Radio History – 1010 WINS Adds The Mutual Network 1961

1010 WINS Radio History – 1961

It was big news back in the summer of 1961 – The Mutual Broadcasting Service – trying to re-invent itself (as did all radio networks back then) – became the news network for independent stations. Mutual just lost WOR radio – then landed 1010WINS – back then, one of the top radio stations in New York.

WINS was of course, a music station in those days and this ad lists all the DJ personalities on the station. Murray Kaufman is of course, “Murray the K” and his nightly show was hitting 20-25 shares – mostly teens.

WINS Ad - August 1961

Pop Culture TV History – CBS-TV – Debut Listing – “The Prisoner” – 1968

CBS-TV Summer Replacement Series – “The Prisoner” 1968

 

U.S. – When “The Prisoner” debuted in 1968 – viewers were a little confused. What was this really about? By the end of the debut episode, you either liked it, loved it or hated it. Here’s a TV Guide listing from the very first CBS-TV airing of “The Prisoner” starring Patrick Magoohan. It already had an ending. Interestingly – when the series debuted on CBS-TV during the summer of 1968 – all 17 episodes had already run in its native Britain. Also, was “The Prisoner” part of, or a continuation of “Secret Agent/Danger Man” of which, Magoohan also starred? Agent No. 6 was used in this series as well – so – it could be very confusing. Whose side was he on? There was nothing like it then or now.

This is from a New York TV Guide with WCBS-TV/2 and WTIC-TV/3.

The Prisoner TV Debut CBS-TV

TV History – Nielsen Ratings For April 7, 2014

I’ll add this to the Mr. Pop 2014 year in review timeline.

1 CBS NCAA BSKBL CHAMPIONSHIP CBS 12.4 21,196
2 NCIS CBS 11.1 17,392
3 THE BIG BANG THEORY CBS 10.0 16,288
4 NCIS: LOS ANGELES CBS 9.3 14,560
5 DANCING WITH THE STARS ABC 9.3 14,467
6 CBS NCAA BSKBL CHAMPIONSHIP CBS 7.3 12,015
7 THE VOICE NBC 7.2 11,966
8 BLUE BLOODS CBS 7.1 11,051
9 THE VOICE-TUE NBC 6.9 11,085
10 60 MINUTES CBS 6.8 10,987

Return to the Mr. Pop 2014 Power Timeline: Click

Radio History – New York Radio Ratings – March/April 1967

Here’s an interesting piece of history. It’s the local NY City ratings from March/April 1967 and what’s different is… these are City numbers. Pulse – most of the time, did a 15 county survey – but – in a rarity – I found this – from Variety.

WMCA, then a top-40 station, has 2 1/2 times the ratings of its competitor – WABC and WWRL – a Soul station – did pretty well – also beating WABC. T

 

Ratings - WMCA-WABC 1967 Pullout

 

Online Bingo & Pop Culture – An Update…

How Online Bingo Is Staking Its Claim On The Pop Culture Landscape

 There used to be a time when bingo was thought of more as a game reserved for old folks looking for a bit more excitement than the daily thrill of watching paint peel off the front porch of the house. Barring the occasional kid who got dragged into a bingo hall by Granma and Granpa against his will, hardly anyone thought of bingo as a game that spoke to the younger generation.

Then the online bingo revolution happened, and somehow the game’s transition from brick-and-mortar playing venues into digital bingo halls drew in players of all ages. Bingo was suddenly catapulted into the pop culture radar by virtue of becoming a video game marketed to the masses.

This mobile gaming transition wasn’t the only factor, though. Endorsements from celebrities like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Robbie Williams also played a part in giving the game that oh-my-god-even-famous-people-are-playing-it level of cool.

And then there are the mascots whose visuals and characterizations aim to appeal to a wide demographic range. Cheeky Bingo is fronted by a fresh-faced, Ms. Pac-Man-esque character whose cartoony figure is designed to draw in players. Moreover, and as evidenced by her frequent Twitter messages, her amusingly brazen attitude plays a huge part in her allure as well; not unlike the way we’re drawn to Jennifer Lawrence every time she gives one of her golden nuggets of knowledge during interviews.

