NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Beloved 1010 WINS reporter and anchor Gene Michaels has passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 60.
Gene started his career in 1978 at WEJL in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and in his own words, “Since then I’ve done just about everything you can do in radio…except for engineering.”
For 10 straight years he helped Long Island’s WALK-FM find a spot at the top of the ratings books.
“I’ve known and worked with Gene since he was the program director at WALK. He was one of the kindest and most professional broadcasters with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work. I already miss Gene more than I can say,” 1010 WINS anchor Lori Madden said.
Michaels’ impact on the industry over the course of his nearly four decade career likely went beyond the airwaves. For over a decade, he spread his love for radio to students at Five Towns College and St. John’s University.
Gene joined 1010 WINS as a reporter in August 2012 and shortly thereafter began anchoring.
“I can’t think of a single person who crossed paths with Gene over his long and incredibly successful career who didn’t find him to be among the kindest, smartest, and gentlest of human beings,” said Ben Mevorach, Director of News & Programming for 1010 WINS. “Everything he touched, everyone he met, everything he did was better because of him. Our hearts and prayers go out to his wife and daughter and to his entire family.”
Michaels’ myriad achievements in the industry made him an obvious choice to speak with New Yorkers on National Radio Day. From Melville to Manhattan, Michaels asked WINS listeners what radio meant to them.
“I remember winning something on the radio when I was little. I won an Edie Brickell and New Bohemians tape. It was a tape,” one young woman told him.
When famed Hoboken music venue Maxwell’s prepared to close its doors in 2013, Michaels was on the scene. He was a sympathetic ear for sad music fans venting and reflecting on the end of the road for a storied venue.
“REM would play here, or Nirvana played here on their way up. It just had a lot of heart,” a man said as they crossed paths at a final commemoration for the Washington Street club.
Earlier that summer, Michaels served WINS listeners a recap of a pastrami eating contest honoring the 125th anniversary of Katz’s Delicatessen. It was no amateur showdown – Major League Eating’s Joey Chestnut led the pack of pros who chowed down on the deli staple.
And when Sandy’s storm surge flowed into Battery Park City, it was Gene Michaels speaking with New Yorkers who had parked in the wrong place.
“The missus told me to go and check the car, and I waited too long, and this is what happens,” Eugene told him.
Gene leaves behind his wife Stephanie, daughter Samantha and his WINS family.