AMSTERDAM — Barry Frank, a radio personality at stations in Amsterdam and Albany, died Dec. 7 at St. Mary's Healthcare in Amsterdam at the age of 100.
Born Dominick George Frank in Frankfort, in central New York on April 13, 1917, he was a longtime Amsterdam resident who worked at two Amsterdam stations (WCSS and WAFS), as well as several other stations, including WEEE/WQBK in Albany and WLFH in Little Falls.
"I don't know how you would check it, but our family story was that he was the first country music DJ in New York," said Donna Frank, his daughter. "He was an extremely intelligent guy, and a real sweetheart. You just enjoyed being in the same room as him."
Frank grew up in the Amsterdam area and worked at General Electric in Schenectady before serving in the U.S. Navy as a communications officer. With that experience behind him, he returned to the Amsterdam area and began working in radio.
"He learned a lot in the Navy, and then he continued on that career path when he got out by getting into broadcasting," Donna Frank said. "He could also play a lot of instruments; he was very musical, and he was also an engineer.
"That was the difference between my dad and a lot of other DJs; he could really do a lot of different things in the studio."
Frank did many live broadcasts from Saratoga Race Course and often served as a host for country music concerts at Proctors and other venues around upstate New York. He held many managerial positions at radio stations in the area and finished his career as an assistant manager at the Off Track Betting parlor in Amsterdam. He worked for 25 years at OTB, retiring in 2000 at the age of 83.
Donna Frank followed her father's path into the radio industry and currently serves as a voice artist for stations all over the world, including the Howard Stern Show.
"I also did a morning show, which made my father quite proud because there weren't tons of females doing that at the time," said Frank, who lives in Greenwich. "He was obviously a great inspiration to me and to his other kids. I went on the same career path as he did, and he was always thrilled to hear how I was doing. He was incredibly supportive."
Bob Cudmore, an Amsterdam native and longtime radio personality with WGY and WCSS, said Frank's talent in a number of areas always kept him employed.
"He was a real interesting guy, and he was an engineer, a musician and a radio personality," Cudmore said. "I didn't know him real well, but I heard a lot about him. He was such a good engineer along with everything else he did. He was versatile, and that helped him keep jobs his whole life."
Donna Frank said her father was fairly active until recently, continuing his lifelong affair with cooking and woodworking. He also continued to play music regularly up until three years ago.
Funeral services were Wednesday, and Frank was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Fort Johnson. Along with his daughter and his wife, Mary, he is survived by three other children and four grandchildren.