It’s a combination of all these factors that put online bingo on the map alongside other popular casual games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush. With enough push and maybe a bit of luck, perhaps these bingo mascots and the games they represent might just become as well known worldwide as Harry Potter and Mickey Mouse.

Movie Pop Culture Trivia – When Actor Michael Douglas Could Not Use His First Name

 

 Used “M.K. Douglas” For First TV Acting Breakthrough

1969 MK Douglas

It’s true. (Mike Kirk) Douglas had aspirations of being an actor like his dad. His first major break came in 1969 – in a CBS-TV Playhouse special titled, “The Experiment.” The problem – he couldn’t use his first name – Mike – most likely due to another Mike Douglas – this one a very well-known TV talkshow host. Either producers and/or the network asked for the change and – it’s the one and only time – the actor known as Michael Douglas was simply M.K. Douglas. Smartly – subsequent TV guest starring roles had him credited as Michael Douglas – enough to distinguish himself from the TV talkshow host.

michael douglas trivia mrpopcultureThe TV Guide pull-out above describes the new actor as the son of Kirk Douglas. It wouldn’t be long until the younger Douglas became a true TV and movie superstar.

“The Experiment” co-starred M.K. Douglas and Tisha Sterling as young rebels in conflict with the business establishment. Perfect for 1969. Douglas kept busy – appearing on (mostly) TV dramas until his big breakthrough.

Three years later – he was cast with Hollywood vet Karl Malden in ABC-TV’s, “Streets of San Francisco” and never looked back.

The Ultimate Timeline  

 

 

Walt Disney Trivia I’ll Bet You Don’t Know… Pop Culture

So, you think you know Disney history/trivia? An expert on Disneyland/Disneyworld and subsequent parks?… TV shows – the Disney Channel all the stuff. Here’s something really interesting.

In all of pop culture history – there was no better promoter than Walt Disney himself. He totally understood the power of mass media. Beginning In the 1940′s – Walt Disney movies plus a dash of radio and moving merchandise extended into the new medium of television. He found a willing partner in ABC-Paramount back in 1954. ABC-TV would broadcast a new TV show – one that was a video version of his up-and-coming theme park located in California. “Disneyland” was the name of the show, and name of the park.

Disney History - 1955“Disneyland” the park opened in July of 1955 and September – began season #2 of ABC-TV’s “Disneyland.” And later that year – Disney began using radio as a second media choice. Thought to be dead a few years earlier – radio was catching on again and Walt Disney wasted no time in creating a new radio show – in addition to TV’s “Disneyland.”

The program, “Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom” ran daily on the ABC radio network – around noon time. The first ad stated, “A new kind of morning listening with all the wonderful Disney magic – direct from fabulous Disneyland in California. Listen today where Walt himself will introduce the first show.”

It didn’t last long – but, it’s a fascinating piece of Disney history.

Many years later – Disney would pick up the radio angle… in 1996 with Radio Disney – but its first foray into radio – began in late 1955 and lasted about a year.

For the best in yesterday – 1955-2013 Go To:

Mr Pop Culture

Pop Culture History/Trivia – The Real Fred Flintstone

mrpopculture fred flintstone alan reed It’s really no mystery – the voice of the original Fred Flintstone – and the one that set the character forever is that of the late actor –  Alan Reed.

He’s probably known for the most memorable single cartoon voice of all time.

But – It’s really hard to get a hold of Reed. You’d see him in a movie – and – flash, he was gone. You wanted to hear his voice – because – really – Fred Flintstone is much more prominent than Alan Reed ever was. Don’t get me wrong, Reed did lots of movies and television – but, let’s face it – more people know his voice because of “The Flintstones.” He also looks a bit like the cartoon character.

Reed died in 1977 – and newer Flintstone cartoons used an imitation of Reed. The original is always the best.

www.mrpopculture.com

 

 

 

FM Radio History – Interview With Larry Berger – WPLJ, NY

Legendary FM Radio Programmer Larry Berger Talks About His 14 Years At WPLJ, NY.

“Those years were a time when radio programmers were given wide autonomy to create and manage the on-air product”

Back in 1974, AM radio still dominated music listening ratings. In New York and vicinity – there was WLIX, WICC, WVNJ, WNBC, WGSM, WABC, WPAT, WHN, WHLI, WNEW, WLIB, WFAS, WGBB, WMTR, WGLI, WALL, WSTC, WNJR, WBAB, WCTC, WVOX, WGCH, WKER, WRAN, WJDM, WERA & WWRL.

