Longtime WBZ NewsRadio personality Lovell Dyett has died after a long illness, the station announced on its website Tuesday. He was 77.
Mr. Dyett hosted a talk show on the 1030 AM station for nearly 40 years. His career at WBZ began on Dec. 3, 1971, as host of “The Lovell Dyett Program,” which was promoted as a “telephone-talk show that dealt with all issues affecting the black community,” the station said in a posting on its website.
“A natural leader, trusted friend, and mentor, Mr. Dyett will be greatly missed by not only those who knew him personally, but also by those whose lives he touched over the airwaves of WBZ,” the station said in the posting.
In addition to WBZ NewsRadio, Mr. Dyett worked at WBZ-TV, WGBH-TV, and the former WNAC-TV, WBZ said.
“In Boston, we did not have a person of color of his intellectual depth and quality of broadcasting who could captivate an audience from 9 o’clock until 12 midnight every Saturday night,” said the Rev. Bruce Wall, pastor of Global Ministries Christian Church in Dorchester. “Not only the black community in Boston, but the white community, too; people in Boston all loved to listen to Lovell Dyett because he could address any issue across the board.”
Born in Florida in 1934, Mr. Dyett grew up in a household with his father, an Episcopal minister and history professor, and his mother, who was a college administrator, WBZ said in a statement. After graduating from Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., Mr. Dyett worked as an executive assistant to the president of urban affairs at Howard Univserity in Washington, D.C., the station said.
In the late 1960s, Mr. Dyett worked to elect Edward Brooke to the US Senate, according to WBZ. Brooke was the first African-American US senator to be popularly elected. The station said he also worked as an organizer in the campaign to elect Tom Atkins, Boston’s first black city councilor.
Outside work, the station said, Mr. Dyett was involved with the Boston chapter of the Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Roxbury YMCA, and the Congressional Black Caucus.
“He was noted throughout his life for being an erudite speaker, devoted community activist, and renowned television and radio broadcaster,” WBZ said.
Wall said Mr. Dyett was instrumental as he began his own radio and television broadcasting career.
“Lovell Dyett became a mentor for me,” he said. “He would tell me, ‘Don’t speak to everybody; speak to one person who is listening.’ Because of him, I now own my own radio and TV station.”
Mr. Dyett, along with several other WBZ employees, was let go in 2009 in budget cutbacks. But after a public outcry, he was brought back for a half-hour show.