Independence Day Weekend 2020: Listen to Radio Decades Ago From New York — Music, News, Commercials, and More

If you want to temporarily get away from all of the ridiculous nonsense of the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic and the rest of the hysteria which is going on in a seemingly unraveling world, how about going back to an era which was not much simpler?

Not so long ago was a time when people who wanted to listen to music would tune in to terrestrial radio; and when they traveled, the reception would progressively get weaker with more static — until one could no longer listen to the radio station…

Independence Day Weekend 2020: Listen to Radio Decades Ago From New York — Music, News, Commercials, and More

…but with the advent of the Internet and mobile communications, you can listen to what music radio in New York sounded like decades ago — anywhere in the world where you happen to be traveling — as radio arguably reached its zenith during its heyday in New York.

Two of the most popular radio stations in the world were 77 WABC-AM, which broadcast contemporary music for 22 years until it adapted a talk show format on Monday, May 10, 1982 — “the day the music died” on 770 on the AM radio dial — and WCBS-FM 101.1, which still exists today but was one of the most popular radio stations for almost 33 years between Friday, July 7, 1972 and Friday, June 3, 2005 whose veteran radio personalities played a vast library of songs from the 1950s through the 1980s.

The music on either radio station was not pigeonholed into a specific format, as rock, rhythm and blues, country, soul, jazz, disco and other types of music were played during the same programs. Listening to songs performed by Elton John, Herbie Mann, Johnny Cash and Donna Summer during the same program was not uncommon at all on WABC; and hearing a song from the soundtrack of the 1983 movie Flashdance followed up by the 1959 song The Twist by Chubby Checker was not uncommon at all. In fact, some of the songs became legendary during those years arguably because of WABC-AM, which was typically the first radio station to broadcast them.

WABC still broadcasts at the Amplitude Modulated frequency of 770 kilohertz in New York; and its format has been all talk and news for 38 consecutive years — but as a tradition of every Independence Day weekend, a dentist named Alan Sniffen brings back the late legendary radio personality Dan Ingram on Musicradio 77 for all to enjoy and remember through Rewound Radio, which is his streaming broadcast station that plays music from the years 1960 through 1982 — 24 hours per day, seven days per week. He uses what are known as airchecks of the radio personalities — who were also known as disc jockeys, or DJs — to emulate what WABC-AM and WCBS-FM sounded like. Airchecks were a portfolio of recordings to demonstrate the talent of the personality; and they were used either for the purposes of selling advertising — or as part of a resume if the personality was applying for a job at a radio station — and they were usually telescoped or scoped, which means that the music, commercials and news were removed. Music is inserted digitally back into the scoped airchecks to recreate the sound of WABC-AM and WCBS-FM — as if it were broadcasting the programs today.

In addition to the music, one of the reasons for the popularity of WABC-AM was its radio personalities. They usually were able to handle almost any situation with aplomb — such as during the blackout in New York City in 1965, when the electricity started to fade during the broadcast — while delivering the time, weather, traffic reports and commercials seemingly flawlessly as they introduced the next song to be played; and often with sharp wit. It all seemed so easy because they were so professional — the likes of them who will never be heard again…

…and many of the legendary radio personalities — such as Dan Ingram, who is featured during this Independence Day weekend — wound up at WCBS-FM 101.1 and continued the tradition through 2005.

Traffic reports…heh…this was before all of the technology which is now available at our fingertips on our portable electronic devices.

Listening to the news and commercials of the day can be fascinating. For example, start at 3:18 during this aircheck from late veteran radio personality Dan Ingram, who voiced a commercial for Eastern Air Lines and its new non-stop Whisperjet service — presumably with its fleet of Boeing 727 aircraft — from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Saint Louis…

…and do not be surprised if during Independence Day weekend, you hear commercials from Trans World Airlines, National Airlines, Pan American Airways, and Continental Airlines — most of which aired before frequent flier loyalty programs existed — as well as commercials which were advertising lodging. During the first hour, one commercial each from American Airlines and United Airlines was already heard. You might also hear about incidents pertaining to travel during the news segments.

The jingles were legendary as well. This classic jingle for WABC-AM — which is part of the 1961 Contempo Sig 18 series — had been one of the most recognized of all time.

Summary

Even if you never listened to 77 WABC-AM or WCBS-FM 101.1, give this special program a listen this Independence Day weekend — no matter where you are located in the world — as it is almost like being transported back in time with an audio record, preserved as a part of the storied history of New York…

…especially because actual travel is still not completely a viable option just yet due to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Some people listen to the Musicradio 77 broadcast through a mobile telephone to emulate that transistor radio sound which was so popular back then…

…and for additional information, photographs and audio airchecks, be sure to explore this Internet web site which is dedicated to Musicradio 77 WABC-AM — it was founded by Allan Sniffen — for a way to add something uniquely interesting to your Independence Day weekend.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

One thought on “Independence Day Weekend 2020: Listen to Radio Decades Ago From New York — Music, News, Commercials, and More”

  1. NB_ga says:

    Thanks for the heads up! I listened along to the similar run over Memorial Day weekend and had a blast. Dan Ingram is a charming and irreverent DJ (I was unfamiliar with him prior to your recommendation) and the commercials are a hoot.

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