On the FM dial – WLIR, WPAT, WVOX, WCTO, WINE, WPLJ, WNLK-FM, WSTC-FM, WALK, WKJY, WXLO (99X), WPLR, WCBS-FM, WPDH, WPIX-FM, WBAB-FM, WNEW-FM, WTFM, WWYD, WSPK-FM, WRFM, WDHA, WBLI, WRVR, WRNW , WBLS & WDJF.

In September 1974, Larry Berger came to WPLJ and made it a dominate music station, keeping ‘PLJ competitive, despite market changes.

"95.5 WPLJ - New York's Best Rock"

“95.5 WPLJ – New York’s Best Rock”

Mr. Pop -  Larry – you’ve had a very distinguished career in radio. Interestingly, you graduated from Rutgers with a degree in journalism.

LB – That’s correct. My first major station was working as music director for WWRL, New York.

radio history - 1968 WWRLMr. Pop – WWRL was a “soul” station with a black and white staff.

LB – Most of the jocks were black – except the afternoon man. The manager, Frank Ward was white as were (most) of the news people. I enjoyed working with Frank Ward and enjoyed my time at WWRL.

radio history frankie crockerMr. Pop – WWRL was an incredible station. All soul – but with a top-40 sound.

LB – I started there in 1966 – and you couldn’t go wrong with all the Motown, Stax and Atlantic soul music – much of which made it over to pop stations WMCA and WABC.

Mr. Pop – The ratings at WWRL were pretty decent. Considering that ‘RL was at 1600, 5,000 watts and very directional. A 1967 March-April (city) Pulse report has them actually beating WABC. And ‘RL had a star in DJ Frankie Crocker.

LB – ‘RL was very popular. One special “Negro” survey from Pulse said that 65% listened to WWRL. The second station in that survey – was all-news WINS.

Mr. Pop – That’s amazing. Now – In late 1968, you move north to Middletown and programmed WALL (1340). It was owned by the same folks who owned WMCA – The Straus family.

wmca radio history 1968LB – I had actually interviewed at (top-40) WMCA after leaving ‘RL. I also interviewed at WABC.  At the time, there was nothing available. Then, the job at WALL opened up. I was program director and also did an air shift.

Mr. Pop – WALL was an interesting station: very contemporary and very local.

LB – Exactly. We had a good team and I thought the station sounded pretty good. I learned a lot at WALL and cherish those memories.

WABC radio 1972Mr. Pop – While you were at WALL, you were offered the assistant program director job at WABC – by Rick Sklar.

LB – I think I’m the only person that ever turned down a job offer by Rick Sklar. The reason – I bought my first home just a few weeks before the offer came through.

Mr. Pop – You were actually competing with WABC in Orange County.

LB – Yes, and we always beat them in the local ratings.

Mr. Pop – What’s fascinating is – Glenn Morgan got the job as WABC APD. He was with a station in Atlantic City – also at 1340 on the AM dial – WMID.

wmidLB – A little history: because of an FCC mix-up, the calls were switched:  WALL (Middletown) was supposed to have the call letters WMID. And the WALL calls were supposed to go to Atlantic City. They got flipped.

Mr. Pop – What an amazing radio story. Now, around 1973, you get a nice job offer.

LB – Yes – My name had gotten around ABC radio and so, the general manager from WRIF (Detroit) heard about me, came out – sat in his car and monitored WALL. He said the station sounded great and offered me the job at WRIF – an ABC FM station. I began at WRIF in March of 1973.

Mr. Pop – So you go to Detroit where they were doing their version of “Rock ‘n Stereo” and you also got to meet some folks along the way.

WRIFLB – I did. Detroit it seemed, was a gateway to New York as talent such as Jim Kerr and Pat St. John will tell you. Pat was at WRIF and his brother was on the air there, as well.

Mr. Pop – You didn’t  stay at WRIF that long – because – the general manager had transferred to New York and WPLJ, and then, asked you to join the staff. When did you join PLJ?

LB – September of 1974.

Mr. Pop – FM radio was just starting to get ratings in general. And, WPLJ wasn’t doing that well in the ratings. Who were your competitors?

LB –  Most of our listeners were on the young end and I believed our growth could come from that segment. So, stations such as 99X and our own WABC were WPLJ competition. 99X at the time – was hot. I heard it in a lot of places.

WNEW-FMMr. Pop – And WNEW-FM?

LB – In a sense – yes, we were both playing album rock – but WNEW-FM skewed older. The opportunity for WPLJ was with the younger audience.

Mr. Pop – What was the sound of WPLJ when you got there?

LB – It was sort of a pop-rock station. It had a mix of pop hits and rock tracks.

Mr. Pop – And, what was the lineup when you arrived?

WPLJ 1974 radio historyLB – Jim Kerr mornings, middays was Paul Krimsier (who left to go into the ministry), Pat St. John afternoons; Tony Pigg 6-10 and John Zacherly at night. Alex Bennett was doing overnights.

Mr. Pop – How long did it take to make a ratings impact?

LB – The station made a big jump in the ratings in my third quarter – April/May – of 1975. And our audience was male and female.  Women, 18-24 were a big component of the ‘PLJ audience.

Mr. Pop – Around this time, WPLJ had a unique, “compressed” sound, like no other.

LB – Most listeners back then used mono FM radios and I felt we’d be at a better advantage if our sound  jumped out. WPLJ did exactly that – as you tuned across the FM dial in New York.

Mr. Pop – Was WPLJ a station that relied on call-out research during the 1975-1979 era? How did you pick your music?

hotel california album coverLB – Call outs were not up and running at that time. Music was done by consensus at weekly music meetings with me, the music director, DJ’s other staff members. Usually – we would consider 10 to 12 songs and rotations/exposure would be readjusted.  WPLJ was a song-by-song format. We considered each song as an individual unit. A popular album such as the Eagles, “Hotel California” – we may be playing four cuts off it – but each song would be in a different rotation.

Mr. Pop – What was your hottest rotation?

LB – About once every five hours. And, there were songs we would play once a week – like secondary tracks off of old albums. We had almost 2,000 songs.

Mr. Pop – What was the job of the music director at that time?

LB – They would listen to music, keep track of the music library; meet with record promoters – and basically worked hand-in-hand with me.

Mr. Pop – Your sister station – WABC was the biggest music station in the country. Rick Sklar was the program director. Any interesting stories?

rick sklarLB – Rick was an amazing programmer – and, he was a good corporate person. And, he loved being around TV, movie and music celebrities. Sometimes we butted heads – but not often. When “Saturday Night” began on NBC-TV – we had the cast up at WPLJ to do a live interview. We could have recorded it – but these were people who did it “live” every week. Jim Kerr – a very good interviewer – was moving it along. Then one of the female cast members let the F-bomb out. Unbeknownst to me, Rick Sklar was in his office, listening to WPLJ and wasn’t too happy. He came over and started letting me have it. I started arguing back. Here I was – having it out with the biggest program director in the country. It was just one of those times. But – we really got along great. I’d always admired him and learned so much from watching how he ran WABC’s programming.

Mr. Pop – Great story.  So, WPLJ is cooking after this point, 1975 into 1978, then WKTU-FM decides to go disco and the whole music radio landscape in New York seemed to shake.

wktu is #1 1979 radio historyLB – WKTU/Disco was a boon to FM in New York – as it drove a lot of audience to the FM dial, but it also fractionalized that audience and forced us to narrow. Remember, we were playing everything from Earth, Wind & Fire to Simon & Garfunkel with “The Who” in the middle. Disco forced us to narrow the mix pretty significantly – eliminating any R&B and the softer side of the station.  This was the time that WPLJ became much more rock oriented.

Mr. Pop – And this was around 1979 when the WKTU ratings impact was really felt.

LB – That’s correct.

mrpopculture radio historyMr. Pop – With the narrower playlist – came faster rotations.

LB – Yes and that’s when we began to rely on call-out research.

Mr. Pop – And, this was a time when sister WABC was being slaughtered.

