The NY Radio Archive

WABC 770


Just about anything you'd ever want to know about WABC Music Radio can be found on Allan Sniffen's Musicradio site (link below). But every once in a while, we might find something unique that we'd like to share and we'll post that here.

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wabc jocks


WABC 770


SURVEY: March 2, 1961

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of March 2, 1961. This is right around the time I started collecting singles, Blue Moon and Runaway being among the first singles I purchased. A big playlist and lots of different types of music although I can't say I loved hearing either "Calcutta" (Lawrence Welk) or the "Theme from Exodus" (Ferrante & Teicher) over and over again. But sprinkled among the lesser tracks are Ben E. King, the Shirelles, the Miracles, Etta James, Chuck Jackson, the Drifters, Gene McDaniels and Ray Charles. There was plenty to like. And then there was that Touchables novelty record by Dickie Goodman which I thought was very funny when I was ten years old.

While Scott Muni was already there, Dan Ingram and Bruce Morrow hadn't yet joined the station. And note that there was no advertising on the Survey as yet. It was still pure.

Survey Survey

SURVEY: WABC 77 Silver Dollar Survey

December 30, 1961

To this day, I don't know what silver dollars had to do with anything. Note that the WABC jocks were still the "WABC Good Guys", but Dan Ingram and Bruce Morrow were now part of the team and WABC was quickly becoming the classic WABC that we think of today.

Note that advertising had arrived to the Survey, although at least there was a tie-in to the music. And by today's standards, "Chubby" Checker wasn't all that fat.

AM/FM Split AM/FM Split

SURVEY: WABC 77 Silver Dollar Survey

December 22, 1962

The Beatles released "Love Me Do" in the UK about 10 weeks before and were already making UK girls scream, but in the U.S., "Pepino the Italian Mouse" was #4. It was inevitable that the Beatles would win the music revolution.

So let's look at what critics today would still consider to be great records: "Return to Sender", "Up on the Roof", "He's A Rebel", "Desafinado", "You Are My Sunshine", and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", but only three of those could be considered to be rock records. Just about everything else was pretty weak in retrospect, even the ones that scored big hits, like "Do You Love Me".

Note that the ZIP code hadn't arrived yet and phone numbers still had alphas ("LUdlow") and represented neighborhoods. Seven-Up was sold in glass bottles. Cousins (the rubber stamp) was one of at least three major record stores in that area of the Bronx and lots of other retailers and the nearby Alexander's department store sold records as well. Not having an Amazon was not a hardship - you could buy your favorite music everywhere and it was a lot of fun making those pilgrimages to one's favorite record store to buy what was new, to pick up a survey, to peruse Billboard or Cashbox or Record World and just hang out. That was socialization back then. Today we define socialization as sending 140 characters of text to people you might barely know.

AM/FM Split AM/FM Split

SURVEY: January 5, 1963

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

A survey from early January in 1963. Not much of a change from December, with "Pepino, the Italian Mouse" as the #1 song. We really needed the Beatles, but we'd have to wait until the end of the year.

Survey Survey

Dan Ingram's Sales Tips

Billboard: Feb 23, 1963

An interesting Billboard article about Dan Ingram and "live ad reading"

Ingram

AIRCHECK: Rare Scott Muni

circa 1963

As we know from the Rewound shows, airchecks of Scott Muni are extremely rare. This is just a few segments and very short, but it gives us an idea of what Scott sounded like in his WABC days.

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Link to aircheck

AIRCHECK: The Beatles on WABC

August 28, 1964 and August 13, 1965

While most top-40 radio stations in the U.S. ignored the Beatles when the first early singles were released starting in early 1963, everyone jumped on the Beatle bandwagon by the time the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in February of 1964. Nine singles had been released in the U.S. by the time the show aired:

My Bonnie b/w The Saints by Tony Sheridan and the Beatles (Decca 31382) on April 23, 1962.
Love Me Do b/w P.S. I Love You (Capitol of Canada 72076) on February 4, 1963.
Please Please Me b/w Ask Me Why (Vee Jay VJ498) on February 25, 1963.
From Me To You b/w Thank You Girl (Vee Jay VJ522) on May 27, 1963.
She Loves You b/w I'll Get You (Swan 4152) on September 16, 1963.
Roll Over Beethoven b/w Please Mr. Postman (Capitol of Canada 72113) on December 9, 1963.
I Want To Hold Your Hand b/w I Saw Her Standing There (Capitol 5112) scheduled for January 13, 1964, but moved to late December when the hype started.
My Bonnie b/w The Saints by Tony Sheridan and the Beatles (MGM K13213) on January 27, 1964.
Please Please Me b/w From Me To You (Vee Jay VJ581) on January 30, 1964.

