John Hickman, 55, a radio historian and former program host at WAMU-FM was found dead Dec. 10 at his home in Gaithersburg. He had a stroke in 1990 and had suffered from seizures and other health complications since then.
Mr. Hickman joined the staff at WAMU-FM in 1964 when he created "Recollections," a program featuring vintage broadcasts from the "golden age of radio." This program later became "The Big Broadcast," which is hosted by Ed Walker and is WAMU's longest-running program. Until his stroke in 1990, Mr. Hickman was the show's host. He was born in Washington and graduated from St. John's College High School. He attended Belmont Abbey in North Carolina and graduated from American University.
While still in high school, Mr. Hickman began his radio career, working part time at WRC radio, where he helped produce the "Joy Boys," which had as hosts Willard Scott and Walker.
Later Mr. Hickman served in the Army as a broadcast teacher for Armed Forces Radio/TV. In this period and later while teaching broadcasting for ITT Educational Services in Washington and serving as a public information officer for the Veterans Administration, he continued to produce radio programs at WAMU. He left the VA in 1984.
In 1994, Mr. Hickman gave American University his collection of radio memorabilia. This consisted of 10,000 audio tapes, phonograph records, electrical transcriptions, audio equipment, photographs and books, including episodes from early radio broadcast series such as "The Shadow," "Burns and Allen," "Lum and Abner," and "Gunsmoke." Also included were such original news broadcasts as Edward R. Murrow's World War II broadcasts from London.
Mr. Hickman leaves no immediate survivors.