"Dr. Dirt" Dick Crum Retires After 54 Years At WIBC
INDIANAPOLIS – After nearly 54 years of educating and entertaining listeners on WIBC, “Dr. Dirt” is hanging up his garden trowel and stepping away from the microphone.
Dick Crum has announced his retirement as co-host of 93 WIBC’s long-running “Home and Garden Show” that airs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
Crum has been hosting the weekly program for more than 20 years and has been joined in studio by Pat Sullivan and Denny Smith for most of that time. Sullivan and Smith will continue the program and Crum says he may be a guest from time-to-time, but not commit to co-hosting the show going forward.
“I had never been able to sleep in on Saturdays,” says Crum. “What I want to check out is Goodwill. The first Saturday of every month Goodwill has a 50-percent-off sale and by the time I got there in the afternoon it had all been picked over.”
Crum grew up in Parke County, Indiana and earned his bachelors degree from Purdue in horticulture in 1959. He then earned his master’s degree in entomology, or “bugology” as Crum describes it.
Crum took a job as a nursery inspector in Madison, Wisconsin. He soon heard about an opening with the Marion County Extension Office in 1962. From there, Crum’s work and expertise led to guest appearances on local television stations. For several years, Crum hosted a weekly show on WISH-TV with Stan Wood called “Town and Country.”
In addition, Crum also wrote a regular advice column beginning in the early 1970’s for the Indianapolis News and Star newspapers.
Crum (second from the right) and others receiving an award from Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut in Feb. 1988. Photo provided by Dick Crum.
His job also allowed him to be a much sought after guest on many radio stations across Indianapolis, including WIBC starting in 1964. Crum would join WIBC’s morning show hosts Gary Todd, Jeff Pigeon and Terri Stacy over the years, and would contribute to the show “First Day” which continues to air to this day on Sunday mornings.
Crum continued to make regular appearances on WIBC’s programs and became the host of “The Home and Garden Show” beginning in the early 1990's. The show became very popular with listeners thanks to Crum’s encyclopedic knowledge of plants, trees and the outdoors. His laid-back personality was also what attracted listeners to his program.
“Dick’s contributions and tenure at WIBC are unprecedented,” says 93 WIBC Program Director David Wood. “Dick has the heart of a teacher and with it has added a lot of color and beauty for families and neighborhoods all over central Indiana."
Crum in the 1990's. Photo provided by Dick Crum.
“The term he’s been like a second father is probably overused but I have spent four hours a week with Dick for 23 years, he’s like a second father to me. I knew this day would come but I’m trying to ignore it hoping that he’ll change his mind and come to his senses,” says Pat Sullivan, Crum’s long-time co-host of 93 WIBC’s ‘The Home and Garden Show.’
"The advice Dick gives is just as sharp as ever, his kind common sense delivery still intact. I can never repay him for what he’s taught me about gardening and about life. I’m not giving up trying to bring him back for guest appearances in the spring. It’s just too painful to say goodbye,” says Sullivan.
Denny Smith, Crum's other long-time co-host on 93 WIBC's "The Home and Garden Show," shared his thoughts on Dick Crum's retirement:
"In my nearly 15 years of hanging around Dick, I've learned more about bushes and bugs, dirt and mulch, vegetables and vegetation, grass and weeds, than I ever thought I could remember. He is simply a walking encyclopedia of knowledge that he willingly shares.
"Being on a remote broadcast with Dick was crazy. His fans came from all walks of life and nearly every county in Indiana. The ladies would line up to ask him a question. We called them 'Dick's Harem.' The old guys would line up too.
"One time an old physician friend of Dick's came over and gave him a card to put in his wallet. On the front side it simply had his name, Richard Crum, Dr. Dirt. On the backside it said, DNR in big letters. Dick thought that stood for Department of Natural Resources, and was putting it in his wallet when the good friend reminded him that it stood for DO NOT RESUSCITATE! We all got a good laugh about that and Dick STILL put the card in his wallet!"
Although “Dr. Dirt” may no longer be hosting a show every week on 93 WIBC like he has been for the past 54 years, Crum says if you have a question or need to reach him, he’s still available to answer your lawn and garden questions off the air.
“If you want to see me, every Sunday morning at 8 o’clock I go to church at Chapel Rock at 21st and Girls School Road,” says Crum.
CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO A SPECIAL 93 WIBC PODCAST AS C.J. MILLER TALKS WITH “DR. DIRT” DICK CRUM ABOUT HIS BROADCASTING CAREER IN INDY, AS WELL AS THE MOST COMMON QUESTION LISTENERS HAVE ASKED HIM OVER THE PAST 54 YEARS:
Photo credit: C.J. Miller / WIBC