He Killed My Love of Radio

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I tend to blabber on this blog. I write freely, talk about poop and blood and constipation and all sorts of personal embarrassments.

There’s one moment from my life, however, that I’ve only shared with two or three people. In fact, maybe only one person—my wife.

Today, I feel inspired to discuss.

Back in the fall of 1990, I was a freshman at the University of Delaware with an interest in all forms of media. In fact, my major was Communications, though I dropped it after a semester or two and switched to History. Anyhow, I eagerly dove into the Blue Hen multimedia scene, writing for The Review, the student newspaper, and looking to do anything at WXDR, the university’s student-run radio station.

It took a while, but eventually I co-hosted a show, The Blue Hen Sports Cage, alongside Greg Burton, one of the all-time great guys. I loved that program. Every week Greg and I would chatter, take calls, chatter some more. Hens, Eagles. Phillies. Whatever.

But I also hated that program.

Scratch that—not the program. The station.

Scratch that—not the station. The station’s engineer.

His name was Rich McGuire. He was an adult—a man in his late 30s. Brown hair. Some wrinkles. Not especially big. He came off as nice and jovial … until he started pinching me. I’m not exaggerating this, and it sounds weird to write. But when I’d walk down the steps to the station, Rich would often be there. And he’d pinch me. My legs. My butt. He’d always tell me how nice and sexy my legs were.

I was a kid. Probably 18, 19. I was a bit stunted. Had yet to kiss a girl, anything like that. And, to be blunt, I didn’t know what to do. I lacked the self awareness to tell this man to fuck off. I lacked the confidence to inform the station manager of what he was doing. So … I just absorbed it. Pinch. Comment. Pinch. Comment. I’d laugh it off, but I fucking hated it so much. It made me incredibly uncomfortable; I cringed whenever he approached. Hell, whenever I’d walk down the steps. He would oftentimes start by talking radio, then transition to, “Your legs are so sexy.”

Eventually, I just stopped with radio.

I wanted nothing to do with Rich McGuire.

I learned today that Rich died two years ago, at age 62. In this obituary, he was described as “complex.” I wonder what people mean by that; if it’s perhaps a euphemism for creepy and inappropriate. Whatever the case, just seeing his picture again—after more than two decades—gives me the chills.

I also can’t help but presume that there are tons of Rich McGuires out there, latching on to immature students, turning what should be an amazing experience into something of a nightmare.

Whatever the case, I’m not happy he died.

But I don’t mourn his death.

5 thoughts on “He Killed My Love of Radio”

  1. From the obituary: “McGuire was also quite the joker — programming a Gentner transmitter to say ‘provocative things.'” That doesn’t sound like harmless fun here in this context.

  2. Blue Hen Sports Cage sounds like a show we did at KALX, the University of California student radio station, called Bear Talk. Weekly half-hour show all about Cal sports. I manned the board for the show, but it was created and hosted by Bill Shaikin, now a LA Times sportswriter.

  3. Jeff, I recently found out about Rich’s death as well. This is Glen Weiss. I was Greg Burton’s predecessor Sports Director at WXDR. Rich was most definitely a strange man who touched a lot. I’m luckily did not experience it to the degree you seemed to but I have no doubt your story is straight. Rich taught me a lot at WXDR and was a very well school radio guy but his persona was to be watched and concerned about.

    Hope you are well otherwise.

    Glen Weiss
    UD 1991

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