It was a magical time in New York radio. Musicradio 77 WABC was the center of the universe for any Top 40 fan. But 77 was also the hottest spot on the dial for the country’s most acclaimed jocks.
Chris Ingram has placed us in the middle of that frenetic era. His new book, Hey Kemosabe! The Days (and Nights) of a Radio Idyll (Dog Ear Publishing) gives readers an equally fast-paced look at some key moments. (And I’m not just saying that because of my gig as 77 WABC street reporter!)
Yes, Ingram has some familiarity on the subject. His dad (who recently turned 80) is Dan Ingram. He is so revered for his radio work, specifically the more than two decades as afternoon DJ at WABC. Ingram is usually on the short list of greatest Top 40 jocks of all-time, and regarded by many as the best.
The junior Ingram does point out in the foreword that the book is “not a biography, nor is it a history book.”
But if you were expecting “the names have been changed to protect the innocent,” think again. They’re all here: Ingram, Cousin Brucie, Ron Lundy, Chuck Leonard, and Rick Sklar.
If the familiar is boring, then WLTW/LITE-FM is the most boring station. Of course, WLTW is also the most popular, winning the overall (6+) Arbitron ratings for July. WLTW did see a slight drop from June (6.8 to 6.6), but its nearest competitor WCBS-FM also made an about-face. The classic hits station took a .4 nosedive for the month, after closing within a tenth of a point behind the Clear Channel juggernaut.
WBLS held third place with a 6.0 (down .2 from June).
No change for Z100/WHTZ. Fresh off celebrating its 30th anniversary last Friday, it maintained a 5.5.
The talk radio landscape is about to be rocked by a potentially seismic shift. Politico reports, what many radio insiders expected to be an automatic, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (right) will take their conservative shows from Cumulus’ WABC to WOR.
Since Clear Channel announced plans to purchase the family-owned Buckley Broadcasting last summer, it was only a matter of time before the highly rated hosts would move to Clear Channel stations, considering the syndicator involved.
Hannity, who does 3-6 p.m., and Limbaugh, who has a noon-3 p.m. show, are distributed by Premiere Networks, a Clear Channel property.
Reportedly, the radio heavyweights contracts with Premiere expire at the end of the year.
The report says WABC is likely to stay in-house to fill at least one of the slots, between Mike Huckabee, and evening hosts Mark Levin and Michael Savage.
Authors Alec Cumming and Peter Kanze have unearthed many rare photos of the Radio New York style. The new book, Images of America: New York City Radio by Arcadia Publishing, takes readers from a 1909 wireless telephone display to present day WAXQ/Q 104.3 with a shot of longstanding personalities, Jim Kerr, Carol Miller, and Shelli Sonstein.
In between, there are dozens of images from the last century, when radio was king.
While the paperback is only 126 pages and there is no actual text, just an extended caption for each picture.
Many on-air folks and stations are represented, some more than once, but others are oddly missed. For example, there are no photos of WFAN, New York and the country’s first all-sports station, which celebrated 25 years on the air in 2012. But the title doesn’t include the words “comprehensive history.”
However, the book does have some vintage pictures, including a look at the beginnings of WOR in the early 1920s when it started as a radio station for Bamberger’s department store.