Welcome to the New York Radio Archive - Where Great Radio Still Lives!
Welcome to the New York Radio Archive
While there are many radio sites and forums on the web, short shrift is generally given to 1960s-1970s free-form, progressive and underground New York City FM rock radio. In addition, when air checks and other collectables are loaded to Forums on the web, they are frequently lost as the postings are removed or it's hard to follow which postings had the associated attachment. This site will serve to remedy those situations. So we'll cover the free-form radio FM scene, mainly for New York radio stations, but we'll also add some goodies for New York AM rock radio fans that don't exist on other sites.
The New York Radio Archive (NYRadioArchive.com) features airchecks, articles, advertisements and other documentation about New York radio culled from the air, from journals and newspapers of the day.
Come back often to see what's new on the New York Radio Archive as we'll be posting new air-checks and other archival material often. We have a great team of contributors who are constantly finding that lost aircheck in their archives.
Please post any feedback or just say hello on the Guestbook page.
And if you're a vinyl lover, check out lpvinylmusic.com
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Check out the archive to view older items that have been removed from this home page.
Rocktober is always a big month around here as DJs joined WOR-FM 49 years ago and WNEW-FM launched their rock format 48 years ago. (WNEW-FM always claimed in marketing that it was Halloween, but it was actually the night before).
WOR-FM started playing rock on July 30, 1966, but without DJs. The DJs joined on Saturday, October 8, 1966. You can hear some airchecks of that first day by going to the WOR-FM page. When they finally did make it to air, we heard a simulcast of John Gambling until 9am, Scott Muni holding down two shifts from 9am until noon and from 3-6pm; Johnny Michaels from noon to 3pm, Murray the K from 6pm to midnight and Rosko initially from just midnight to 2am. Shortly afterwards, Johnny Michaels would move to mid-mornings, Muni from 1-6pm, Murray the K to 11pm, Rosko until 2am followed by a Barry Farber simulcast from the AM side.
After WOR-FM gave programming responsiblities to Bill Drake the following summer, all of the original jocks left the station. Rosko resigned from WOR-FM on Monday night, October 2nd, 1967. On Saturday, October 7th, 1967, he appeared on Pete Fornatale's "Campus Caravan" show on WFUV to explain why he resigned. A very rare aircheck of that interview is posted here.
Execs at WNEW-FM lisened to that show and decided to pick up Rosko. Alison Steele was already a member of the airstaff, having been part of the "all-girls" middle-of-the-road format. Rosko's first show was on October 30, 1967. Management actually tested the rock waters relatively slowly: Jonathan Schwartz would join on November 16th and Scott Muni on December 18th. The rest is radio and rock history. More on the WNEW-FM page.
And October 5th is another great anniversary: On this day in 1962, exactly 53 years ago, the Beatles released their first single in the UK, "Love Me Do".
"Little Steven's Underground Garage"
We often editorialize on this site about the poor state of broadcast radio and how almost no one is doing the kind of quality broadcasting that was accomplished on the best free-form and progressive rock stations in the 1960s and 1970s.
But there are still some great shows out there on both commercial and non-commercial listener-sponsored radio and there are also some great shows in syndication. One of those is Little Steven's Underground Garage, which has been in production since 2002 and will soon issue its 700th show - almost 1800 hours of absolutely fantastic radio.
Recent shows have been dedicated to The Wrecking Crew, Girls of Summer, Joe Meek, Jack Nitzsche, Movies, Ringo, The Who and more.
Little Steven, of course, is Steven Van Zandt, probably best known for being a member of Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band, but he's really a renaissance man. He worked as a sideman for the Dovels and was a co-founder of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and he's released four solo albums. And of course he's known for his role in The Sopranos and in the Netflix show, Lilyhammer, for which he's also a producer and writer. He's the program director for the Underground Garage Sirius/XM channel as well as the Outlaw Country channel. He's also been a music producer, co-producting some tracks for Gary U.S. Bonds' "Dedication" album and most recently for Darlene Love. He was also responsible for getting The Rascals back together (albeit briefly).
