Dick was born in Groton MA, just an hour west of Boston in the late 40s.
Radio fascinated him since he was 10 years old, when Dick and a friend had a small Lafayette transmitter set up in his house that would broadcast for about a mile. Having his own radio station at such a young age lit the fire that has always stayed with him.
Dick’s musical education started with Guy Mitchell Singing the Blues and wove its way through the 50s with Elvis, the Kingston Trio and other great Rock and Roll.
In the 1960s Dick started to develop a love for folk music. He liked the sound of the music, and loved the intimate coffeehouse atmosphere where it was performed. Frequent visits to Boston’s legendary Unicorn and Club 47 coffeehouses, and his radio work, have kept Dick Pleasants a veteran of New England’s folk music scene for more than 40 years.
Dick’s love of folk music has been inspired by performers such as Tom Rush, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band. He also loves Judy Collins, Joan Baez and Pete Seeger but started to dig back into the wealth of Blues musicians including Mississippi John Hurt, Sleepy John Estes, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Robert Johnson.
His love of music eventually expanded into Bluegrass with Clarence White and Doc Watson, and the songwriting scene with Bob Dylan, the Byrds and Emmylou Harris.
Dick’s interest further expanded upon the Blues with Old Time Stringband music, Newgrass and the edgy country sound of artists such as Buddy Miller, Uncle Tupelo, Wilco and the Jayhawks.
In 1970, after graduating from Emerson College, Dick began his career hosting folk music programs on area radio stations, including WCIB-FM / Falmouth, WCAS-AM/Cambridge, WVOI-FM/Martha’s Vineyard and WATD/Marshfield. He was instrumental in starting up and managing the country’s first full-time commercial folk music station, WADN-AM in Concord, MA. Dick joined public radio station WGBH in 1978 as host and producer of the popular weekend Folk Heritage show, and finished the last 15 years of his on-air radio career at UMass Boston’s public radio station, WUMB doing a daily radio show.
Over the years, Dick featured live performances and interviews on Folk Heritage with a wide variety of songwriters and musicians, including Tom Paxton, Pete Seeger, Odetta, Si Kahn, Silly Wizard, Ossian, The Battlefield Band, Patty Larkin and Beausoleil. He also offered listeners the annual live broadcast from the Lowell Folk Festival as well as highlights from such important folk festivals from around the country as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
At WUMB Radio Dick continued to interview hundreds of performers and for several years hosted/produced a weekly show, Guest Mix, during which artists would come into the studio and talk about the music and other artists who most influenced them. His wealth of guests included Rory Block, Judy Collins, Jonathan Edwards, Ferron, Richie Havens, Janis Ian, Bill Morrissey, Tom Rush, Michelle Shocked, Chris Smither, Bill Staines, Josh White Jr and many more.
While at WUMB Radio, Dick was responsible for launching and serving as the Executive Director of the annual Summer Acoustic Music Week (SAMW) primarily held on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. SAMW is a week-long music camp offering a wide variety of folk music instruction from contemporary to traditional and including sound, dance and voice. Instructors have included Kate Campbell, Robert Jones, Guy Davis, Pete & Maura Kennedy, Lorraine & Bennett Hammond, John Kirk & Trish Miller, Charles Williams and dozens more.
Dick was also instrumental in lending his skills to help organize the Boston Folk Festival and other concerts for WUMB with talent such as Emmy Lou Harris, David Bromberg, Natalie MacMaster, Sam Bush, Nanci Griffith, Roger McGuinn, Suzanne Vega, Bruce Cockburn, Jesse Winchester, Danu, Koko Taylor, Sweet Honey In the Rock, Robert Lockwood Jr. and others.
Dick’s goal has always been to contribute to the folk music scene and to help build it one way or another, in whatever small way he can. For many years, Dick was also a concert promoter with his Ear to the Ground Productions, bringing folk favorites such as Greg Brown, Chris Smither and John Gorka to the area.
Dick is one of the founding members of both the South Shore and Woods Hole Folk Music Clubs and was a member of the advisory board of the Nature Connection Inc.