Farewell, Mr. Clark.
No matter where in the world I would be, the last few hours of each and every New Year’s Eve were always spent rocking it out with”America’s oldest teenager,” Dick Clark. The famed radio and television personality has without a doubt, contributed effortlessly and endlessly to the worlds of media and broadcasting. His recent passing, unfortunately, greatly saddens not only fellow industry colleagues who will forever remember him as a pioneer & genius, but also, the American public as a whole– The nation has and always will adore his familiar face, bright smile, and rare talent as the media legend of our century.
Spanning both radio and television, Dick Clark undoubtedly created a legacy that lasted for more than six decades. Along with his never-ending passion for his work, Clark literally brought the phenomenon of rock n’ roll music into every household through American Bandstand. His long-running variety show showcased not only his strong communication skills, but also, “legitimized” rock n’ roll music to both young and old Americans everywhere. In its thirty-seven years, the show exposed the national audience to a variety of once-unheard of artists, and thus, launched the utterly successful careers of Stevie Wonder, Simon & Garfunkel, Tina Turner, and many many more. And because his shows were among the very first where both whites and blacks could perform on the same stage, Clark also played a vital role in the integration and desegregation of live television during a time when tense race relations were at its peak.
Society has definitely evolved in the ways we consume media– The constant array of modern digital innovation has truly altered how we live in this world. It can be said, however, that Clark began making media history long before the emergence of our recent technological hype. His impact on the world is truly unprecedented, and in a sense, there may never be another face or voice with the ability to cause so much positive change.
It was rather interesting to learn the other day that even at the tender age of thirteen, the young man knew that he wanted more than anything, to make a true difference in the world. Throughout his eighty-two years, Clark worked tirelessly to achieve this dream, and although he started out fairly small– By working in the mail room at an AM station fresh out of high school– It wasn’t too long before he landed himself a place among the stars. If there were to be at least one industry professional who stands out amongst the rest, Clark would be that revolutionary someone who many broadcasters will aspire to be like. The man seemed to posses a mix of tenacity, strength, courage, and class– Characteristics society rarely ever sees within popular culture anymore.
The celebratory ends and beginnings of each new year may have forever lost a familiar face– But the influence and impact provided by Mr. Dick Clark will undoubtedly remain an American inspiration for decades and decades to come.