While WMCA also got some Beatle exclusives and WINS' Murray the K actually roomed with the Beatles in Miami and proclaimed himself "the Fifth Beatle", one of the reasons WABC got so much attention from the Beatles is reportedly because they thought that the "American Broadcasting Company" was the U.S. equivalent of the BBC.

What's remarkable in these excerpts from when the Beatles returned in August of 1964 is how much WABC's Bruce Morrow and Scott Muni (with Dan Ingram back in the studio) were able to manipulate the crowd, largely comprised of 12- to 15-year-old girls. Those same teeny-boppers are now 62 to 65 years old (as of 2014). WABC broke format to cover the Beatles, something which most stations would never do today--they'd be too afraid of losing audience to those who might not like the concentration on one group and the lack of continuous music. And the type of interactivity - with the girls listening on transistor radios reacting to the DJ's requests for reaction is not all that many steps away from the instant reaction of tweeting and messaging today.

There were actually only a few thousand girls out there, which might not even garner news coverage today. But it was a big deal then. They were quite noisy and getting them to chant "WABC, WABC" was probably an incredible sales promotion for the station.

What's also unique here is one of the first uses of wireless microphones.

The second segment is actually coverage from WABC-TV. The third segment is from the August '65 visit. By this time Scott Muni had left WABC and Dan joined Brucie on the remote. The Beatles had become far more sophisticated by this time. Note when Bruce asks Ringo to read the inscription on a listener-designed medallion, Ringo thinks it's a promo for the station and won't mention the call-letters.

Recording notes: I personally recorded these on a Wollensak mono tape recorder tapping the loudspeaker of a table top radio with alligator clips. Unfortnately, I was about 30 miles out of NYC at the time, the radio wasn't that great and there is a fair amount of static and whine. The TV recording was accomplished with a cheap dynamic microphone.

mp377WABC August 28, 1964 mp3WABC TV-7 August 28, 1964 mp377WABC August 13, 1965

ARTICLE: WABC Gets Lion's Share of Audience - Here's Why

Billboard: December 12, 1964

A lengthy article detailing why WABC was so successful. Well maybe not the real reasons, but the reasons they liked to promote. One interesting note is that when the station ran a Beatles promotion asking listeners to submit an art design for a medal, they received over 50,000 entries. Wow.

The article includes photos of Herb Oscar Anderson, Dan Ingram, Scott Muni, Charlie Greer, Bruce Morrow and P.D. Rick Sklar.

WABC

NEWS: Scott Muni Leaves WABC

Billboard: February 6, 1965

Billboard reports on WABC deciding not to pick up Muni's option. Legend says this stemmed from a dispute Muni had with Rick Sklar over a Four Seasons recording.

Muni

PROMO: The WABC "Order of the All-Americans"

August 13, 1965

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

In the above 1965 aircheck, Cousin Brucie tries to get Ringo to read the inscription of a "medal" created by WABC for the Beatles. Ringo (in spite of supposedly being not the brightest Beatle) immediately understands this is a promo and refuses to say "WABC". Bruce frantically responds, "It's not a promo!" Cracks me up every time I hear it. In any case, thanks to contributor Kimball Brandner, here's a photo of the medal.

medal

AIRCHECK: WABC "What Goes On" Exclusive

December, 1965

The Beatles did much to revive the excitement of AM radio. What many American fans didn't know at that time was that Capitol Records completely reconfigured the official UK releases, to the consternation of producer George Martin and the Beatles.

This was done for several reasons: pop albums in the U.S. tended to have 12 tracks while UK albums had 14 tracks. Issuing albums with only 12 tracks reduced royalty costs and enabled a louder recording. In the UK, the Beatles had a policy of not including singles on albums and also not releasing singles from albums after they were released. In the U.S., it was common for albums to always include recent hit singles. In addition, because the first Beatles album was issued in the UK in 1962 and Capitol didn't release Meet the Beatles until January of 1964 and Capitol wanted to release the latest material (and the tracks from the first album had been leased to Vee Jay since Capitol had refused to release it), they were always behind on issuing tracks. And American "producer" Dave Dexter wanted to take credit for producing Beatle albums even though he had originally rejected releasing the Beatles in the U.S. His level of production amounting to adding unnecessary echo to the U.S. releases and making minor mix changes.

