Profile of Richard Factor
by Scott Benjamin
 

factor1-06.jpg (72242 bytes)
Former Musicradio WABC Engineer
Richard "Evil Ox" Factor

 

Rick Sklar, the legendary program director at musicradio77 WABC summoned one of the station’s relief engineers one day in August 1965 to work on a high profile assignment. 

Rick and Richard Factor, who has joined WABC a year earlier, drove to Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, Queens to record the Beatles concert that was being emceed by Bruce Morrow, Cousin Brucie. 

“We drove to Shea Stadium together and I had a press pass in my hand for a moment that was signed by Sid Bernstein,” Richard said, referring to the long-time promoter who handled many of the Beatles shows in the United States. 

“I had to present it to get in,” he recalled in a phone interview with musicradio77.com Jan. 20, 2006. “Imagine what a press pass signed by Sid Bernstein would be worth today.” 

Herb Oscar Anderson, who was the station’s morning drive air personality from December 1960 to September 1968, has said that WABC’s promotion of the Beatles was the prime factor in their soaring to stardom. 

Shortly after the Fab Four’s arrival in New York City in February 1964 to appear on The Ed Sullivan show on CBS, the rising Top 40 station became know as W-A-Beatle-C. 

On that night in the late summer 1965, Richard, who later worked as a full-time engineer at musicradio77 from 1966 to 1969 and would go on to own a company that manufactures state-of-the-art electronics equipment, had WABC tape recording equipment on the field where the New York Mets play their homes games. 

He said he could barely hear the Beatles over the screaming fans even though he was next to the stage.  

Richard said he also held a microphone to record their screams as they were hauled back after trying to storm the stage – an activity that he described as “a doppler-shifted screamfest as they were being dragged off.”

Richard, a longtime ham radio operator who had a first class radiotelephone operators license, applied for a position at ABC in 1964.

He said that since the other candidate at the job interview was better at splicing tape, he was assigned to the ABC radio network and Richard was sent to WABC.

“As kids, we all had radios and we listened to WABC and the other Top 40 stations,” Richard said regarding his childhood in New York city. “It seemed interesting that you could get paid to be silly on the radio.” 

Through the early 1960s, he said that, in particular,  he enjoyed listening to WABC’s Dan Ingram, Bob-a-Loo and Cousin Brucie. 

While working with him in the studio in the mid-1960s, Dan named Richard the “Evil Ox.” 

“I’m a big guy,” he said in explaining the nickname. “I’m not clumsy, but I’m not the most graceful person either.” 

He said that Dan, who had the longest tenure of any air personality during WABC’s 21 and a half years as a music station, “was organized and absolutely precise. 

“It was as though there was a clock built into his head,” Richard said of Dan, who is known for being able to deliver witty ad-libs in less than 10 seconds and who was used to timing through his extensive work as a voiceover announcer. 

In the early 1970s, Richard, who has been noted for his innovation, established Eventide Clockworks, which later became just Eventide (www.eventide.com) - a company based in Little Ferry, N.J., that makes sophisticated electronics equipment that is used at radio stations through the country. It currently has about 40 employees. 

Eventide’s digital obscenity delay system has been used at radio stations and recording studios across the country since 1977. It also produces the Harmonizer® effects processor. 

Since he was making broadcast products, Richard remained in contact with staff members at WABC for years after he left his engineering position and was involved in playing an on-air prank on Dan Ingram. 

It was a tradition to play an April Fool’s spoof on the famed afternoon drive air personality. In fact, in 1964 Bob Dayton, the mid-day personality, was on the air for the early minutes of Dan’s show while Dan was in the studio unaware that his show wasn’t being broadcast. 

Richard said that in 1975 he was in the process of developing Eventide’s pitch change device and he “spirited a unit up to the
transmission room [at WABC] and patched it in during Dan's show. 

“Dan had a remarkable ‘ear,’ and could tell if anything was slightly off during his show,” Richard wrote in a Jan. 21, 2006 e-mail message. “For example, if a cart machine was running the slightest bit slowly, he would notice it before anyone, and he would usually be right.

“It was great fun first making the pitch of his voice just a little off, and then, when he realized there was a ‘problem,’ making him sound drunk, female, or whatever,” he added. “ I was lucky I wasn't taken out and shot.”

Richard stated that in another episode, he “made a box that would automatically create the WABC jingle. 

“Not exactly PAMS, but it could control pitch and speed, and add vibrato and tremelo,” he added, referring to the WABC jingle package “It could be played ‘straight’ or be somewhat bizarre.”

“When Dan got his paws on this thing it became the ‘Hern,’ to the characteristically risible Ingramatic wit,” Richard wrote. “He would hold conversations with it, and, later, with the ‘Heen,’ another gadget that I made, this one having less structured audio tones.”

On a separate subject, Richard also spent many hours at WABC engineering the midnight to 6 a.m. shift for Charlie Greer.

“With Charlie, there would be at least one World War II story every hour,” Richard said regarding Charlie’s service in the U.S. Army during the 1940s.

However, when the station went through a period of bomb scares, one night Charlie departed the ABC building for more than 15 minutes and left Richard with a stack of carts with music and commercials to play. 

On another topic, he said an engineer had to adjust to handle Cousin Brucie’s shows. 

“You had to read Bruce,” Richard said. “Some nights he had a small group of people with him in the studio, and he was the d.j. who paid the least attention to the mechanics. You didn’t get crisp hand cues. But he put on a fun show that was entertaining.” 

On a separate subject, Richard said he is “the leading authority on Roby Yonge” the air personality who arrived at WABC from Miami in late December 1967 to work the weekday 1 to 3 p.m. show. His career steadily declined to the point that he was doing the overnights by the late summer 1969. 

After Roby was dismissed from musicradio77 in October 1969, he enlisted Richard to help “set up and maintain” a record-cutting mastering studio in Roby’s New York City apartment. 

Richard - who now lives in Kennelon, N.J., about a 60-minute drive from New York City – is leading some other innovative ventures. 

He is president of the Search For Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence League (SETI, www.SETILeague.org), which, according to its web site, is an “international grass-roots organization dedicated to privatizing the electromagnetic search for extra-terrestrial intelligence.” 

SETI states that, “Since [being established in] 1994 [it has been] the leading membership supported, non-profit [501© (3) educational and scientific organization.” 

Richard, who bought a Toyota Prius in 2005, also operates a web site at www.PriUPS.com that encourages owners of hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles to use them to generate electricity when they are not driving them. 

“The gasoline-electric hybrid is the perfect solution to a number of individual and societal problems  . . Don’t think of it as ‘a car,’ think of it as a power plant,” the web site states.

 

Richard Factor was one of the many Musicradio WABC engineers
who made the over air sound of the station so smooth and tight.
In addition, he worked with Dan Ingram who nick named him the "Evil Ox".
Here's an aircheck of Dan working with Richard
utilizing one of his innovations known as "The Heen and the Hern":


Dan Ingram
July 1, 1967

Dan acknowledged Richard on his 20th Anniversary Show


Dan and Richard
July 3, 1981

 

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