Longtime WMFO DJ leaves legacy on airwaves
Published: Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 08:09
WMFO News Director and DJ Dean Wallace passed away last month at age 70 after more than a decade of broadcasting to the Tufts and wider WMFO community.
Wallace hosted “No U Turn Radio” on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on channel 91.5 WMFO, the same radio station which hosts a cast of student DJs and broadcasts Tufts Freeform Radio. According to colleague WMFO community DJ Edward Beuchert, the popularity of the weekly show could be ascribed to Wallace’s exuberant radio personality.
“Dean Wallace was a highly intelligent, humorous and wonderfully idiosyncratic man,” Beuchert wrote in an email to the WMFO community. “He will most certainly be missed by his friends, WMFO listeners and fans.”
According to Beuchert, Wallace was educated at the University of Connecticut, where he studied history. Before moving to radio work, Wallace served as the CEO of a self-founded record distribution company, Dean Wallace Record Distributor, Ltd., until 1984.
“He recognized that there was a lot of music — world music, roots music — [and] a lot of artists whose work was not readily available in record stores,” Beuchert told the Daily. “What he did was he set up a company that would facilitate that.”
Following his sale of the business, Wallace began producing a bi-weekly newspaper, initially entitled the Boston Comic News, that was later renamed Editorial Humor. According to Beuchert, the humor newspaper published mainly editorial comics.
“Dean’s goal was to distribute the best editorial cartoonists and comic strips published in the USA and internationally,” he wrote. “It was sold from hundreds of vending machines in the Boston area.”
Besides functioning as an outlet for creative political satire and parody, the newspaper also served as a career boost for many young cartoonists, Beuchert said. Three inexperienced comic artists whose early work was published in Editorial Humor’s annual Cartoon Contest went on to win the Pulitzer Prize.
Although Wallace enjoyed considerable success and renown throughout the 1990s for his work at Editorial Humor, he would soon find equal success in radio. Taking over from former host Martin Voelker, Wallace began hosting “No U Turn Radio” on WMFO, a “progressive news” format show, according to Beuchert. Wallace’s program featured politically-minded guests, including U.S. Congressman Mike Capuano and 9/11 truth-seeker David Ray Griffin, as well as Wallace’s own take on current events.
“Dean’s background in history was just excellent,” Beuchert said. “He certainly understood geography and geopolitics very well. He certainly enjoyed humor, and he had a lot of energy.”
In addition to hosting “No U Turn Radio,” Wallace was also the co-founder of the “Able Disabled Project.” According to Beuchert, Wallace hoped to ensure that those with disabilities continue to receive government benefits even after their physical conditions improved.
Beuchert hosted the last two “No U Turn Radio” broadcasts, which ran on July 30 and Aug. 6, in place of Wallace.
“We’ll do our best to memorialize him, and look forward to sharing on the air any thoughts from others who knew him,” Beuchert wrote.