Rubber Soul, the sixth official album in the UK, was released on December 3rd, 1965 in the UK and on December 6th in the U.S.

rubber soul rubber soul

The US and UK versions of "Rubber Soul"

However, the UK version of Rubber Soul had a different track configuration and contained four songs that Capitol would hold for Yesterday & Today: "Drive My Car", "Nowhere Man", "What Goes On" and "If I Needed Someone". Yesterday & Today would not be released until June of 1966.

WABC got a copy of the UK release and started playing "What Goes On" as an exclusive. As you'll hear in the aircheck, they plastered Dan Ingram's voice all over it so that a competing radio station couldn't steal it. The mystery is why they chose the weakest of the four songs to play. Any of the other three unique songs from the UK release would have been a better choice.

When Capitol contacted the Beatles and asked for a cover photo for the Yesterday & Today album, the Beatles sent the now infamous "Butcher" cover as a statement about Capitol "butchering" their releases. However, in the U.S., it was merely interpreted as bad taste and the cover was quite controversial. Capitol had to pull it and replace the sleeve with a simple photo of the Beatles standing around a trunk. Versions of the album with the original cover are quite valuable. One original sealed copy recently sold for $15,000.

Yesterday and Today Yesterday and Today

The original Butcher cover and the re-release.

While the Beatles UK catalog represents the "canon", the American Capitol Beatles catalog was re-released on January 21, 2014. The boxed set contains both Yesterday & Today album covers and each disc contains both the mono and stereo mixes.


Meanwhile, here's how WABC presented their exclusive (sorry for the hum):

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What Goes On

SURVEY: December 31, 1966

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of December 31, 1966.

Survey

SURVEY: January 14, 1967

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of January 14, 1967.

Survey

SURVEY: February 11, 18, 1967

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the weeks of February 11th and 18th, 1967.

Survey Survey

SURVEY: April 8, 1967

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of April 8, 1967. We're beginning to see some tracks that would also be played on WOR-FM: Penny Lane, Happy Together, Dedicated to the One I Love, I've Been Lonely Too Long, Bernadette, Ruby Tuesday, Sweet Soul Music, I'm a Man, Strawberry Fields Forever, and (My) Back Pages

Survey

SURVEY: May 6, 1967

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of May 6, 1967.

Survey

SURVEY: June 24, 1967

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of June 24, 1967.

Survey

SURVEY: August 12, 1967

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of August 12, 1967.

Survey

ARTICLE: "The Situation is Intolerable" - Rick Sklar

Village Voice - Sept. 7, 1967

"Rock is UN-ruly and all censors are barbers."

A commentary on censorship in radio by Richard Goldstein.

Sklar-Goldstein

Chuck Leonard Profile

Billboard: Oct 28, 1967

A Billboard profile of the great Chuck Leonard

Leonard

SURVEY: November 18, 1967

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of November 18, 1967.

Survey

SURVEY: February 24, 1968

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of February 24, 1968.

Survey

SURVEY: March 2, 9, 16, 30, 1968

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the weeks of March, 1968. Very tight playlist...a few decent songs. No signs of progressive rock as yet.

Survey Survey Survey Survey

SURVEY: April 7, 14, 21, 1968

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the week of April 7, 14, 21, 1968. What's interesting here is that if you compare the April 7 survey to the survey from April, 1967, there are actually somewhat fewer FM songs in 1968. 12 out of the 21 songs listed were FM hits.

Survey Survey Survey

SURVEY: May 11, 1968

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of May 11, 1968.

Survey

SURVEYS: June 1, 15 1968

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the weeks of June, 1968.

Survey Survey

SURVEYS: July 20, 1968

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of July 20, 1968.

Survey

SURVEYS: August 17, 31, 1968

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the weeks of August 17 and 31st, 1968. The survey for 8/31 includs many tracks (with the exception of the Vogues) that a progressive rock station would be playing including some that would become part of the rock canon, such as tracks by the Rascals, the Doors, Cream, Donovan, etc. “Love Makes A Woman” was one of the great soul tracks of the era. The only problem was they didn't go very deep.