Most of the Underground Garage shows have been archived and can be listened to on the Underground Garage website. (Posted 9/7/15)
"I Am What I Play"
"I Am What I Play" is a new documentary that profiles four DJs in major markets who were active during the 1960s to 1980s. It features Meg Griffin as well as Toronto-based David Marsden; WBCN, Boston morning man Chalres Laquidara; and Seattle DJ and PD Pat O'Day.
The film includes rarely seen archival footage of the DJs, the radio stations and the performers. We'll post screening dates as we know them. More info at the movie site here. (Posted 8/21/15)
NY Radio & Twitter
We've setup a new Twitter display to show postings about New York Radio. It's imperfect, but it's still fun to see some of the posts, at least the ones that are decipherable.
Edwin Armstrong and Nikola Tesla
There's been a number of recent fictional novels about Nikola Tesla as well as a discussion on the NY Radio Message Board about why there aren't any radio industry statues in NYC.
The figure probably of most relevance to this site is Major Edwin H. Armstrong, the inventor of FM radio. We'll celebrate him on his next birthday. And he does have a monument of sorts: the Alpine tower located in the woods west of Route 9W on the Palisades in Alpine, NJ. Armstrong invented FM broadcasting in 1933 and built the tower in 1938. But FM really didn't take off until the FCC mandated in 1966 that stations in cities of greater of 100,000 people could no longer simulcast the AM signal on FM, which brought us rock WOR-FM on July 30, 1966.
There are a few plaques around the city in tribute to Tesla, who invented the brushless AC motor, improved Edison's DC dynamos, developed AC power systems in competition with Edison's DC and is also credited with inventing electric oscillators, meters, improved lighting systems and the Tesla coil - a high voltage transformer. He also did work with remote controls and claimed he could develop a wireless power system.
Both Tesla and Armstrong had to constantly fight the big corporate powers who tried to steal their patents. Tesla died poor in a hotel room at the New Yorker Hotel. After his death, the U.S. Supreme Court voided four of Marconi's patents and awarded them to Tesla. After numerous court battles with RCA and David Sarnoff, Armstrong committed suicide. His widow continued the fight and eventually won most of the cases.
But how many American schoolchildren know who Armstrong and Tesla were? That's a shame.
Record Store Day: Countdown
Countdown until record store day:
Great record stores are an endangered species, so instead of complaining about their demise, go visit one and buy something. The latest casualty is J&R Records, which stopped selling music and video online in early 2014 and whose physical store closed in early April 2014, probably never to return.
And if you're interested in some great gently-used vinyl: LP Vinyl Music is our sister site where you can buy great vinyl, including unique and rare radio documentaries and interviews, as well as some DVD and Blu-ray titles.
Radio Unnameable news
Radio Unnameable, the documentary about WBAI's Bob Fass, is now available on a DVD which includes several hours of extra material including deleted scenes, rare audio recordings from Bob Fass' library, some archival video and short film called "Night People". It can be purchased from Kino Lorber or from Amazon.
More information on the film is available on our media page.
Images of America: New York City Radio
Our friends Alec Cumming and Peter Kanze have put together a book for Arcadia Publishing that's filled with photographs about New York radio.
The book includes commentary and photos of such classic air personalities as Alison Steele and Dan Ingram as well as radio's pioneers, including inventors Edwin Armstrong and Lee DeForest. The book is a comprehensive, yet concise tour of New York City radio beginning at the turn of the last century and extending through the internet radio of today, stopping along the way at radio's pre-TV golden age and the growth of both top-40 and progresive rock & roll beginning in the late 1950s. The book contains many classic as well as rare photos. My favorites include a display of radios at Bamberger's Department Store from the 1920s, FM inventor Edwin H. Armstrong standing acrobatically on top of an antenna, some rare photos of Alan Freed along with such DJs as Jocko Henderson, Dr. Jive (Tommy Smalls), Bruce Morrow, and Bob Lewis before moving on to the progressive rock era of Rosko, Scott Muni, Murray the K, Alison Steele, Jim Kerr and many others. This is a must have for anyone who ever cared about New York radio.
