Question for people who know about American (pop) radio back in the 60s and 70s
Was there a part of the country where the radio was considered to be especially good?
I seem to remember that, surprisingly, radio in NYC was not considered to be especially good.
From my own experience as a visitor in those days (70s)... south Florida was excellent, so was Houston.
I've been discovering old radio recordings on youtube and they're fun to listen to...it's like time tripping!
Not US, but American (across the Canadian border from Detroit)- perhaps the best station of that era: CKLW.
If it was Motown, you heard it there first. I used to listen to the transistor radio in bed in NE PA late at night and hear famous pop songs for the first time, from the likes of the Supremes, the Temps, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye. Brilliant!
WOWO in Fort Wayne had some kind of massive transmitter and decent music, and WPHL from Philly was the choice to listen to in the car on the way to and at the annual vacation at the Jersey shore. Ah, the Philly Sound.
1979-1981, nothing beat WPIX in NY for the real new wave stuff like the early B-52s, and obscure bands like Y Pants and Delta 5.
There are benefits to being an eldergay!
Yes for CKLW! And WOWO!
There was a very good Chicago station, I want to say WLS?
As far as NYC goes, WABC did a decent representation of Top 40, and Top 40 in those days was very diverse.
And I could only receive any of them late at night.
Love ya, OP!
Here's some Journey, The Cars, and RICK SPRINGFIELD!!
For 70's rock THE station was WMMS in Cleveland. "The Home of the Buzzards." Their rock DJ's were the best. Every Friday was the Get down for the Weekend DJ who always sounded stoned.
I remember waking up one morning and the local station - WIFI 92 had changed to all new-wave, and had renamed itself, "I-92" - it was like a dream come true. Sadly, it didn't last.
This was in an era where they actually played entire albums, IE: "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" - first place I heard Gary Numan's, "The Pleasure Principle", among others.
Those were the days - actual original music!
The best radio station ever was KFAT in Gilroy, CA.
RIP KFAT (1975-1983)
I loved WPIX in New York in the late 70s when they briefly went to an all New Wave format. Patti Smith, Genya Raven, XTC, Elvis Costello, Squeeze, Richard Hell... they even had a Live at CBGB's concert show. Before that I listened to WFUV, Fordham University's college station, WBAI the Pacifica station and WPLJ, the major classic rock station that would occasionally play new music. After WPIX changed to mainstream rock I switched to WLIR (alternative rock, British Pop of the 0s) and never looked back. WABC was for Dick Clark and Casey Kasem's American Top 40, and of course WKTU Disco 92!
Out on the prairie it was KOMO in Oklahoma City.
[quote]1979-1981, nothing beat WPIX in NY for the real new wave stuff like the early B-52s, and obscure bands like Y Pants and Delta 5.
KROQ in L.A. did the same thing. It was like this wild incredible secret for about three years -- they'd play punk and New Wave from London and New York, and a lot of bands that were just local upstarts, many of which never went anywhere. (Of course, a lot of them did: the Go-Go's, the Bangles, X, Los Lobos...)
At that time, rock stations were all playing Supertramp, REO Speedwagon, the Steve Miller Band... hearing the B-52s or Lene Lovich was like a dispatch from another planet.
Interesting collection of radio show recordings from the '60s on this Facebook page.
We got some music later in NY than in the rest of the country. You had to show that your act could make it in other parts of the US before NY radio stations would play your stuff.
I used to listen to Chicago and Detroit late at night, also with my transistor radio under the pillow, and heard music at least a month before it debuted in NY.
I remember hearing weather reports that included Medicine Ha in Alberta. I think it was a station that used to eclipse the Detroit station, sort of fading in and out. I couldn't believe the temperatures! There were also "farm reports."
KMOX Radio in St. Louis was the gold standard for a long time and had a very strong signal that reached well beyond the midwest.
As the other posters mentioned, WPIX in NY, during the Punk/New Wave era was excellent. I'd won so many LPs from them, as well as tickets, T-shirts and even won tickets and backstage passes for a B-52s/Eurythmics gig at Forest Hills tennis stadium. I got to meet Fred Schneider and Ricky Wilson.
WLIR was excellent too, IIRC, they later changed their call letters to WDRE. I still have their buttons with the call letters.