Survey Survey

SURVEYS: September, 1968

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the weeks of September 7th, 14th, 21st & 28, 1968.

Survey Survey Survey Survey

SURVEYS: October 5, 12, 19, 26, 1968

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the weeks of October 1968. What a mix of music! How do you transition from Harper Valley PTA to Fire or from Hush by Deep Purple to The Vogues? But it was diverse: a bit each of soul, pop, british rock, psychedelia, doo wop (almost) and rock.

Survey Survey Survey Survey

SURVEYS: November, 1968

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for all the weeks of November 1968. Once again, an interesting mix of music. There's only a few tracks that wouldn't fit on a progressive rock station, but the question remains: would the same listener who wanted to hear Little Green Apples and Chewy Chewy also want to hear Janis Joplin sing Piece of My Heart and Fire by Arthur Brown?

I was working in college radio at this point and we had the same battle. In fact, it was Chewey Chewey that started the argument. And the Ohio Express lost that argument.

Survey Survey Survey Survey Survey

SURVEYS: December, 1968

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for weeks of December 1968.

Survey Survey Survey Survey

SURVEY: January 18, 1969

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of January 18, 1969.
Some soul, some country, some pop, some rock. "Chewy, Chewy", "Cloud Nine" and "Going Up The Country" on the same playlist. Amazing.

Survey

MARKETING: circa 1969

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

An interesting marketing campaign to advertisers from around 1969. We're guessing at that date by the D.J.s in the campaign, by the hairstyles and by the graphic treatment. It could have been as early as September, 1968. (If anyone knows better, let us know. We originally thought this was 1971, but restorian Rob Frankel reminded us that Roby Yonge was let go in October '69 over the "Paul Is Dead" controversy.)

A few comments: Ron Lundy is promoted as appealing to the "modern woman", but they show a vintage drawing of a woman from the 1800s or even earlier. A quote from an AAAA executive claims Bruce Morrow is "...thought provoking." Bruce may have a lot of great qualities, but thought provoking is not quite one of them. And why exactly is he growing out of a plant?

Anyways, at a time of radical changes in society and on the radio, this was a campaign definitely designed to give traditional advertisers comfort while also providing a tiny bit of psychedelic appeal by virtue of the color solarized photo treatment.

Promo Promo Promo Promo
Promo Promo Promo Promo
Promo Promo Promo Promo

SURVEY: April 6, 1970

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of April 6, 1970. Nothing very wrong with the songs they were playing, but at a time when there was so much great music and so many great album tracks, there just wasn't enough. And if you look at the Bonus tracks, it's evident that when WABC didn't have singles sales charts to rely upon, it wasn't very good at picking the right tracks to play.

Survey

SURVEY: February, 1971

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the weeks of February 1, 8, 15, 1971.

Feb 1: Dawn, Perry Como, George Harrison, Santana, The Partridge Family, Stephen Stills, James Brown and Barbara Streisand on the same playlist. Even a public radio station wouldn't be that daring today. Back then it seemed lame.

Feb 15: Did they have some kid composing the survey? There are typos everywhere: That group the BeGees, Creedance Clearwater and I didn't know that Sly Stone was on Solumbia Records. Don't know if they were really playing all those albums, but Abraxas, Sly, Elton John, Joplin, Creedence, Chicago, George Harrison and Grank Funk Railroad would all be played on FM as well.

Survey Survey Survey

SURVEY: March, 1971

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for weeks of March 1, 8, 1971.

Perry Como. Wow. I wonder how that sounded coming out of Grank Funk Live (or vice-versa).

Survey Survey

SURVEY: July 12, 19, 1971

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the weeks of July 12, 19, 1971.

Survey Survey

SURVEY: January 15, 22, 1973

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the weeks of January 15th and 22nd 1973. Note that aside from the small number of tracks and LPs listed, almost all of the acts would also be played on progressive rock stations. We don't normally think of WABC as the place to hear Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Loggins & Messina, Moody Blues and Carly Simon. Sounds like an adult rock FM station. But if the playlist was a tight as the survey, it could have been excruciating to listen to. And do you really want "WABC Chime Time" after playing Jethro Tull?