More info and ordering here.(Just a link - we don't get anything for this)
CAROL MILLER Book
Carol Miller has written a book: Up All Night: My Life and Times in Rock Radio.
As the book jacket says, "The all-American chronicle of radio legend Carol Miller, from her rise to success in a male-dominated world to the rock stars she's known along the way to, for the first time, the private story of her quietly waged battle with a deadly illness."
Carol's been on the air since 1971 and has been a New York air personality since 1973. To look at her and listen to her though, you'd think she couldn't have possibly been on the air for even half that time.
Click herefor the book on Amazon
Click herefor a NY Times article.
Ken Tullipano has an amazing archive of air-checks, primarily from WNEW-FM. He has graciously agreed to share them with us.
Ken tells us that he's lived in New York State his entire life (originally Port Chester and now Carmel) and that he loved listening to rock & roll on the radio going back to Murray the K on WINS and Scott Muni on ABC. When he discovered WNEW-FM, he was "hooked".
Ken started recording shows in 1977 and like all of us, he wishes he recorded a lot more. Ken tells us, "It never occurred to me that someday they wouldn't be around. They always made me feel like I was part of a big music loving family. Thankfully WFUV is carrying on the tradition." We couldn't agree more.
Rob Frankel has been in radio for years, has worked as a producer for Drake-Chenault, the RKO and ABC Radio Networks and is known by a title that few people hold: restorian. Rob is expert at taking old scoped air-checks and seamlessly adding back the music. Rob was also responsible for remastering the air-checks heard on WABC's "Rewound" program from 2000 to 2009. Rob was one of the producers of "The News Blimp" through most of the 80's and he has been Senior Producer for Citadel Media, where he was one of the producers of "Flashback!", a weekly classic rock series, since 1989.
Check out Rob's website at RobFrankel.net where you can also find out about Rob's availability to create magic for you.
Charlie is a big radio fan who had the foresight to record many radio shows onto videotape where they have survived far better than many audio recordings of the era. Since 1981, he's been Regional Manager, Chief Engineer and on-air talent for Family Stations, Inc. From 1970 to 2010, he was also owner and President of Audio Headquarters, Inc., a consumer electronics repair facility.
Charlie refers to himself as a "life long radio geek, air checker, and these days as a radio program 'restorian'".
Steve tells us he listened only to WNEW-FM from the late 60's thru the 70's. He worked in NYC at night in a computer room and was able to listen all night. He later listened to the short-lived WQIV.
He taped WNEW-FM and other stations knowing those recordings would be important someday.
He eventually left NYC for Florida and he's able to catch up with some of the former WNEW-FM DJs by listening to WFUV streaming and to SiriusXM. We're thrilled that Steve is willing to share his extensive aircheck archive with us.
In 25 years as a practicing journalist, Dan McCue has written on everything from international trade, business and law to politics, science and the environment, but for all that, music and media remain closest to his heart.
A multi-award winner for his work in daily and weekly newspapers, Dan is currently writing a history of WNEW-FM, the working title of which is Where Rock Lived. He has been interviewing scores of on-air and behind the scenes personalities at the station, as well as the musicians, concert promoters, record industry executives and others who interacted with the station during its glory years.
Rich Barbato grew up in Staten Island and was a huge WABC and Dan Ingram fan. Like many of us, he used to listen for the chart positions of each song and write the surveys down each week. He loved WABC so much that he attended the NY School of Broadcasting and received his 3rd class FCC license.
He worked for the ABC Radio Network from 1978 to 1984 and got to see and speak with the WABC DJs that he grew up with. Rich has an interesting library of airchecks and he has generously volunteered to share them with us.
Growing up on the Jersey side of the NYC metro area, Myles Putman, began actively flipping the radio dial and playing with recording devices since about age 9. He has wantonly engaged in creative "de-construction" (re-editing) of "really, really bad music" for over 30 years and portions of his "montage" and "Skipping Delights" recordings were aired on WFMU in the 1980's.
