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.
Bob Elliot dies at 92
While not a music or progressive rock jock, we felt we had to pay tribute to the great Bob Elliot, who died Tuesday (Feb 2nd) and was half of the great team of Bob & Ray. The team of Bob & Ray appeared on radio for more than 40 years, from 1946 to 1987, and their understated subtle humor (which I'm convinced half of the audience didn't even get) is one of the things that made radio great.
We don't hear much humor like theirs today - their brand of humor was very quiet and subtle and today we have hysterics and vulgarity. Bob & Ray first appeared on Boston's WHDH and after five years moved to NBC radio. During the 1950's they were featured on NBC's "Monitor" and also appeared on the TV shows of David Letterman, Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, Johnny Carson and others. Bob's son Chris also became a regular on the original Letterman show and Chris' daughter did a stint on "Saturday Night Live".
Bob & Ray were inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1985.
They also appeared on progressive rock radio. While it didn't really work all that well, here's "Bob & Ray's Music Factory" which appeared on WNEW-FM in 1968: Bob & Ray.
52 Years Ago: February 7, 1964 begins Beatlemania
This photo was taken by my father 52 years ago this month. This is not when the Beatles first landed from England, but rather when they returned to NYC from Washington some days later. As a teen, I was upset with him for not getting all four Beatles facing the camera, but he claimed that his life was in serious peril from the teen girls who were waiting at the airport for the Beatles. However, facing the camera or not, this photograph had high value in terms of my relationship with the young girls in my junior high school class who didn't pay too much attention to me before I proudly showed up with this print. Unfortunately, the original negative has been lost. This image has been restored from a time-worn print. (Click for a larger version.)
Dennis Elsas recorded a special about the Beatles for WFUV on their 50th anniversary of arriving in America. Unfortunately, the complete show is no longer available in the WFUV archive, but you can listen to a preview of it here: "It Was 50 Years Ago Today" link.
Pete Fornatale Tribute
Here's a great video tribute to Pete Fornatale that was produced shortly after his untimely death, directed by Michael Foley and filmed and edited by Anthony Sylvester.
And while we're remembering Pete, this past November (2015) represented the 51st Anniversary of the premiere of his "Campus Caravan" pop music show on WFUV, the first episode of which was broadcast on November 21, 1964. We didn't discover Pete until January of 1966.
ICP Exhibition: The Early Years of Rhythm and Blues:
Photographs by Benny Joseph
The International Center for Photography is hosting an exhibition of great photography by Benny Joseph at the Mana Gallery - 888 Newark Avenue in Jersey City from now through January 10, 2016. The gallery is open Monday - Friday from 10-5.
It features portraits of such celebrated performers as B.B. King, Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins, and Junior Parker, as well as non-R&B singers Mahalia Jackson and Della Reese. Photographer Benny Joseph worked at KCOH radio in Houston.
Link: Exhibition Info at the ICP site.
Commentary by David DiSanzo
Our good friend, contributor to this site and music industry expert David DiSanzo sent us the following today, and I thought it was interesting enough to post here:
So I'm driving a beat up old car back and forth to Secaucus. CD player not working correctly. Cassette deck broke. FM antenna only goes up a third of the way.
Radio...especially as you move towards NYC, is frightfully bad. The worst of it, I feel, is the classic rock station. Every morning they play either "Who Are You" or "Baba O'Reiley" or "Love Reign O'er Me". I don't know why but they do. There's an oldies station that just plays Janet Jackson songs from the 80s and Manfred Mann's Earth Band's version (the single edit w/out the guitar solo) of "Blinded by the Light" EVERY DAY....in the morning and then again in the evening. This leads me to believe that people are actually robots and not human at all.
Then I "switched it over to AM" as Jay Farrar sings in the 1st track of the 1st Son Volt record ("Windfall")..."searching for a truer sound". I started thinking that...with the return of vinyl, and now tape, that we should take back AM radio.
First of all, it shouldn't sound the way it does. We have the ability to make AM sound fantastic but no one is interested so it sounds terrible...unlistenable, really. But it USED to sound much better (I have the tech to back that up and audio samples provided by a friend of mine) and could sound even better than it did then...
Secondly, it would be cheap, I would imagine, to start an AM station. Imagine a station that played great music w/out ever touching Hotel California (if I HEAR THAT SONG ONE MORE EFFING TIME I AM GOING TO GO NUTS). We'd get all the hipsters buying AM radios to go w/their Crosley turntables..
So I switched it...I only know the two news channels and the sports channel...so I started scanning and landed on this Morristown, NJ oldies station. They were playing The Beach Boys and then went into The Monkees' "Vallerie". Then Bread and Barbara Lewis. They could do no wrong. I didn't care about the bad sound - I had good music for a change. I was happy.
You know, the NYC oldies station read something in the news about Buddy Holly on his birthday recently...he was in the news for some reason...and the DJ said he couldn't actually play a Buddy Holly song (this on an "oldies station...WCBS - the station that built their business on 50's rock)...and that he'd get fired "again" if he did..but there was a song he wrote that Linda Ronstadt covered that was a big hit in the 70's that he could play.
Let's start an AM station! Let's quit our jobs and we can all be DJ's...not on-air personalities...just DJ's.
Two Barbara Lewis tracks in one morning!
Link: WMTR-AM Classic Oldies.
"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.
Here's a nice article about the great Carol Miller from Media Bistro
Where did the books go?
We've moved them to the Media page
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.)
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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
(other than this page):
(Refresh the page if you don't see anything new)
- Feb 7: HISTORY: ARTICLE: The Beatles invade America via a NY Times Article from the next day.
- Feb 6: SYNDICATED: AIRCHECK: Alison Steele, under the guise of "The Tea House" spends a few minutes with Lou Reed, thanks to Dan McCue.
- Feb 5: WOR-FM: AIRCHECK: We've added hour 48 of "The History of Rock and Roll", featuring more groups of the 1960s.
- Feb 2: WABC-AM: PHOTO: Added Charlie Greer and Chuck Leonard to the first image on the page
- Jan 28: WOR-FM: AIRCHECK: We've added hour 47 of "The History of Rock and Roll", featuring groups of the 1960s.
- Jan 27: WOR-FM: AIRCHECK: We've added hour 46 of "The History of Rock and Roll", featuring the Rolling Stones.
- Jan 12: WNEW-FM: ARTICLE: The New York Times does a feature on Alison Steele from December 9, 1971.
- Jan 12: WMCA(AM): SURVEY: The survey beginning the week of January 12, 1961
- Jan 11: WOR-FM: AIRCHECK: We've added hour 45 of "The History of Rock and Roll", featuring the Beatles.
- Jan 6: WOR-FM: AIRCHECK: We've added hour 44 of "The History of Rock and Roll".
- Jan 4: WOR-FM: AIRCHECK: We've added hour 43 of "The History of Rock and Roll".
- Nov 19: WPIX-FM: AIRCHECK: A tiny bit of Jim Quinn from Top-40 WPIX-FM on November 22, 1973. Contributed by Rich Barbato.
- Nov 6: WXRK(FM): AIRCHECK: November 2nd represented the 95th anniversary of the first regular radio broadcast on Pittsburg's KDKA. Twenty years ago, on Sunday, November 5th 1995, Pete Fornatale celebrated the 75th anniversary with this show dedicated to radio. The show includes the complete version of "Ballad of the Sandman" by Mike Agranoff, an ode to every great free-form progressive DJ there ever was. Thanks to Don Balogh for the contribution.
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