WRVO morning voice retires

Hurlbutt leaving air because of health issues:

Before anyone ever thought of distinguishing the two George Bush's with a "W" -- Central New York had a unique "W" all its own. That's "W"RVO-FM long time morning newsman, John Hurlbutt, who greeted CNY every morning with his signature warped "W."

"Imagine getting away with that," Hurlbutt mused.

Let's see, how many years? Well, if he landed in Oswego for college in 1966; and then started at WRVO-FM 89.9 as a student writing the news in 1969; which led him to becoming the station's second full time employee as the program director in 1972; And then eventually the host of WRVO's local version of Morning Edition since the national program first aired on Nov. 5, 1979; It would be at least 40 years -- a lifetime on air in CNY.

"I don't know how, it went by so quick," he said.

Hurlbutt, who hails from near Canadaigua in the Finger Lakes, is a self-proclaimed "Upstate kind of guy."

Perhaps WRVO membership manager, Elizabeth Christensen, sums up Hurlbutt's reach best, "I have worked with John since 1998 and used to produce his newscasts in the early morning. I also listened to him when I was a kid. My parents were big NPR fans, so I listened to John on the way to school every morning. It's going to be very strange not to hear his voice when I wake up. He's been a great colleague and I hope his retirement treats him well."

Why retire?

It certainly isn't to sit back and relax in comfort, because he is still a year from collecting social security, and like many Americans who placed their retirement funds in the stock market, he has lost big. But after a triple bypass, concerns with his overall health are moving Hurlbutt away from his beloved airwaves. His good nature is that at least there is a silver lining as he will no longer have to rise every day at 4 a.m.

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