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Hack Swain

Hack was a recording artist whose playing of the Hammond organ and electric piano landed him a daily afternoon radio show over Sarasota’s WSPB in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. Born in Perry, New York, he started playing the piano professionally at the age of 12 and later became a theater organist for silent films. After graduating from Mansfield State College in Pennsylvania he taught music in the public schools, established Swain’s Music House, and owned and operated a theater.

Following service in World War II, Hack appeared at the piano and organ as the “Magician of the Keyboard” in Sarasota area clubs. His radio show began on WSPB in 1948 and was heard six days a week at 5:00 P.M. It enjoyed a strong following and included a local fan club. His theme song, “Marie” (also his wife’s name), introduced each 45-minute show which featured listener requests. Marie answered the phones and pulled the music from a TuneDex file and, usually within a few minutes of the request, Hack would play it live on the air.

In addition to the radio show, Hack also appeared nightly at two local restaurants over the years, The Cypress Club and The Dolphin. He pioneered pre-recorded tapes with his “Musikon” tape library and his “Multee-Traks” were released by Cardinal Records. He also arranged and recorded an album of Florida songs for Sunshine Records.

In 1969, Hack was named Outstanding Industrialist of the Year by the Sarasota Industrial Development Council. He was a charter member and regional vice-president of the Florida Motion Picture Television Producers Association, Inc., past president of the Sarasota Rotary Club, board member for the Florida West Coast Symphony, and a charter member and past governor, treasurer, and executive vice-president of the International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers. He and Marie also founded Hack Swain Productions in 1960 and, together with sons Tony and Mike, enjoyed success as filmmakers.

Hack was 75 when he passed away in 1982.

Station History

1947 - 1959 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)

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