Survey Survey

SURVEY: June 18 and 25, 1973

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the week of June 18 and 23, 1973. Again, one can make the case that while the playlist is small, there is as much diversity as any FM station with acts as different as Edgar Winter, Clint Holmes, Barry White, Dr. John, Manu Dibango, Paul McCartney and even Perry Como. (Maybe that was the problem.)

Notice also that we seem to have caught the survey at a survey format change.

Survey Survey

MARKETING: "One of WABC's Many Faces" campaign, circa 1973

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

Here's another of the WABC advertiser marketing campaigns. We're not actually sure when this one is from either - it has to be somewhere between November '69 when Roby Yonge was replaced and August 74 when Bruce left, but we're guessing 1973.

Note how the copy pushes WABC as a national station.

Promo Promo Promo

Promo Promo Promo

SURVEYS: July 2, 9, 16 and 23, 1973

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the weeks of July, 1973. A little position movement, but not much new since June. Were they moving too slowly on new tracks?

Survey Survey Survey Survey

SURVEY: September 24, 1973

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of September 24, 1973.

Survey

PHOTO: August, 1973

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

"Cousin Brucie is going to be buried by Wolfman Jack"

In August of 1973, Wolfman Jack was hired by WNBC to compete with Cousin' Brucie at WABC. In one of the great marketing pranks of all time, WNBC planted a "tombstone" outside of the WABC office building on 6th Avenue. They also issued thousands of miniature tombstone paperweights that declared "Cousin Brucie is going to be buried by Wolfman Jack." However, the Wolfman didn't beat Morrow and he left WNBC after a year where he was replaced by....Bruce Morrow. Bruce left WABC on August 7, 1974

Tombstone

SURVEY: April 8, 1974

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of April 8, 1974. By this time, WABC seems to have pulled away from most of the acts that could also be heard on FM. While we've got some big singles from Elton John, Paul McCartney, Ringo, Billy Joel, Grank Funk and Stevie Wonder, it's balanced by a lot of far weaker tracks that we don't think much of today.

And the graphic design of the survey itself also looks pretty insubstantial. Compare to the surveys from the 1960s. Almost as if the design of the survey also represented the importance of WABC.

And isn't a marketing claim like "...where the music sounds best!" kind of worthless in an age when FM was taking over and the market for high-fidelity systems was enormous? Wouldn't a promo like, "...just the music and jocks you love" have been a better approach?

Survey

SURVEY: May 6, 1974

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of May 6, 1974.

Survey

SURVEY: February 24, 1975

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of February 24, 1975.

Survey

SURVEY: August 11, 1975

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The survey for the week of August 11, 1975. Janis Ian's "At Seventeen" is the surprise track here.

Survey

SURVEY: September 1,29, 1975

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the week of September 1st and 29th 1975. The 9/1 survey features the same tracks from three weeks before. That had to have been pretty boring, especially considering the short playlist.

Notice the new imaging on the September 29th survey.

Survey Survey

PHOTO: Cousin Brucie

Contributed by Allen B. Shaw

Here's a nice photo of one very good-looking Cuz from ABC-FM programming executive Allan B. Shaw. Bruce was 43 when this was taken. Question: Why did Bruce wear his toupée in the radio studio?

Bruce

PHOTO: Dan Ingram & Ron Lundy circa 1979

Contributed by Allen B. Shaw

Ron's shirt hurts my eyes. That's a lotta' carts.

Dan, Ron

SURVEY: March 9, 16, 1981

Contributed by Kimball Brandner

The surveys for the weeks of March 9, 16, 1981.
Note the longevity of many titles on the survey: 15 weeks for Blondie, 16 weeks for "Celebration", 23 weeks for "Lady" by Kenny Rogers. Didn't this get boring? The title with the least longevity ("Don't Stop the Music") had been playing for a month!

Survey Survey



WABC 770 Schedules


WABC Schedule

1960-1982

These schedules are sourced from newspapers, Radio Guide, Richard Neer's book on FM radio, personal recollections of myself and DJs and various postings on the web, especially those of Vince Santarelli. Corrections welcomed. In some cases, the same dates are posted twice due to conflicting information from different sources. This one most obviously shows the amazing personalities who appeared on WABC, the leaders in their field.

Schedule1



More of WABC 770 can be found on Allan Sniffen's Musicradio pages: