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.
April 7, 2015: Stan Freberg dies at 88
The great Stan Freberg, who's generally given credit for creating the funny commercial and who was a great satirist as well as a voice actor in his own right, died today at 88.
Freberg started his career as a voice actor in 1944 for Warner Brothers cartoons, where he was frequently paired with Mel Blanc (but only Blanc got on-screen credit.) He also did work for Disney. In 1951, he appeared on-screen in the comedy "Callaway Went Thataway" and he also appeared in 1963's "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."
He started creating satirical recordings in 1951, beginning with "John and Marsha", which contained only those two names repeated over and over with different emotions, a routine not dissimilar to a later one created by Nichols & May. He also produced a Dragnet parody with cartoon voice actors Daws Bulter and June Foray. Other recordings satirized Elvis Presley, the Platters and Harry Belafonte.
Freberg's 1954 radio show, "That's Rich", satirized the Cold War and McCarthyism and his 1957 "Stan Freberg Show" was a replacement for Jack Benny's radio show. Freberg refused to permit cigarette advertising on his show long before the Surgeon General's report.
Freberg was instrumental (along with Bob & Ray) in adding humor and satire to advertising and he produced commercials for Great American Soups, Sunsweet, Jeno's Pizza, Butternut Coffee and many other advertisers.
Freberg also made many TV appearances on such shows as "The Ed Sullivan Show", "The Girl From Uncle", "The Monkees", "Roseanne" and the short-lived "Weird Al Show".
Freberg was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. One of his most famous radio creations was a spot intended to encourage advertisers to buy radio time. It demonstrated how radio could make one believe that you could create an ice-cream sundae the size of a mountain. That spot still sounds brilliant today and is included in the below YouTube video.
The jingle in the above spots features Sarah Vaughn on vocals and a Quincy Jones arrangement.
March 28, 2015: Vin Scelsa announces his retirement
Vin Scelsa first appeared on the radio in 1967 at the Upsala College radio station, WFMU. Over the last 48 years(!), he has also appeared on WBAI, WABC-FM, WNEW-FM, WXRK and WFUV as well as Sirius and Sirius/XM satellite radio. Vin is probably the only DJ in New York commercial radio to have maintained his independence and freedom over his entire career.
Many artists owe at least part of their success to Vin's willingness to bring unique and independent sounds to the attention of his listeners.
Vin appeared on WABC-FM in 1971, initally holding down the 5:15-7:15pm shift. By September of 1974, he was doing weekends on WNEW-FM. In 1988 and 1989, he shifted to WXRK, but returned to WNEW-FM after where he continued his weekend show until WNEW-FM changed to a Hot Talk format in the fall of 1999. His last edition of "Idiot's Delight" will be broadcast on 90.7 WFUV on Saturday, May 2nd.
March 29, 2015: Pat St. John to leave WCBS-FM
Pat St. John, who's been on New York radio since the 1970s, has announced that he's leaving CBS-FM, where he's been holding down the Sunday 11-3pm airshift, in order to spend more time with his west-coast based family.
Originally from Detroit, Pat joined WPLJ in 1973, held a regular shift from 1974 and stayed until about 1987. From 1988 to 1993, he did 10am-2pm at WNEW-FM after Dave Herman moved to drive-time and he held other shifts on the station through 1998. He also spent time as Program Director. He has also frequently appeared on CBS-FM from at least 2003 and is heard on several different shows on Sirius/XM. His Sirius/XM shows will continue.
Pat is still a big fan of rock and roll and has terrific insights into the artists and music. He's known for being informative on the air and for playing that rare but great track that you didn't know existed.
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.
Paul Leslie Interviews
Since Les Paul is the patriarch of everything, when a guy named Paul Leslie contacts us, we perk up. Mr. Leslie has a very interesting website filled with interviews of people involved in music, media and radio.
Of particular interest to us are the interviews with WBAI's Bob Fass and with Joe Franklin, who has been active in radio since 1951:
Bob Fass Interview
Joe Franklin Interview
The Bob Fass interview is particularly interesting and delves extensively with Fass' upbringing in New York City, his experiences at WBAI, the music that he loved to listen to and some tidbits about Bob Dylan.
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.
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.
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)
In 2012, The New York Times caught up with the great John Zacherley - still doing his thing at an amazing 94 years of age.
"Once a Ghoul, Always A Ghoul"
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.
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:
- April 10: WPLJ: AIRCHECK: On April 10, 1970, Paul McCartney announced to the other Beatles that we was leaving the group. By the end of the year, he would sue for the corporate dissolution of the Beatles. To memorialize that event, we bring you WABC-FM's Fall 1969 "Paul Is Dead" show with Bob Lewis as rebroadcast on July 4, 1978. It also includes a new segment with Pat St. John detailing more clues about Paul's supposed death. Thanks to new contributor Joseph S. Pilliteri for the aircheck.
- Apr 8: WNEW-FM: PROMOTION: Added photos from the 1977 WNEW-FM calendar, thanks to Ken Tullipano.
- Apr 4: WNEW-FM: PROMOTION: Lots of ads and promotional material added to both WNEW-FM pages from the Tullipano archive. Start at the link and scroll through.
- Apr 4: WNEW-FM: AIRCHECK: Vin Scelsa's 3rd Annual Easter Sunday show with Steve Goodman and David Amaram, performing live in the studio, thanks to Ken Tullipano.
- Apr 4: WCBS-FM: AIRCHECK: Pat St.John announces his retirement from WCBS-FM.
- Mar 25: WNEW-FM: AIRCHECK: WNEW-FM's "FM Magazine" featuring G. Gordon Liddy, Timothy Leary and Nick Lowe, circa 1982-83, from the Ken Tullipano archive.
- Mar 20: WMCA: AIRCHECK: A half-century(!) old aircheck of WMCA's B. Mitchel Reed doing his last show on the station before returning to Los Angeles, thanks to Rich Barbato.
- Mar 3: WTJM: AIRCHECK: A March 5, 2000 aircheck of Felix Hernandez' Rhythm Review on Jammin Oldies 105, courtesy of Rich Barbato.
- Mar 3: WABC: PROMOTION: A Jack Davis (of MAD Magazine) portrait of Rob Lundy, contributed by Myles Putman.
- Feb 17: NYRadio: AIRCHECK: A sweep of contemporary and oldies stations on the radio dial from the 1970s, from Rich Barbato.
- Jan 23: WQCD: AIRCHECK: Smooth Jazz CD109 with Jim Kerr and Pat Prescott from January 27, 1997, thanks to Rich Barbato.
- Jan 14: WKTU: AIRCHECK: Another aircheck from exactly 30 years ago: Dan Ingram's first day on WKTU from our new contributor, Rich Barbato.
- Jan 12: WNEW-FM: AIRCHECK: Also from 30 years ago, a bit of Dennis Elsas' show from January 6, 1985.
- Jan 12: WNEW-FM: AIRCHECK: From 30 years ago January 6th, the second two parts of the second week of Pete Fornatale's Mixed Bag Classics, from the Ken Tullipano archive.
- Jan 8: WNEW-FM: AIRCHECK: From 30 years ago this week, the first two parts of the second week of Pete Fornatale's Mixed Bag Classics, from the Ken Tullipano archive.
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