Joe Ricker set up WLNG’s news department and served as news director from 1963 retiring in 1994. Joe came to WLNG from WTAR AM/FM/TV in Norfolk, Virginia. He also worked at WCOA in Pensacola, Florida and was on Armed Forces Radio in Japan from 1958 to 1961. Joe served in the U.S. Navy from 1951 to 1957, the U.S . Air Force from 1957 to 1961 and in the Air National Guard from 1975 to 1992 retiring as a Senior Master Sergeant. Joe's career highlights include helicopter coverage of a tidal wave in Japan in 1960. Coverage of the civil rights movement in Florida and Virginia, including coverage of the first Greyhound Bus civil rights sit-in in Norfolk.
He was the top newsman on Long Island. He helped to build WLNG's audience into the biggest on eastern Long Island. He was the news director coming into the station at 4 am to gather and write the news and sports. WLNG had no wire service then and Joe had to rely on area Police Departments which he had a solid reputation with, to give him the news. Many departments would tip him off on big arrests telling him to hold the story until the arrests were made. He had to get state news and sports scores by listening to New York City stations and rewriting the stories.
Joe also was the anchor on election night coverage. He also did the morning show for several years and was known as “The Morning Mayor”.
He was the news side of WLNG's Morning show called “1692 East” with Don Neville and Joe Ricker. Don handled the music and Joe the local news from 6 to10 am. This lasted through the mid 70s when Don retired and Joe handled the morning show by himself until 1985 when he was teamed up with Gary Sapiane who handled the music.
He did many speed walks on the East End for various charities. He would speed walk from Sag Harbor to Montauk to raise money. He was excellent in his narration of the Montauk Friends of Erin St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Southampton Fourth of July Parade. He covered many Whaling Festivals in Sag Harbor and interviewed Marshall Drew one of the Titantic survivors who lived in Rhode Island and John Steinbeck in Sag Harbor.
Joe Ricker passed away on November 21, 2020.