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Jordan Rich discusses 50+ years in radio

By Audrey Anderson

Hometown Weekly Reporter

Matt Robinson interviewed WBZ Radio host Jordan Rich at the Needham Free Public Library, as the final discussion at the Library Foundation of Needham’s Author Series. Robinson and Rich discussed stories from the new book “ON AIR: My 50-year Love Affair with Radio” by Jordan Rich and Stephen A. White, with a Foreword by Peter Casey. This event was the last in this year’s informative and entertaining Author Series, which was renewed for seven new installments next year, starting in October 2024.

The affable Jordan Rich was a popular late-night radio host on WBZ radio’s “The Jordan Rich Show.” He now focuses on producing several features for WBZ radio, including “WBZ New England Weekend,” “Connoisseur’s Corner,” “WBZ Book Clubs,” “Now Streaming with Jordan,” and “The Upside with Jordan.” He also is a partner in the audio-video production company, Chart Productions, and he is a popular emcee and public speaker.

Rich began the evening by recounting his early infatuation with radio. He was amazed at hearing voices from far away, as could be done then only in the evenings. Rich was inspired by Jack Benny, Jess Kane, Norm Nathan, and Paul Harvey. He also was drawn to “The Shadow” radio drama and the “CBS Radio Mystery Theater.” 

Rich’s friend Jimmy Rose, with whom he worked at the First National grocery store in Randolph, invited him to visit the PEP radio station, and Rich was hooked. 

Rich’s first job in radio was as weather reporter at WRKO in 1978. He was then promoted to morning co-host with Norm Nathan. After that, he worked at WLLH and WSSH FM, and in the 1990s, he joined WBZ radio, where he still works.

In the timeframe of 1976-1978, worried about layoffs in radio, Rich and his business partner Ken started Chart Productions, a company that produced radio plays and commercials. In 1992 they got computers and in 1998, they switched to a digital format. Since the business has evolved over the years, Chart Productions now produces podcasts and audio books in the current climate of radio-on-demand.

Rich’s favorite celebrity interviews were with Mickey Rooney, who slid down the banister at the Wang Center to greet him, William Shatner, who was happy to talk about something other than Star Trek, and Roger Moore, with whom he talked about junk food, a topic that Moore found to be an “amazingly interesting idea.” 

Over the years, Rich has enjoyed connecting with unknown people, relating to their lives, and understanding the humanity of himself and others. Known for his philanthropy, Rich is donating the profits from his new book to Boston Children’s Hospital. He has raised funds for many local organizations, including Mass General Hospital’s Cancer Center, The Voice of Hope, Upstage Lung Cancer, The Epilepsy Foundation, and many others.

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