Fred Fiske, who entertained and informed generations of listeners with a gentlemanly personality and a pleasing tenor voice that he parlayed into the longest-running career in Washington radio history, died March 2 at a hospice center in Columbus, Ohio.
He was 96, according to The Washington Post. The cause was congestive heart failure.
Fiske’s 64 years behind a radio microphone in Washington began just before the television age dawned, and spanned 12 presidential administrations. He first went on the air in Washington in 1947, when the city had fewer than 10 radio stations. He retired in 2011, when audio programming was delivered via satellites and the Internet.
|Fred Fiske 1954|
|Fred Fiske 1976|
WOL, a station with a tiny 250-watt signal, gave him a tryout. He spent 30 years on the station and its successor, WWDC-AM, before moving to WAMU in 1977.
After serving as an Army Air Forces radioman in Europe during World War II, Mr. Fiske found his way to Washington and became a DJ and morning “drive” personality at WWDC, offering light banter and the music of Perry Como, Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney, among others.
He told an assistant to call officials at the Memphis Draft Board, where Presley reported. “This is WWDC in Washington calling,” the assistant said. “Put Elvis Presley on the line.” Apparently thinking “WWDC in Washington” was related to the Department of Defense, Presley’s military superiors complied, and soon Mr. Fiske was chatting on the air with Presley.