Rock Radio Scrapbook
Station: KJR Seattle
Date: January 11, 1964
Canadian oldies fans visiting Los Angeles have undoubtedly heard that city's major oldies station, K-EARTH. A major force behind that station's success, Mike Phillips, was also well-known to listeners in the westernmost parts of Canada back in the early '60s.
From 1962 to 1965, Phillips entertained at the legendary KJR Seattle, part of a remarkable lineup that included Lan Roberts, Pat O'Day and Larry Lujack.
After KJR, Phillips had numerous radio addresses, including KFRC San Francisco in the early '70s and WXLO New York later than same decade. His impressive resume also includes stops at KYUU and KNBR San Francisco and KGW and KISN Portland, Ore.
As program director at K-EARTH in the 1990s, Phillips tightened the playlist and hired legendary Boss Jocks Robert W. Morgan and the Real Don Steele. While both Morgan and Steele have passed on, the tight sound Phillips introduced to K-EARTH continues to this day.
Phillips died October 16, 2006 of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles. He was 64.
Hear Mike Phillips at KJR here.
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Station: WKBW Buffalo, N.Y.
Date: February 22, 1964
Time: 46:24 (unscoped)
It's the beginning of Beatlemania.
This aircheck of Joey Reynolds on WKBW gives us a taste of the excitement when the Fab Four first arrived in North America. It was a cultural earthquake that we'll likely never witness again. Everybody was talking about the Beatles, even people who weren't exactly bowled over by them.
One skeptic was Reynolds, one of Top 40 radio's biggest stars. Reynolds thought the Beatles weren't much better than the "best group in each and every town in this country." Nonetheless, he plays lots of Beatle tunes on his show, along with American acts like Connie Francis, Ray Charles, Bobby Goldsboro, Jan and Dean, Bobby Vinton and Diane Renay. Henry Brach is featured with a couple of newscasts.
Did you know that Reynolds and fellow 'KB personality Dan Neaverth had a chance to bring the Beatles to Buffalo on February 10, 1964, the day after they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show? It would have been the Beatles first appearance in Buffalo, but they declined over the $3,500 appearance fee, the expectation of poor February weather and the relative obscurity of the band in North America at the time of the offer.
Enjoy Joey Reynolds here.
Station: WKBW Buffalo, N.Y.
Date: February 23, 1964
The Beatles with Ed Sullivan
Excitement was in the air - and on the air - in February, 1964, on a level not seen musically since Elvis burst on the scene in the mid-1950s. Beatlemania had exploded, and every rock 'n' roll station was jumping on the bandwagon fuelled by the arrival of the Fab Four in North America.
One of those stations was WKBW. With a killer lineup that included Stan Roberts, Fred Klestine, Dan Neaverth and Joey Reynolds, the station blasted out the Beatles and the other Top 40 stars 24 hours a day. 'KB's powerful nighttime signal carried up and down the Eastern seaboard and into Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes and was even heard in Scandinavia.
Bob Diamond hosted the all-night House Party show on WKBW during this exciting time. But as you'll find out when you hear this aircheck, the playlist wasn't all Beatles. Hardly. You'll hear Allan Sherman, Brenda Lee, Ruby and the Romantics and others, two full Instant News from Action Central newscasts and even an ad for an oldies compilation ($1.25 for 26 songs - same price for Americans and Canadians!). Those really were the days.
Bob Diamond, whose real name was Don Kirsch, died December 15, 2012.
Hear Bob Diamond here.
(The Bill Dulmage Collection)
Station: WNEW New York
Date: June 10, 1964
"Am I blue? No, I'm Brown.
Got a smile on my puss, not a frown
Every morn from seven 'til nine
We play discs and commit general crime."
That ditty - sung to the tune of Am I Blue - was Ted Brown's theme song for part of his legendary four-decade career in radio. Back in the days when what was said between the records mattered as much (or more) than the music itself, Ted Brown was one of the leading deejays in the U.S. As fellow announcer and musician Jim Lowe put it, "he was a major talent, with a keen sense of the ridiculous."
