WYCE Programmer Hall of Fame: Dick Destiny

posted by Matt Jarrells on 02/06/2017

2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of WYCE! In celebration of the hundreds of volunteer programmers who make it all possible, we are establishing the WYCE Programmer Hall of Fame. Join us at Jammies XVIII as we honor our first four inductees.

Dick Destiny:
When does a good idea become a real thing?  Jeffrey Van Kuiken had done radio before he came to Grand Rapids.  In North Carolina on WNCW, in the Virgin Islands, Sight Seer Radio and on Blue Lake from time to time.  He’d even been Dick Destiny before.  But what happens when a music loving poet/writer, wine and spirits expert, influenced by among other people the Beat Generation- ends up in front of the mic at a unique place like WYCE?

What happens when that guy, looking for a creative outlet, makes the acquaintance of a programmer who tells him, “You’d be perfect for this.”?  What happens when he takes the programmer class and lands in a place where he can present a show based on the premise of exploring a world of music?  Based on hours of preparation both inside and outside of the WYCE music library, plumbing the depth and breadth of that musical world?  The premise of exposing people to new artists and challenging the boundaries of people’s musical experience?  The premise of cultivating a relationship with an engaged, aware, active listenership as well as his fellow programmers?  The premise that the segue can and should be an art form?

What happens?

What happens is that you make a show those of us in the audience will never forget.  A show to which those of us fortunate enough to be programmers can aspire.  A show reflecting a level of presence, performance and commitment that when, after 30 years of WYCE, it comes time to create an award to recognize volunteers representing the highest ideals to which WYCE aspires, we name the award after you.

All this, and no mention yet of that voice.  That voice!  So cool, yet used in a way that never obscured the reality and the humanity of the person behind it.  A man whose warmth and intellect were so engaging, and whose depth of thinking always left those of us who knew him with something to think about.  Any of us would be lucky to leave such an impression.

In addition to Jeff’s service as a programmer, he sat on the board of the Community Media Center for a number of years and if that weren’t enough, his service endured beyond his lifespan in a couple of ways.  The preceding paragraphs are one.  On top of that, when Jeff passed away on April 14, 2011, his family generously suggested that memorial contributions could be made to the Community Media Center or WYCE.  Thank you for that Mary.

Jeffrey Van Kuiken, thank you for your service, for your inspired programming, and for your legacy. Thank you Mary Van Kuiken for your generosity in approving the WYCE Dick Destiny Legacy Award. 

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