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Long-time Rochester anchor and Genesee County native Rich Funke will be inducted today into the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

The ceremony honoring News10NBC’s Funke along with five other inductees is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at The Paley Center in New York City.

“It’s overwhelming, really, for this to happen at the end of my career – to have all of this come together at this period of time is really fantastic for me," Funke said in a phone interview with WBTA from New York City Wednesday afternoon. "It’s been a long career, it’s been a fun career, and what a great way to go out.”

The 63-year-old Funke – who announced in June that he would retire at the end of the year -- has been a broadcaster for more than 40 years. He started his career right here at WBTA. 

“WBTA was where I cut my teeth as a broadcaster," Funke said, "and it was great fun back in those days, so WBTA certainly means an awful lot to me and all the people in Batavia. I remember those days because I didn’t use my real name back then, I used ‘Richie Ray.’ It was the old radio station and people used to come into the parking lot and there was a big picture window and you’d sit up there and everybody would see you spinning the records in the picture window. You’d have to mention if you want to hear a certain song to blink their high-beams. It was a lot of fun and I love Batavia – it’s still my home. And it was just great fun to learn what I learned at WBTA. Everything I learned there I certainly used later on.”

Funke is a 1967 graduate of Pembroke High School and is no stranger to accolades. He has been honored five times by the state Broadcasters Association, is a four-time winner of the Rochester Press-Radio Club’s Sportscaster of the Year award, was an inaugural inductee of the Frontier Field Walk of Fame. He is also a member of Section V Football and Basketball halls of fame and the Alexander High School hall of fame.

Funke says he doesn't have plans just yet for retirement, but knows it's the right time.

“The first thing people say is ‘Why are you retiring?’ 'I can't believe you're retiring,' or ‘You’re too young to retire.” But it’s been 43 years now in broadcasting and that’s a good long time," Funke said. "I have always said I want to leave with a little gas left in the tank so to speak. There are other things in life that are out there that I’ve put on hold for a good, long period of time. Now I’ll try some other things. Exactly what they are right now, I don’t know.”


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012 9:04 PM
Congratulations to you Richie Ray! I remember those days in Batavia really well as I logged records for you at the WBTA station. You were dynamic back then as your career as a broadcaster ends now is dynamic! You knew what the upcoming music was that we wanted to hear in that era and we loved the music you played. You were great to work for and you were well ahead of your time and Batavia and WBTA was proud to have you here for whatever time you gave us. We watched and listened to channel 10 after that knowing you representd us with loyalty and diligence in all phases, whether sports or news. We are proud that Batavia means so much to you. Thank you for your loyal service in WNY. Best of luck in all your future endeavors! So well deserved! Hope to see you back in Batavia and at WBTA for old time's sake! KAZ

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