A native of Collingwood, N.J., Theodore David Brown got his first experience behind a mike at a dance at Roanoke College in Salem, Va., when he filled in for a master of ceremonies who had failed to show up. After college, he fought for the U.S. in the Second World War as an Air Force tail-gunner in a B-17 bomber. He was shot down over Germany and spent 18 months as a prisoner of war before being released and returning to New York.
Brown's first taste of the big time in radio came in 1950, when he took over the morning show at WMGM from another broadcast legend, Robert Q. Lewis. Teamed with his wife Rhoda Brown and later actress and second wife Sylvia Miles - both of whom were known on-air as The Redhead - Brown delivered a highly-popular show that continued into the station's foray into rock 'n' roll music in the late '50s.
By 1962, he was off to the legendary WNEW, joining a staff that included such broadcast greats as William B. Williams, Gene Klaven and Dee Finch. Brown held down the afternoon drive spot at 'NEW until 1970, when he left for a couple of years at WNBC. He returned to WNEW in 1972 before leaving the station in 1989. In later years, he worked at WRIV Riverhead, N.Y., and WVNJ Oakland, N.J.
Brown was incapacitated in 1996 from a stroke, complications from which he died March 20, 2005. He was believed to be in his 80s - he never revealed his age.
Ted Brown - described by his newsman Mike Prelee as "a tough guy with a soft heart" - can he heard here.
Station: CFPL London, Ont.
Date: July 6, 1964
Dick Williams chose Canada.
Williams - one of southwestern Ontario's legendary deejays - could have spent his career in the more lucrative U.S. market. In fact, he did a stint in mornings at KDEO in San Diego in the early 1960s (he also jocked at WING Dayton, Ohio and WSAI Cincinnati.) But he fell in love with London, Ont., after arriving there at CFPL after his San Diego stint. He remained on-air in London into the 21st century.
Williams' clever, fast-paced, humour-driven show could easily have been a morning show. But it wasn't - it was at night. At that time, evening shows were prime time in radio and that's where the stars were. And Dick Williams was certainly a star.
To hear Dick Williams, click here.
(The Don Shuttleworth and Charlie Ritenburg Collections)
Station: CHIQ Hamilton, Ont.
Date: July, 1964
He was called the Dick Biondi of Canadian radio, The Fastest Tongue in the North. But above all, he was radio's greatest chameleon.
Dave Mickie earned a legion of fans from his days in the early '60s as an incredibly energetic night-time deejay at CKEY Toronto. By 1964, however, he had moved down the QEW to CHIQ (now CHAM) in Hamilton. He was still screaming and talking faster than most people - especially parents - could listen.
It was an entirely different Mickie that Toronto listeners would hear in the 1970s. First, he was now known as Dave Marsden. After a stop at Montreal's CHOM-FM in the late '60s, Marsden joined CHUM-FM in Toronto in the early '70s and if anything was the SLOWEST talker in the North.
In six years at CHUM-FM, Marsden established himself as one of the country's top FM rock announcers. In 1977, he brought his considerable talents to what was the new CFNY-FM in Brampton, Ont., which had just changed its call letters from CHIC-FM. With Marsden as PD and program host, CFNY became a force to be reckoned with in Toronto radio.
Marsden left the station in the late '80s for the Vancouver radio scene. After blazing a trail with the then-new medium of Internet radio in the '90s, Marsden returned to the terrestial airwaves at "The Rock" in Oshawa, Ont., in the 2000s.
Enjoy Dave Mickie on CHIQ here.
Station: WBZ Boston
Date: August, 1964
Attention program directors: There is an audience after midnight.
All-night shows nowadays are mostly the preserve of syndicated programming, voice-tracking or just wall-to-wall music. Anything but a live person! But there are people listening - shift workers, truckers, college students, insomniacs and people who just like to stay up late and listen to the radio. And at one time the late night day part was taken seriously by radio stations.
Dick Summer hosted the "Night Light" all-night show on WBZ in the mid-60s*. Summer had a little bit of everything during his 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift: he read poetry, told stories, played a few tunes and occasionally welcomed one of his mythical characters, like Irving the Venus Fly Trap, Earl of Sandwich and Theopolous Q. Waterhouse. The "format" was whatever Summer decided on - he would play a hour's worth of comedy cuts at 3 a.m. for example. If he didn't like a song, he wouldn't play it.
