Albert Makkay, beloved Cape Cod broadcaster

CENTERVILLE, Mass. — Albert Makkay of Centerville died peacefully at home on January 12 after a long illness.

Al was born in Carteret, N.J. to the late John E. Makkay and Helen (Feytko) Makkay. He was the husband of Maureen (Monaghan) and father of Allison Makkay Davis and her husband Tim, Albert J. Makkay Jr. and Colleen Makkay Mulgrew and her husband Michael. He was the grandfather of Katie, Johnny and Gracie Davis and Patrick and Billy Mulgrew. He was predeceased by his brother John Makkay and his sister Shirley Sommerville. He leaves many nieces and nephews.

Al was tremendously proud of his hardscrabble upbringing. Both parents emigrated from Hungary and met and married in the United States. His father was janitor and his mother a “Rosie the Riveter” assembly line worker, before becoming a waitress. His mother infused a tremendous work ethic in Al. After graduating Carteret High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army from 1953-1956. During those years, he had his first exposure to radio at the base radio station.

Upon discharge from the Army, he attended the University of Arizona, obtaining a B.S. in marketing. While attending U of A, he worked two full-time jobs, managing a drive-in movie theater and signing on as the morning show DJ at KAIR-AM, as “The Alley Cat.” He was quite the popular on-air talent — with teen-ager Linda Ronstadt serving as the president of his fan club.

Al achieved quick success in the radio business. After moving to the highest ranks in programming, he moved into sales and sales management. His career path in radio management took him back east, with stops in Baltimore, Trenton, Providence and Boston. He began his foray in station ownership in 1981, with WKZE in Orleans, now WKPE.

In 1986, he and Maureen launched a brand new business on Cape Cod which was by then their newly-adopted home. WPXC was born in January 1987 and took the Cape Cod radio dial by storm. It was the first rock ’n’ roll radio station on the Cape and was known for its wildly creative promotions, including “Spring Training with Luis Tiant,” “Lisa Pixy Wilson” and “Win Your Weight in Quarters.” The broadcast group expanded to include 96.3 The Rose and Cool 102. Over the years, the stations won many national honors including the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for excellence in community service. Al was proud to have launched the successful careers of hundreds of broadcasters over his years in the business. He retired in 2003, when Makkay Group Broadcasting was sold.

Al was a loyal Arizona Wildcat, watching his beloved team win and lose many games and tournaments across the country. He served on the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association and on the National Board of Advisors at the Eller School of Business and Public Administration. He was the recipient of the Leo B. Hart Humanitarian Award in 2005.

Al was long involved with the local Cape Cod veterans groups. For the years he operated WPXC, he was active with the Vietnam Veterans Association, partnering with them each year for the Chili Challenge. He was also a past Commander of the Korean Veterans of Cape Cod and the former Commander of the American Legion. Each year with the Legion, he enjoyed interviewing seniors from Cape Cod high schools for the Girls and Boys State civic leadership program.

Al’s deep faith was a cornerstone in his life. He and Maureen taught CCD for many years and worked ardently on various missionary projects, including building a school in Guaimaca, Honduras.  He was a Knight of the Order of Malta, as well as a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus. In addition to his civic activities, Al was a world traveler, having visited more than 160 countries and all seven continents, earning the Traveler’s Century Club membership.

Visiting hours were held at the John Lawrence Funeral Home, 3778 Falmouth Road (Route 28) in Marstons Mills, and a Mass of Christian Burial was held January 16 at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville. A burial with Military Honors followed at the Bourne National Cemetery.

© 2017 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing  †  Fall River, Massachusetts