Ron Sunshine

Ron Sunshine

Ron Sunshine grew up in New York City, where he did record hops and made friends with many show business people including Freddy Cannon and Del Shannon.  He studied broadcasting at the University of Oklahoma and worked part-time at KOMA in Oklahoma City until leaving school because of illness.  After recovery he decided to pursue a job as a disc jockey and applied to many radio stations including WROV, where Burt Levine was impressed by his skills and his "big name" friends.  According to Ron, Burt wanted "personality AND show business" and wanted him to play the records and "talk about Freddy and Del and the others and make it personal."  So Ron came to WROV and soon was immensely popular.  Ron truly was Roanoke’s first “big city” radio personality and probably did more than anyone to transform the station from its local roots to being a nationally known and respected rock & roll powerhouse.  Ron became the first local radio personality since Jivin' Jackson to do record hops and worked out a deal with the local Coca-Cola bottler to sponsor them.  Most were held at Crossroads Mall because it was the only indoor space they could find that was big enough for crowds which exceeded 9,000 people.

Ron Sunshine audio link

Perhaps Ron’s biggest contribution to Roanoke radio was his introducing them to his former college roommate from Oklahoma, Frederick David Wilson Mugler III.  The two of them had run the college radio station together.  So when WROV had an opening on the morning show in 1961, Ron suggested to Burt that he hire his old friend, who was now using the name Fred Frelantz. 

The two of them worked together at WROV until 1963 when Ron, feeling that he’d done all he could do at WROV, left for Dallas then went back to New York where he became a show promoter.  Ron later became the manager of several BIG acts including Freddy Cannon, Freddy and the Dreamers and Herman’s Hermits.  Ron retired from show business in the 1970s and now works as a corporate “head hunter” near Dallas, where he helps people find manufacturing jobs in the metal, rubber and plastics industries.


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