Dick McMeekin was born in Melrose, Massachusetts November 23rd 1930.
He entered the United States Navy out of High School and spent the ensuing 21 years in uniform. Dick completed the full course at the Navy’s Journalism School in Great Lakes, Illinois, arriving in Jacksonville, as a petty officer first class, to head the Publicity Division of the Georgia/Florida Navy Recruiting District. He got his first taste of radio broadcasting when he filled in for two years as a weekend disk jockey on WMBR AM radio in the late 1950’s.
He was the recipient of the Boy’s Club Friend of the Year Award, two annual Jacksonville JAYCEE Community Service Awards for as well as several others including an honorary Silver Sand Dollar at Ponte Vedra.
Since Italy had been liberated during World War II no Status of Forces Agreement existed to provide US Forces in Italy English language Armed Forces Radio broadcasts as was the case in Germany and Japan. Negotiations were finally concluded for daily one-hour English-language radio broadcasts in the spring of 1962. After he was selected Dick did over 700 consecutive daily broadcasts on Bon Giorno Napoli (“Good Morning Naples”) as the show was named.
While living in Europe Dick composed and later sang his original musical entry in Rome’s Theatro Annuncio which earned a top award in the annual Roman music festival, the Festa Dei Noantri. This was the first time an American had ever accomplished this. Dick was awarded a silver medal by RAI on the occasion of his departure.
After his tour with RAI, Naples, Dick was commissioned an Ensign in the Navy and returned to the United States to complete OCS and Naval Justice School in Newport, R. I. in the dead of winter. As Dick put it “I never thawed out until I returned to Jacksonville.”
In 1968, upon completion of twenty-one years’ active duty, Dick retired to serve as Director of PR for the Ponte Vedra Club. He spent the better part of the ensuing decade as GM of the Coliseum, Auditorium and Exhibit complex downtown and in Washington, D.C. as a staffer in the US House of Representatives and as a Chief of Staff in the United States Senate, and during the final 10 years in the private sector as GM of American Advertising, Inc.
Dick is an accomplished pianist-entertainer who has performed live at the Kennedy Center and Radio City Music Hall. He appeared on two Ed Sullivan Shows and with well-known personalities such as Johnny Cash, Phyllis Diller, Red Skelton and several others. He joined the WKTZ/WJAX team in 1997 and has been doing his weekday commentaries ever since.
These days, as Dick puts it “I didn’t believe at my current age I’d remain in demand, but I entertain at Senior Centers, for 1940/50’s HS and College Reunions, private parties, and provide keyboard
music and vocals for dances at country clubs throughout NE Florida.”
Dick was married for 54 years to the late Ruth Virginia Kopp of Alexandria, Virginia. He has 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. He now resides at the Beaches.