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97 Rock’s Larry Norton to retire

97 Rock radio personality Larry Norton announced Thursday on the air he will retire as a fulltime broadcaster in December.

He made the announcement during the annual Make-AWish Radio-Thon, announcing it would be his last.

“After 40 years, I’ve decided to turn the page,” he said. He also told the radio audience he plans to do more “for charity and my church.” Norton is among a handful of disc jockeys whose shows over the years have become a Western New York institution.

Norton had told WGRF-FM 96.9 in 2008 he wanted to resign so he could move to Florida to help care for his ailing father. The station came up with an arrangement so he could broadcast his morning show – announcing school closings, celebrating Bills victories etc. – from Florida. Norton’s father Wallace Norton died of cancer in November 2010.

Larry Norton for years was a mainstay as host of the 97 Rock Ball Drop on New Year’s Eve.

Among his colorful stunts over the years was an attempt in 1984 to secure a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for spending more than 37 days aboard a Ferris wheel.