active duty.

Following his service he attended a radio/TV broadcasting school in Hollywood, California.  When he graduated he accepted a position as radio announcer/engineer at a commercial radio station in Michigan.  After five years in commercial radio, Estell determined to finish his college studies and entered the radio/TV program at Michigan State University.  While at MSU he was employed as a student announcer at WKAR, the University public radio station until he graduated and became a full-time employee.  Estell became manager of WKAR in 1962 and two years later he inherited the local book reading program from his predecessor.

Estell was instrumental in the formation of National Public Radio and served as a board Chairman from 1972-74.  During this period Estell syndicated The Radio Reader to other public radio stations in the U.S.  He retired from WKAR in 1986 but continued to produce The Radio Reader from his home studio until March 2016.  Estell died on May 6, 2016 at the age of 90.

Exhibit created by Matthew Wilcox, May 2016.Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections

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