Myles also created a large body of "real time-recording" collages of radio and music edits for "aesthetic" and possible historic value in addition to a gallery of re-edited political speeches. He now resides in the Hudson Valley with his wife Judy. In his spare time he continues to sift through the back catalogue of radio edits and sound checks and digitally concocting new forms of audio mischief on occasion.
Kimball is a great fan of New York top-40 radio and has contributed most of the WABC surveys and many of the WABC promotion materials that appear on this site.
David has worked for a number of music labels and is an intensive music collector and radio fan. He also fondly remembers his friendship with Alison Steele.
Allen B. Shaw
Allen Shaw was one of the earliest executives to promote rock on FM radio. He helped give birth to the early ABC-FM rock formats, such as the early experiments with Bob Lewis and Dan Ingram, the advent of the syndicated "Love" format, free-form WABC-FM and the emergence of WPLJ. He has graciously permitted us to use of his photos of WABC, WABC-FM and WPLJ. These days, Mr. Shaw is Owner/President & CEO at Centennial Broadcasting II, LLC and Vice Chairman of the Board at Beasley Broadcast Group
Joseph S. Pilliteri
Joseph has listened to FM radio since the mid-1970s and has been a fan of both WPLJ and WNEW-FM. He especially enjoys radio documentaries and song parodies. He maintains a YouTube channel with song parodies under the screenname RadioPackRat. He resides in Garfield, New Jersey.
Don discovered WNEW-FM in 1967 while playing with a small Emerson table radio. He marveled at the great underground music of that day. Don felt that the DJ's were most entertaining and enlightening in that they were proficient in the "little art form" (as Jonathan Schwartz called it) of segueing songs and spoken words together to enlighten and inspire young people like Don to eventually take that on as an avocation. To Don, Rosko was King and he listened intently to Richie Havens, the Chambers Brothers, Chad and Jeremy's Progress Suite, readings of Gibran, Yevtushenko and other things you didn't normally hear on the radio, all juxtaposed to illustrate that great art was possible on the FM dial. Between that and great experiences at the Fillmore East, Don's musical die was cast.
Dr. Zoet, who is the creator of this site and is sometimes known as Martin Brooks, grew up listening to New York City top-40 radio and then to the FM free-form and progressive rock stations from the first day they joined the airwaves.
He worked in college radio, then became a recording engineer and producer and has produced thousands of hours of syndicated radio shows. But he now wishes that he saved more of the air-checks that he recorded and then erased (because recording tape was expensive!)
If you have air-checks or other materials that you'd like to contribute, send an email to info AT nyradioarchive.com (replace the "space AT space" with an "@" sign.)
1950's Radio in Color: The Lost Photographs of Deejay Tommy Edwards
by Christopher Kennedy
(The Kent State University Press - ISBN: 978-1-60635-072-0)
In the media section of this site, we've put up a videography of movies about radio. We've always wanted to also publish a comprehensive bibliography of the best books about radio, but we haven't gotten around to it yet. But today, a book came in that's eventually going to be our first entry.
Christopher Kennedy is an accomplished musician and songwriter who has released five albums with the band Ruth Ruth. For years, he's been looking for a copy of the long-lost rock ‘n’ roll film The Pied Piper of Cleveland, which purports to contain the earliest known footage of Elvis Presley. He still hasn't found that film, but in the process of looking for it, he came across a treasure trove of photographs taken by Cleveland DJ Tommy Edwards, mostly at WERE-AM and some concerts between 1955 and 1960. In addition, author Kennedy separately found copies of Edwards' own “T.E. Newsletter”, a remarkably comprehensive review of the music industry in Cleveland as well as Edwards' personal weekly survey of important pop and country records.
The photographs in this book are remarkable because they show artists from all genres of music (and film) at their very raw, unvarnished and un-manipulated beginnings. And many of the Ektachrome photographs, in spite of some color deterioration, are amazingly beautiful in spite of the fact that they were photographed with a mere Kodak Brownie camera. Against a bright red stage, we see the deep blue pants of a 29-year-old Chuck Berry, playing then as now, with a pickup band. We have some great shots of Elvis from 1955. And we have Gene Vincent, a pimply Roy Orbison as well as Dion and Sam Cooke. But there's also pop stars like Billy Eckstine, Jerry Vale, Andy Williams, Patti Page and Johnny Mathis; movie stars like Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda; and country stars like Johnny Cash. But my favorite photo in the book is a photo of soul singer Malcom Dodds, sitting at an old heavy-duty broadcast turntable.