One of Summer's best remembered bits was the Nightlighters Password, also known as the Tibetan Memory Trick:
"One hen, two ducks, 3 squawking geese, 4 limerick oysters, 5 corpulent porpoises, 6 pair of Don Alverso's tweezers, seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array, 8 brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt, 9 apathetic sympathetic diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity to procrastination and sloth... (deep breath!) TENNNN lyrical spherical diabolical denizens of the deep who haul stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the queasy at the very same time (toot toot)."
Summer had an intelligent, humorous and personable approach to radio, qualities so often lacking in the bland "here's another 12 in a row!" world of the medium today. It's the type of radio we celebrate at Rock Radio Scrapbook, and we're thrilled to have an aircheck of one of Dick's shows.
Enjoy Dick Summer from August, 1964 on WBZ here.
*Summer started in the all-night show at WBZ in 1963, and left in 1968. By November, 1967 he was doing evenings. We are not sure just when he left the all-night show but would have been sometime between August, 1966 and November, 1967.
(The Bill Dulmage Collection)
Station: CHML Hamilton
Date: September 7, 1964
Long-time CHML morning man Paul Hanover called Bill Sturrup Mr. Everywhere and Mr. Everything. Said Hanover: "there wasn't a job he couldn't do or didn't want to do at the station or in the community."
Sturrup left us a legacy that included 45 years at Hamilton's CHML - reporting on virtually every major news event in the city - a half-century of public address announcing at Hamilton sporting events and too many friends and admirers to count. A lifelong Hamiltonian, Sturrup joined Hanover, Tom Darling, Lee Dunbar and others in the CHML Hall of Fame in 2004. He died January 16, 2007, aged 68.
One of the many events Sturrup covered was the Beatles arrival in Toronto in September, 1964.
Hear Sturrup cover Beatlemania here.
(The Mark Panopoulos Collection)
Station: WADO New York
Date: December 27, 1964
Time: 20:28 (Upgraded 2-9-12)
Jocko Henderson was part of an amazing cast at WADO that at one time included doo-wop king Alan Fredericks, jazz deejay Symphony Sid Torin along with gospel announcers Joe Crane and Charles Gibbs, Jr., and Herman Amis, a veteran of WADO's predecessor WOV. There was also Happy Hare (Harry Martin), Kenny Garland, Jack Walker and Johnny Holiday (a.k.a. Mort Crowley.)
WADO went to mostly Spanish programming in 1964 but Jocko remained.
Jocko Henderson died July 15, 2000 after a prolonged illness in Philadelphia. He was 82.
Enjoy Henderson on WADO here.
AUDIO ENHANCEMENT by Andy Rebscher
Station: WABC New York
Date: December 30, 1964
Any discussion of the great all-night jocks in Top 40 radio history should
certainly include one of the greatest of them all - Charlie Greer.
While he also worked middays at WABC for several years, Greer is best identified with the all-night show at the legendary New York station. Greer was in fact the first midday voice when WABC debuted as a Top 40 station on December 7, 1960. He moved to midnights in 1963, then went back to mid-days in 1965, before returning to the all-night show in 1966. He stayed there until he left the station in August, 1969.
Greer's easy-going friendly style was perfect for WABC, a station that
emphasized personality within a tight formar. His live reads of the famous Dennison's commercials
(Route 22, Union, N.J.) are part of New York radio lore. And while several
others did the all-night show at WABC, he's probably the best remembered.
Greer jocked at WAKR in Akron, Ohio, before moving to WABC in 1960. After leaving WABC, he moved to WIP Philadelphia in 1969 and in the 1970s returned to New York at WCBS-FM (he also participated in that station's radio reunions in the '80s and '90s.) Greer also worked at WRKL New York and WHAM Rochester, N.Y.
Greer died September 30, 1996 of lung cancer in Akron, Ohio. He was 73.
Enjoy Greer on WABC here.
(The Bill Dulmage Collection)
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