DJ Rick Foster Is Signing Off

WDEA-AM’s Rick Foster provides listeners with a steady diet of Barry Manilow, Frank Sinatra and terrible jokes.

ELLSWORTH — Why does the sun go on shining? Why does the sea rush to shore? Don’t they know it’s the end of the show? Rick Foster is going off the air.

Yesterday, all your troubles seemed so far away. After tomorrow, it’s so long, farewell, gonna get along without you now.

The voice and personality of WDEA-AM — the Godfather of the Golden Oldie — hangs up the headphones for the last time Friday morning at 9. After 50 years in broadcasting, Rick Foster is retiring.

“It’s time,” he said. “I’ve lost my fastball.”

You wouldn’t know it to listen, but Foster, 69, said he’s not as sharp as he used to be. He’s getting tired. He wants to get out while he’s still at the top of his game.

“You try to be as good as you can be,” he said. “I could keep going. But at some point, the listeners are going to say, ‘Why doesn’t he quit?’”

“Ha, ha. I beat you to it,” he said.

It was a tough decision. And, he hastens to add, it was his own decision. The owners of WDEA would just as soon have him stay.

Fred Miller, operations manager of station owner Townsquare Media, confirmed that. Miller said Foster has done “a great job” these past 19 years. And he’ll be missed: Miller said the switchboard lights up any time Foster takes a day off or goes on vacation. “What have you done to Rick Foster?” callers demand.

The music on post-Foster WDEA won’t be quite so venerable. Miller said that the emphasis is on “adult standards” and “nostalgia,” but the 21st century also is represented. Foster rarely got out of the ’70s.

Broadcasting has been Foster’s life since he was a young boy and bought a one-tenth of a watt wireless oscillator and broadcast to the kids in his neighborhood. It was meant to be.

“I have a face for radio,” he said.

When WDEA went on the air in 1958, Foster would ride his bike to the studio (then on Christian Ridge Road) to watch the announcers through the window. Sometimes, they’d invite him in. When he graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1962, he went to the station and applied for a job.

Foster hasn’t always been at WDEA. He went to work for WCME in Brunswick in 1966. In 1972, he joined WABI-TV in Bangor working weekends while he managed the Golden Anchor restaurant in Bar Harbor. Then a stint at WERU before returning to WDEA in 1993 for the 6 a.m to 9 a.m. show. He’s been fortunate, he said.

“If you do what you enjoy, you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” he said.

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Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]
Stephen Fay

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