The book contains several essays and each artist's photo is accompanied by a short article by the author, with many containing quotes about the artist from the “T.E. Newsletter” as well as contemporary comments from those involved. There's a lot of research contained in this volume.
What's important about this book is how it demonstrates that radio and the radio DJ were once the core of the country's culture. The DJ was completely immersed in the music and the artists that they played. Artists sought out the publicity that only radio could provide. In the case of Tommy Edwards, his newsletter was as insightful as those published by any radio consultant in later decades. I think it's all too easy to forget just how important and powerful radio was and how much radio was responsible for the birth and development of rock ‘n’ roll. And yet, at least in Cleveland, rock ‘n’ roll lived comfortably along with country music, just as Ray Charles would later prove that soul and country could be one thing as well. I dare say that if a new genre of music evolved today, it would not survive because none of the media that exists today could act as its guardian the way that radio guided rock. Buy this book. It's one of the last memories of what made 1950's American radio great.
Here's a nice article about the great Carol Miller from Media Bistro
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New York: Rock My Radio by Gerry Dieffenbach
What a great track! Thanks to Rob Frankel for forwarding.
Link to song
Recently added NEW and REVISED CONTENT
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- Oct 8: WOR-FM: AIRCHECK: It's amazing what shows up after 49 years: we've found more of Rosko's show from his first day on WOR-FM, October 8, 1966.
- Oct 3: WABC-AM: AIRCHECK: Charlie Greer from October 3, 1965, a few days after Pope John return to the Vatican from New York City, almost 50 years to the day that Pope Francis did the same thing. Courtesy of the holy Rich Barbato.
- Sep 29: WOR-FM: AIRCHECK: Added hour 42 of the History of Rock & Roll.
- Sep 27: WOR-FM: AIRCHECK: On September 27, 1967, the Beatles were recording takes of "I Am The Walrus". We'll use that as an excuse to post this original raw production tape of Murray the K interviewing Beatles manager Brian Epstein, thanks to Matooli on You Tube, from March of 1967.
- Sept 18: WPLJ: AIRCHECK: From 40 years ago September 18th, John Zacherley, the "Cool Ghoul", doing his thing on 95.5 from the Barbato archive.
- Sep 10: WCBS-FM: AIRCHECK: Alan Freed began his show on 1010 WINS 58 years ago this week. We celebrate that with this aircheck from WCBS-FM's Radio Greats Weekend Alan Freed Tribute from June of 1989, thanks to Ken Tullipano.
- Sep 4: WNEW-FM: AIRCHECK: Backstage at a Bruce Springsteen concert, with Rich Neer and Pat Dawson live. They also play an interview with Bruce and the E-Street Band conducted by Vin Scelsa and recorded a few days earlier. Thanks to Dan McCue for referring us to this recording.
- Sep 4: WOR-FM: AIRCHECK: Added hour 41 of the History of Rock & Roll.
- Aug 28: WPLJ: AIRCHECK: From 40 years ago August 29th, Jim Kerr and Tom Morgan playing "New York's Best Music" on WPLJ, thanks to Rich Barbato.
- Aug 20: WOR-FM: AIRCHECK: Added hour 40 of the History of Rock & Roll.
- Aug 12: WNBC-AM: AIRCHECK: Bruce Morrow's last show on WNBC-AM from August 12, 1977, from the Barbato archive.
- Aug 9: WNEW-FM: AIRCHECK: A short aircheck of Pete Fornatale's 20th anniversary at WNEW-FM, hosted by Dennis Elsas and contributed by Don Balogh (Sorry that we missed the actual anniversary date).
- Aug 4: WNBC-AM: AIRCHECK: Murray the K on WNBC, with a guest appearance from Wolfman Jack from August 4-5, 1973, courtesy of Rich B.
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