Rick Sklar is recognized as the man who transformed Top-40 radio.
Sklar began his radio career in the 1950s, writing for New York stations WNYC and WPAC. In 1954, he moved to WINS/New York. As assistant program director, Sklar wrote slogans for the station, developed original contests and worked alongside legendary disc jockeys Alan Freed and Murray "The K" Kaufman.
Sklar joined Top-40 station WABC/New York in 1962 and became program director the following year. In an effort to revive WABC’s low ratings, Sklar tightened the station’s playlist from 77 records to around 24, giving airplay to the three top-selling songs every one to two hours.
At the same time, Sklar encouraged "personality" disc jockeys like fellow Radio Hall of Fame member "Cousin Brucie" Morrow. By the late 1960s, WABC had become New York’s dominant Top-40 station—claiming up to one quarter of the city’s listeners—and a template for music stations everywhere.
Sklar became vice president of programming for ABC Radio in 1977. He left in 1984 to form Sklar Communications, a radio consulting firm.
Rick Sklar died on June 22, 1992.
He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993.