OCEAN CITY — The resort community lost a local icon this week with the passing of the longtime voice of Ocean City Wayne Cannon, a passing recognized by Mayor Rick Meehan on Monday.
Cannon for decades was a familiar voice on radio throughout the resort area, but, essentially, he was the voice of Ocean City in so many ways. He passed away on Monday after a brief bout with illness. His wife Chris let the resort community know of his passage through social media on Monday.
“Dear friends of Wayne Cannon, I am heartbroken to tell you this, but Wayne passed away this morning, April 19, after a brief battle with pulmonary fibrosis,” the message reads. “He was diagnosed on February 23, 2021, and his decline was rapid. We, his family, greatly appreciate the prayers and support of all those who knew of his illness. Wayne was actually a very private person and didn’t want to make his illness known. We respected his wishes.”
By Monday night, Meehan shared the news and fondly remembered his friend at the close of the regular council meeting.
“We lost a good friend of Ocean City this morning,” he said. “Wayne Cannon was a terrific person in his own right, but he was actually the radio voice of Ocean City for many years.”
Meehan recalled his early memories of the local icon decades ago.
“I’ve known Wayne probably longer than anyone in this room,” he said. “I met Wayne in the mid-1970s when we both worked at the George Washington Hotel. At the time, Wayne was the night auditor, was a waiter and he managed the parking lot. We became good friends.”
The mayor said despite Cannon’s early days at the Boardwalk hotel, he always wanted to follow his dream of working in radio.
“He always talked about going into radio,” he said. “He did some radio when he was in the service and that’s what he wanted to do. We all kind of made fun of him with that radio voice. He was one of those individuals that was lucky to live his dream.”
Cannon’s familiar voice echoed across the airways for generations, according to Meehan.
“Back in the 70s and early 80s, the primary station down here was WETT with a small building out on Route 611,” he said. “Wayne was the morning talk show host and also the late-night DJ. I don’t know how he did it all, but he did it with professionalism and played the role the way it should be played.”
Meehan said Cannon went on to work at other radio stations in the area including decades with WMGD. He used to host a morning cable television show the morning after Mayor and Council meetings to brief residents about what had occurred.
“He felt it was important that everyone knew what was going on,” he said. “He really did play that role and played it very well.”
In addition to his many roles on local radio, Cannon was also the master of ceremonies for the annual St. Patrick’s Parade in Ocean City, the Berlin Christmas Parade, the Penguin Swim and a local epilepsy telethon. He was Ocean City Citizen of the Year in 2004 and was past president of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce and the Ocean City Paramedics Foundation, among many others.
Meehan said the news of his passing this week shook the local community.
“When you saw the unfortunate news posted on Facebook today, all you had to do was read the comments to see that everyone was taken aback by what had occurred and their love for Wayne,” he said. “It was one of those times when everyone said the same thing. With heavy hearts, we all say goodbye to Wayne. He will never be forgotten.”