BOSTON (CBS) – Ask any transplant – Bostonians have a reputation for being slow to warm up to you.
But once we do, if you work in radio or TV here, you might just settle into a nice, long embrace.
Consider the case of the late, great Gary LaPierre, for 42 years a prominent voice on WBZ Radio that became emblematic of home for those who grew up listening to it.
Gary joined WBZ in 1964, and the station didn’t adopt the current all-news format until 1992, giving LaPierre 28 years to refine his craft. During that time, he proved adept at a wide range of tasks – spot news, breaking news, live interviews, talk – and made it sound easy.
Gary’s career overlapped with some vivid WBZ personalities who had long runs of their own – the likes of morning men Carl DeSuze and Dave Maynard, Patriots’ voice and sports reporter Gil Santos, sports-talk innovator Guy Mainella, sui generis issue-talkers Jerry Williams, David Brudnoy and Paul Sullivan, overnight legend Larry Glick, just to name a few. As a newsman, it was not his role to try to match their on-air charisma.
But Gary’s incomparable voice, command of his material, and capacity for dry, New England wit made him a beloved figure nonetheless. He was not afraid to ask tough questions, and in his latter years added sharp-edged commentary to his repertoire with his “LaPierre on the Loose” segments.
If you grew up around here during this era, Gary LaPierre was the one who told you if you were going to get a snow day off from school, broke the news of the day to you, and flawlessly narrated live news events. And perhaps he was easier for us to embrace because he was one of us, a native of Shelburne Falls, a graduate of the now-defunct Grahm Junior College, someone who would never mispronounce Worcester or Haverhill.
Gary’s distinctive voice will live on in pre-recorded ads, and in the warm memories of many Bostonians.
May his memory be a blessing.