Tom Dunn, 72, writer-announcer


The WGBH community notes with sadness the passing of former Writer-Announcer Tom Dunn, who died Wed, 5/22 after a short illness. He was 72.

Tom first came to WGBH in 1974 as a record cataloger in Radio. Known to have a smile in his voice, he soon was lending his talents on our air. According to an article in the 1978 WGBH Member Guide (thanks Media Library and Archives!), ’GBH listeners responded “warmly, encouragingly, and effectively,” and Tom became the first announcer of choice as a substitute for almost any shift—everything from Robert J. Lurtsema’s MORNING PRO MUSICA and Christine Sweet’s EVENING PRO MUSICA, to Ron Della Chiesa’s FRIDAY MORNING PRELUDE, and Tom’s favorite, MUSIC FOR A SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

But Tom probably will be remembered most for his “This is Tom Dunn, saying good night” sign-off.

Condolences and memories may be forwarded to the family via Boston Cremation.

From the Boston Globe via

Thomas Freyn “Tom” Cruciverbalist, voracious reader and voice extraordinaire

Tom Dunn, resident of Boston, MA, died after a short illness on May 22, 2019 at the age of 72. Tom had a prodigious memory, an abundance of knowledge, and a gracious character accompanied by a wry sense of humour.

Tom was educated in New Rochelle, NY, public schools, where his outstanding voice was first featured in performances of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. A graduate of Amherst College, Tom earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1974.

After being introduced to announcing and the business of broadcasting at local radio stations while in high school and college, Tom decided to follow what he enjoyed most and joined WGBH (Boston) Channel 2 in 1974 by volunteering to catalog records. His talents were noticed and he became a writer-announcer, an association that lasted more than 15 years. Many will recall his memorable “sign off” from 1984-early 90s, “This is Tom Dunn, saying Good Night” which can still be heard via the web.

After leaving WGBH, Tom continued in media production in voice and consulting. His primary lifetime occupation was as an announcer and “voice over” professional, often specializing in difficult technical science, medical and engineering assignments as well as in commercials. His clients ranged from charitable organizations to Martha Stewart, from Range Rover to Beano, from scientific manuals to the Vienna New Year’s broadcast. Mellifluous, intelligent and interested, his voice carried the product to the target audience without grandstanding.

He is survived by his sister, Sarah Hoag (Toronto, Canada). Tom was a loving and generous Uncle Tom (UT) to Hannah Hoag (Omer Rashid) of Toronto and Matthew Hoag (Marsha Santerre) of Vancouver. In recent years he became the doting “GRuncle” To Zara Hoag Rashid and Isla Jane Santerre Hoag. He was predeceased by his parents Thomas Mansfield Dunn and Margaret Freyn Dunn.

Cremation has occurred; at his request there will be no service. Condolences and memories may be forwarded to the family via Boston Cremation.

14 thoughts on “Tom Dunn, 72, writer-announcer

  1. From Tom’s sister! I just came across this posting (almost five months after Tom’s death) and it was just lovely to read all your kind and joyful memories of my brother. He was, as you have noted, one of a kind and yes, he is greatly missed! Thank you!

  2. So sad to read this. I worked at WGBH about the same time hosting various music shows including an all night Saturday stint and Prelude early on weekday mornings as well as some TV booth announcing. Those were the days. Tom’s voice both on TV and radio was as distinctive as it was comforting. He sounded like and was such a pro. I met some wonderful people at 89.7 back then including Bill Busiek, John Moran and Mace Rosenstein.

  3. I posted about Robert Carey who left WGBH to run an Inn and Restaurant in Franconia, NH He and wife Sybil ran Horse and Hound for several years while Bob continued on as a Private Investigator. We worked together in New England, New York and Canada on the Winter Hill/Whitey Bulger Gang, specifically on the Martorano Brothers Jimmy and John.
    Bob and I also did a job for the National Toxics Campaign which took us to the Denver, Colorado area, where we tangled with some top FBI agents and ended up filing FOIA suits related to this case.
    Later Bob died in an unexplained death while working a case in Florida. His remains were cremated and shipped to his latest spouse(number 4) and I spread his ashes, following a promise Bob made me swear to keep. That I followed through on in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. Loved that BROTHER!!!

    • Glad to hear about Bob’s later adventures; I succeeded him as radio manager in a funding crunch just before a contested licence renewal for gbh-fm. My only experience seeing double came when driving Bob back from a visit to Bill Cavness one evening–I guess I was driving because it was my car, and fortunately the streets were deserted. Never heard about his PI life, but it fits.

  4. A unique memory of Tom at ‘GBHfm. In the wonderful, sociable old radio office at 125, I had bemoaned that I had never had a birthday party at school or work because of my January 1 birthday. That year Tom showed up on January 2 with a cake for the ages. It was about five inches in diameter and ten or more inches high (Tom said he didn’t own a cake pan and had to improvise), and coated with an icing so impenetrable that we had to borrow a tool from tech to hack our way through it. My admiration and love for Tom were as impermeable as the cake.

    • Thanks for that, Leslie. Tom was a rare bird in the public radio firmament. Big hearted, and at least outwardly, without an out-sized ego. Those were the glory years of concertcasting at WGBH-FM

  5. Tom’s passing is sad news, indeed. He was an unflappable host of the New Year’s Day from Vienna radio broadcasts back in the day when music still mattered on ‘GBH. I still remember coming in for NYD with barely 2 hours of sleep on many New Year’s early mornings to tape the live feed from Vienna and being impressed with his and Wes Horner’s talents at coming up with a finished product in time for our time-shifted and appropriately translated scripted package. It was a true joy to have it all come together. He had great pipes and made ‘GBH-FM sound like a million bucks (old money, of course).

  6. Tom was responsible for my very first job at WGBH: an internship the summer of my sophomore year at Amherst College. A generous Amherst alum, he put me in touch with Nancy Mason Hauser who was creating dance videos for a more “experimental” stream of programming. The experience was transformational, propelling me toward PTV post college.
    I popped in to see Tom that summer to thank him, and later, after landing my first official job (Caption Center) to let him know that he had changed the course of my life. He was lovely, so pleased to have made this possible. We had a warm bond at the station for years. So sad to have lost touch with him.

    • OMG! How wonderful to see your name again, and to know that your experience with me was “transformational”! I have some sense of what that was like, because that’s what happened for me when I was mentored by the person who would become my husband, Rick Hauser.
      I’m glad I didn’t let Tom down. He was a good man.

  7. I knew Tom all the way back to the mid-80s, when he came in with a ‘GBH gaggle (Bill Cavness and few other icons of ‘GBH radio & TV) to a club in which I worked as a bartender. I quickly became friends with Tom for his quick wit, love of the NYT crossword puzzles, and always amiably demeanor. When I graduated college and floundered around for a few years, Tom helped me land my job in ‘GBH Local Development, during the waning days of the Reagan Administration. That was November 1988, and I’m still here. Thank you, Tom Dunn;’ I won’t forget you. And your velvety, intelligent, measured yet assured voice still guides this kid from Winthrop. ~BP

    • What a joy working in the room adjoining the B+ suite, listening in, and often joining in on Tom’s and your banter.

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