I also listened to WNYU, New York University's radio station. They played pretty obscure stuff.
IIRC, WNEW-FM was still broadcasting Led Zeppelin etc at the time of punk/New Wave, but then started adding Elvis Costello, The Police, The Clash, Lena Lovich etc.
When I was a kid, my parents listened to the WMCA Good Guys, WOR-FM, whose disc jockeys...Scott Muni and Rosko....later went on to WNEW-FM.
Allison Steele, The Nighbird, was one of my fave DJ's, she was on WNEW-FM for years. Rosko was also very cool, he then left for Holland and IIRC came back and re-joined the WNEW-FM team..
Jonathan Schwartz was on WNEW-FM for many years until he left for WNEW-AM, where he could indulge in his Sinatra obsession! Schwartz would always manage to slip in some Sinatra while at WNEW-FM, but I doubt the rock fans, with limited musical taste, appreciated Sinatra!
Grew up in Cleveland, and went to school in Chicago. Still have the stations memorized for the drive: WMMS in Cleveland (although back in the AM days it was WGAR), CKLW Windsor, WJR Detroit, or WIOT FM in Toledo, WOWO Fort Wayne, might pick up a small college station between Elkhart and South Bend (Zip 104 came later), then WLS Chicago.
In the early 1960's Philadelphia pop radio ruled the country. Period.
Some info on Philly radio and it's influence around the country:
For me the greatest pleasure of listening to the old radio show recordings is hearing songs I've never heard before.
This is a typical romantic radio song from 1977-8. I was astounded to hear that it was sung by Alice Cooper. I had no idea he sang songs like this.
Oh Gawd it was awful. Just fucking awful. I lived in London and New York at that time, then spent some time in the South. London had the only decent radio. Everything else was top 40 or plastic country (AM) or mindless prog rock (FM).
Back when FM radio was alternative and subversive, WABC-FM in NY was rechristened after Frank Zappa's WPLJ -- white port and lemon juice.
I never knew CKLW was Canadian. I could only get it at night (on meteorologically clear nights) and it always seemed to have Motor City jingles, so I thought it was in Detroit. I guess the "C" in CKLW should have given me a clue, but I was only 11 or 12 years old.
Anybody remember KXOK in St. Louis with DJ Johnny Rabbit and his "sidekick" Bruno J. Grunion?
Or, Jerry Blavat, the geator with the heater, the boss with the hot sauce, in Philly?
Did anyone else listen to Alex Bennett on WPLJ? He was such a radical. His show came on at midnight and guests were people like John and Yoko, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin. He was always saying that he had just arrived at the studio from the back room at Max's Kansas City where he talked to Andy (Warhol), Lou (Reed), Bowie, Alice Cooper, etc. He also used to have Professor Irwin Corey on a lot.
His wife was part of the show and they got divorced. It was like a soap opera, with him talking about his private life. He got a gf named Naomi after his divorce and he talked about her constantly. I remember when she had rheumatic fever and he was calling her at home and cooing at her. It got pretty weird.
And then he was gone.
I have to put in a word for KYYX from Seattle. Awesome new wave music that was, sadly, hard to receive in British Columbian. For example, could get it in Victoria on a good day and never at all in Vancouver. I loved that station. Shit, I'm old too. That must have been 1981.
[quote]I never knew CKLW was Canadian. I could only get it at night (on meteorologically clear nights) and it always seemed to have Motor City jingles, so I thought it was in Detroit.
It was from Windsor, Ontario, right across the river from Detroit.
r23, Jer-aphonic Jerry! He's still DJ'ing dances and hosting a radio show!
R22, it didn't occur to me either until recently, so you're not alone.
[quote]There was a very good Chicago station, I want to say WLS?
yep, on the AM dial, WLS and it's competitor SuperCFL. Larry Lujack had stints as a dj at both. He's a legend. Ow-woow Animal Stories.
KROQ started as progressive rock (Mott the Hoople, etc) in the early 70s until the DJs went on strike and it went off the air. It came back as new wave in maybe 76 or 77, but in the meantime, there was a Long Beach station that played Progressive.
We used to climb the hills near downtown LA in order to pick it up on transistor radios.