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FRANK BENNY, WGR, SPRING 1974
Frank Benny had it all goin' on in Buffalo in the late 60s and early 70s. Morning drive on WGR. Sports then weather guy on WGR-TV. Host of a game show and the afternoon movie. Sleeping four hours a night. And gambling big time. In June 1971, because of stress and gambling debts, he robbed a bank. He got off on a defense of temporary insanity, did two weeks in a hospital mental clinic, and was back on WGR six months later. He stayed there until 1985, did mornings for a bit at WYRK, then moved to Florida, working there until his passing in 2005. He was very grateful for the forgiveness of Buffalonians, and exemplified the friendly, personality jock that used to be a staple of MOR, A/C, and Top 40 radio.
CAPTAIN WHAMMO WDHF Chicago 1975
I wondered why I'd never heard Jim Channell (aka Captain Whammo) in Chicago, but he was on WDHF FM, so a kid near Buffalo could only hear WCFL and WLS on AM. But what a high energy jock with overtones of Jackson Armstrong and Wolfman Jack for sure. Channell later became a Christian radio guy after he got all the screaming and rock and roll out of his system. And WHDF became WMET.
Airchecks of Chuck, including a reasonably
current Soul Jazz Spectrum from Jazz 90.1.
1974. Gerald Ford sworn in as president and audio footage of Nixon saying goodbye. By now, you can hear both what a great sounding station KFRC was, and how Dr. Don had evolved his shtick so beautifully. He was named Billboard DJ of the year twice; once at WFIL in Philadelphia, and then at KFRC. (Click blue button to listen.)
April 1976, 90 great minutes of ";aughin' and scratchin' with Dr. Donald D. Rose!" Howard Hughes has died, Reggie Jackson is holding out, and the 49'ers think getting Jim Plunkett has them championship bound. Full newscasts with Paul Frederick and the usual wonderful foolishness.
(Click green button to listen.)
Dr. Don's KFRC publicity shot, circa 1975.
2,500th show on KFRC in 1984. Dr. Don reflects on his arrival at the station, some of the medical travails he'd experienced through the years, and revisits some great bits. He also spends some time being serious (as serious as Dr. Don could be and tells a heartwarming story at about 29:15. (Click red button to listen.)
GARY OWENS, AFRTS, 1969
"If you'd like to hear a number, or even a song, write to me at...." The dulcet tones of Gary Owens of Laugh-In and LA's KMPC fame. Show recorded and then sent overseas for broadcast on Armed Forces stations. Lots of great bits and "sophisticated MOR" music. If the Odd Couple theme is played, it's played by Stan Kenton.
JACK MINDY OVER THE YEARS
Jack Mindy was an entertaining companion on the radio, covering a lot of America from WYSL to WJR to KNEW and beyond. Got to work with him at his last radio stop, Jazz 90.1 in Rochester. Jack's now retired and playing with his Saabs and trains in a suburb of Rochester. Here's a Mindy medley from 1970 to 1987, including: KXOX; KNEW; WHEN: WBEN and WJR (with an interview with Howie Mandel).
ROBY YONGE GETS FIRED AT WABC
It's 1969 and Roby Yonge is doing overnights at WABC. He knew his contract would not be renewed. On Oct. 21, he goes on the air with "Paul is dead" rumors. PD Rick Sklar hears of Yonge breaking format and pretty much doing a talk show on "Music Radio." He comes to the station with a security guard and fires Yonge mid-show.
The next DJ you hear is Les Marshak. You can hear it all (except the dismissal) chronologically in the aircheck by clicking the big blue button below.
HUDSON AND LANDRY, AJAX LIQUOR STORE
They met at KGBS in LA. Soon they began doing mornings together, and became comedy sensations, putting out albums, appearing on TV, and recording this classic bit.
RON BRITAIN WCFL 1967
If there was one DJ who inspired me to want to get into radio, it was Ron Britain at WCFL from '65 to '70. It was surreal and wonderful, a wall of sound effects and drops and Ron singing the weather, holding kazoo auditions, and being King B. He created his own psychedelic universe. This is how I heard him, with AM static, drift, and Mom running the blender to create electrical noise. There's over 30 mins below, including the great Grace Slick commercial for white Levis.
JEAN SHEPHERD TELLS THE TALE OF A CHRISTMAS STORY ON WOR
On Christmas Eve of 1974, Jean Shepherd reads from the story that would later become the movie, "A Christmas Story," live on his long-running WOR-AM radio show. The short story was then called (in Playboy), "Duel In The Snow, Or, Red Ryder Nails the Cleveland Street Kid" -- also a chapter from Shepherd's 1966 book, "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash."
The Dr. Don Rose Appreciation Block
I never heard Dr. Don live. He was in San Francisco and
I wasn't. And there wasn't any internet yet. But now, having
heard his approach, especially on KFRC, it's easy to see
why he was #1 in Atlanta and tore it up in San Fran.
When you listen to the KFRC airchecks, you'll hear how
he'd cram two or three gags into each break. How he
approached every joke as a gem with an enthusiastic
delivery. The great sound effects that helped sell even
the worst groaner of a one liner. It was a radio show with
true personality, and I keep finding myself smiling and
being captivated whenever I listen. He didn't have an easy road to delivering this joy: botched heart surgery, eleven operations on one knee, eventual amputation, and other bad stuff. You can hear him talk about this on the 1984 aircheck below; his 2,500th show on KFRC. So take a listen, I think you'll smile, too.
Dr. Don was the featured DJ for the
1967 version of the "Cruisin'" series.
This collects various breaks and bits
from WQXI, Atlanta.
BILL ARDIS WHAM 1965
Before Harry Abraham did the all night jazz show on WHAM, Rochester, a 50,000 watt clear channel station, Bill Ardis hosted Ardis Against The Night, playing jazz starting at midnight. He also did regular air shifts, and fill-ins. And that's what he's up to here. A great example of how radio used to be so friendly, personable, and companionable. It was a more conversational, less-hectic kind of MOR radio.
CASEY PIOTROWSKI WKBW 1972
Back when I was in college at Geneseo in the '70s, I worked on WGSU FM, the "continuum," a free-formish album-oriented station. Geneseo also had Top 40 AM WGBC, via carrier current. Casey Piotrowski worked at WGBC, and amazingly (to us college kids), got a summer gig at WKBW in Buffalo. He went on to WSAI in Cincinnati and fame hosting THE BEATLES SHOW, which he still does. From 1972, here's KB PD Jeff Kaye talking about Casey and an aircheck from overnights on "one of America's two great radio stations."
THE REAL DON STEELE, KHJ, 1969
Don Steele being very, very hip and groovy on KHJ in 1969. Amazing what you could say back in the day. Don does a live read commercial for a broadcasting school and then ad libs at the close, "And being a DJ is a great way to make more bread and get more chicks." These days? Not so much.