WOR-FM Airchecks

WOR-FM's time as an adult rock radio station was only about 14 months.
It's considered historical because it was the first station in the country to present rock music outside of the then common Top 40 approach.
The music was less restricted and the DJ's were less frenetic.
Here are a few airchecks of that early time for WOR-FM and what would later be called "Progress Rock Radio".


WOR-FM's First Day
July 30, 1966
(courtesy Peter Kanze)

Part 1

Part 2

These are poor to fair quality airchecks of WOR-FM's first day.
It's amazing we have anything at all...

The station began under a cloud of controversy.
Management was unable to come to an agreement with AFTRA (the union that represents on air talent).
As a result, the DJ's did not start until the following October.
The engineers ran the station by playing the music, commercials and jingles.



WOR-FM's Second Day
July 31, 1966

(courtesy Peter Kanze)

Part 1

Part 2

These airchecks are of far better quality that those from the first day.
Here you get a better feel for what the station sounded like in those first few months.
Note the stereo sound of the jingles and the DJ recorded announcements.
One very interesting 1966 rock segue is hearing one of those WOR-FM "rocks" jingles going into a Frank Sinatra song!

Note the announcements about the lack of DJ's and the "union negotiations".



The First Day with DJ's on WOR-FM
October 8, 1966
(courtesy Peter Kanze)

Scott Muni and Johnny Michaels

Scott Muni and Murray The K


AFTRA finally worked out the differences with RKO so the DJ's finally appeared on WOR-FM.
There are airchecks from that first day.

You may notice the some of the music is in stereo and some is not.
This was a problem for WOR-FM in the beginning.
It was promoting itself as stereo... but much of the music on records was mono.


A Much More Extensive Aircheck of Murray's First Show
October 8, 1966
(courtesy Mike Ferriola)

Mike Ferriola recorded this aircheck himself and contributed it with the following comments: 

The recording was done from a mono FM table radio using a Lafayette tape deck,
so the quality is not the best, with some flutter, hiss, clicks & pops.
And it was manually scoped live, sometimes ham-handedly by my 17 year old fingers.
I apologize. I also did do some recent further editing to cut the file size down.

Some observations:

 Murray had not been on the air on radio since he'd left WINS in February '65.
But he had been on TV, which he refers to at several points.

There's an interesting exchange with Johnny Michaels and Scott Muni
for several minutes starting at 8:00 pm (at the 27:15 point of the aircheck).

While OR-FM at that point was known for playing a large amount of new music, and rightly so,
that didn't stop it from playing the hits...a LOT!.
Twice in the three hours are The Association's Cherish and the Four Tops' Reach Out, and
three times Joe Cuba's Bang Bang!

There was a lot of news, even on a Saturday evening a "20-20" news break at 20 after and 20 of, every hour.

 I did leave in in their entirety a Rosko promo (14:18) and two early Stiller & Meara Great Shakes spots (38:52 & 50:14).

I believe the show was partly or mostly voice tracked, using the technology of the day, reels and/or carts.
The key indication is the differing phase/flanging distortion of the segments of the show due to
slightly misaligned tape heads as it mixed down to a mono radio, a common problem at the time.
Also Murray says (3:55) "Today...later on tonight we're going to be out at Shea Stadium" for the Jets.
There was a Jets game that day, though I don't know at what time.
Considering that Murray was on 6 hours/day, 7 nights a week, voice tracking wouldn't have been surprising.

As he says. this was definitely a "shake down cruise" evening, with several mistakes,
 including a tape briefly rewound on air and a song played twice within several minutes.
I can image one of the WOR engineers (of which I was once one) struggling to keep the order of the voice tracks/music tracks/spots etc. straight.



Jim Lounsbury
September, 1967
(courtesy Peter Kanze)

Jim Lounsbury arrived at WOR-FM after the original DJ's did.
Like the other WOR-FM DJ's he was a believer in the music rather than the Top 40 hype.



Rosko Resigns On The Air
October 2, 1967
(courtesy Marty Brooks)

By the Fall of 1967, WOR-FM was changing.
Its owner, RKO Broadcasting, hired consultant Bill Drake to program its chain of stations.
Like the other WOR-FM DJ's, Rosko was unhappy with the changes...
So much so, that he resigned on the air:

Several days later he was interviewed by Pete Fornatale on WFUV
October 7, 1967
(courtesy Marty Brooks)



Jim Lounsbury
October 19, 1967
(courtesy Peter Kanze)

It should be pointed out that by this time in 1967 the influence of Bill Drake on WOR-FM is evident.
Even though Jim is still at the station, he's doing evenings because Murray the K has left.
You'll also note the station is very hit music oriented, even though Jim's approach is not.
He too would soon be leaving as the new Drake format took hold.
At about 27:45 into the aircheck, Jim does a newscast... very interesting as its mostly Vietnam related.



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