ALBANY -- He worked for many years in the Utica/Rome market, mostly at WRCK and WTLB. Larry Oyer, who went by the name "Big Larry Williams" on the air, has died at the age of 57, following a brief illness. Calling hours and a funeral are set to take place today near Albany, but a memorial service closer to Utica has been scheduled for next weekend.
According to an obituary published yesterday in the Albany Times-Union, Oyer had most-recently been working as a recruitment media consultant for that newspaper. He passed away on Tuesday at a hospice in Schenectady.
Calling hours are today from 1-4pm, with a funeral service to follow immediately afterward at the Gordon C. Emerick Funeral Home on Route 9 in Clifton Park. For friends and colleagues in the Mohawk Valley, a memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 22 at 1:30pm at Owens, Pavelot and Rogers Funeral Services on College Street in Clinton. Friends are invited to gather up to one hour prior to the service. The family is encouraging donations in Larry's memory to the American Melanoma Foundation.
When he worked on WRCK and WTLB, Larry was known as "Big Larry Williams." Former co-worker John Carrucci, now working at WSEN-FM in Syracuse, said Larry "was a great guy to work with a true professional."
Citadel Syracuse Ops Manager Tom Mitchell tells CNYRadio.com, "Larry worked for me at 98PXY in Rochester," for a brief period in the late 1980s. He was known on the air there as "Hollywood Hudson." Oyer would return to WRCK less than a year later.
Jeff Moulton told CNYRadio.com he was working across town at WRUN when Larry worked for WRCK/WTLB. "We were friendly competitors," he recalled, remembering Larry as "as good guy."
We also heard from "DJ Bill T" (Terwilleger), another former WRCK employee. He offered his memories of Big Larry:
I met Big Larry the first time in the early 1980's at a WRCK Radio remote that took place at Roller Palace in Sangertown Mall. I believe at that time WRCK was a "Pirate Radio" format playing everything rock from Billy Idol to VanHalen. I was fresh from the NYC area with my frosted hair, thin leather tie and playboy shoes. I was spinning the latest greatest club tunes from NYC and the moment the WRCK crew arrived I was asked to switch the format to more of what they were playing. That was the beginning of what would be several years of meeting Big Larry at radio remotes. Over the years that followed we shared the DJ booth several times at the Casabogie, Shenanigans, Lights Out, Lilly Lang-trees, Club Mystique, Players and the Sports Page... just to name a few. I would see him out and about and he was always very friendly, loved the music, loved the business.
My fondest moment was the night he introduced me as I was coming onto "Dance Tracks" on Rock 107. He talked me up so much you would have thought if you were listing I was some kinda of mega star. His encouraging words lead me to go on that night with one of the best six-hour live mix shows that I ever produced. I moved away for bigger and better things at the end of the 80's... and when I came back a few years later (we always come back) I had lost touch with the WRCK gang. It's been 20 years since I heard Big Larrys name... and I never knew his real name until I had heard that he passed. And it's ironic that I hear this news as I just watched "Pirate Radio" and as I watched I reminisced back to the days of WRCK Radio remotes... and Big Larrys big smile...
Our thanks to NorthEast Radio Watch author Scott Fybush for pointing out Larry's obituary yesterday, and to other CNYRadio.com readers who also got a hold of us before we had a chance to finish up this story. Anytime you have news to share about local radio or TV, our email is email@example.com.
Our thanks also to the former co-workers of Larry who shared their thoughts and memories. Feel free to add your own memories or messages by posting a comment below. A CNYRadio.com login is required (to prevent spam) but registration is free and it only takes a few moments.
wow..this is a sad day..I would Listen to Larry Williams at night on Rock 107 in Utica.and after meeting him as a teenager.He is one of the reasons I went into Radio.after going to college and getting into this crazy biz and I'm still in this biz for 27 yrs. I never got the chance to say...Thank you for being the Pilot of the airwaves..we all know that song.How the years pass.RIP.
I grew up listening to Rock 107 and Big Larry. I remember driving to work and cracking up laughing out loud in my car listening to the morning show and of course the music was great. They made my long drive into work fun and my day always start out on a good note so to speak.
I ended up moving out to the Albany area and I REALLY missed Rock 107. Couldn't stand any stations out here. Nothing compared to their morning show and their music. A few years after I moved out here a new neighbor moved in 2 houses down, and I couldn't believe it when I eventually learned that he was The Big Larry I had listened to so much growing up.
My husband and I got to know Larry and his family over the years, always catching up with each other when we were outside doing yardwork or enjoying the nice weather. He was a real genuinely nice guy and a friendly and helpful neighbor. He helped us out when our mower didn't work and he took care of the yard and driveway of the elderly visually impaired neighbor between us. He was always there if you needed him. My husband and he would talk for the longest time, most likely discussing the current standings and management of the New York Yankees, whom they both enjoyed following.
Larry was many things including a brave and courageous man. When he learned of his illness he chose to face it head on and battle it against high odds with a positive attitude and a determined and winning spirit. It was shocking to us to learn of his decline in health and passing because he was so strong and such a fighter.
We have many great memories of the man who we knew both the hilarious and talented Big Larry Williams as well as the kind and down-to-earth Larry Oyer. We will remember him often and miss him dearly.
I knew Larry near the very beginning of his radio career at WBRV in Boonville. That was 35 years ago. We lost contact in the early 80's, but about two years ago he called me at my home in central California. We reconnected and spent the next couple of years exchanging email weekly and calling occasionally. I am grateful that he reached out to find me and reconnect after all those years. He loved his wife and stepdaughters. We now know how much he was liked by family, radio listeners, neighbors, and friends. If you made a resolution this year to reconnect with an old friend, let Larry's story be a source of inspiration.