LB – WABC’s initial reaction to WKTU was to play longer disco cuts and that was a mistake. There was a lot of dissention at WABC at the time. Sadly, it seemed they really didn’t know how to react when they were dethroned. They had been #1 for so many years.  But, I had my own challenges at WPLJ.

Mr. Pop – What difference did music call-outs make for you?

Thw Who 1979LB – We were able to determine which songs to play in stronger rotations – to a more accurate degree. And, define songs that were not necessarily from hit albums.

Mr. Pop – And, this was a time that WPLJ got more into concert promotions, a province that belonged WNEW-FM – but in 1980, 1981, 1982 – you guys seemed to be everywhere. It was the time of those WPLJ concert buttons – now a collector’s item.

LB – We began working more closely with some of the promoters and looking back, we got quite busy.

WAPP FM radio 1982Mr. Pop – It’s 1982 and you have another competitor – WAPP – which lasted basically that summer.

LB – We did take a ratings hit the summer of 1982 because of WAPP – a new rock station – which had gone the entire summer without commercials. When September came, we were ready though and our ratings came up. WAPP didn’t last that long.

WPLJ 1982 concert buttonMr. Pop – Also in 1982, it’s a new era for top-40 – and you really got a sense of this with a visit to Philadelphia.

LB – I made a trip to Philadelphia to monitor WMMR and WYSP – two album rock stations – but ended up listening to Mike Josephs’ “Hot Hits” station down there – WCAU-FM. There was so much great music we were not playing. I realized there was a re-birth of top-40 radio – something that New York had not realized. In New York – there was no top-40 station. We played some of it – Men at Work – that kind of thing. And MTV was starting to become an influence as well.

WPLJ RocksMr. Pop – You’re still a rock station into the Spring of 1983 – and doing OK in the ratings.

LB – Yes, but my feeling was – the music that was coming out didn’t hold, what I called – “the rock coalition.” Folks who liked, “The Who” didn’t like “Men at Work.” And people who liked hard rock – didn’t like anything else.

Mr. Pop – You finally decide to make WPLJ into a hit station.

LB – My pitch was to change the station into an adult-oriented top-40 station. We’d play all the top-40 hits – but the sound, presentation and priorities were with women 25-44 and play all that great music at the time. There was a huge opening. With our existing rock format – only 30% was current. Back in the 1970’s – we had been playing 70% currents. So, there just wasn’t a lot of new, solid rock-oriented music.

Mr. Pop – So, you convince management.

LB – I pitched it on a Thursday. And by the following Thursday at 4am – it was on the air.

Mr. Pop – And – this was June of 1983?

LB – That’s right.

Mr. Pop – What were some of your positioners?

LB – We became “Hit Radio 95” and used liners such as,  “Home of the Hits,”  “All Your Favorite Music On One Station.”

Mr. Pop – All this before the debut of Z-100.

LB – Yes. Many people thought we tried to pre-empt them. That’s a logical conclusion – but not true. Malrite had several stations including country in San Francisco and had a legendary rock station in Cleveland – so, we didn’t really know what they were going to do with their newly acquired Newark FM station. Our objective was rather self-centered – what was good for us. There’s nothing you’re going to do about the competition anyway.

Mr. Pop – And, you’re battling it out with Z-100. And, you became WPLJ (Power 95) in 1985 and then, the call letter change to WWPR in 1987.**

LB – The plan all along was to become “Power 95” – because – we realized the call letters became kind of a double-edged sword. WPLJ to some – meant we were still a rock station ready to play, “Stairway to Heaven.”

Mr. Pop – How did you do against Z-100?

LB – We beat them 12+ in one book and tied them 12+ in another and consistently beat them in big margins 18+. They leaned more younger, more teen oriented and that  gave our sales department a nice pitch.      (Audio: Ellis Foster)

Mr. Pop – In 1985 – New York had four top-40 stations as WKTU-FM and WAPP joined the battle. KTU hired Dan Ingram for afternoons.

LB – It was an interesting time – but the battle really was between us and Z-100. The other two didn’t last long in the format.

Mr. Pop – You eventually left WPLJ/WWPR in October of 1988 with a great run!

LB – It was. An amazing time with a great staff  both on and off the air. Those years were a time when radio programmers were given wide autonomy to create and manage the on-air product.  And I was fortunate to have the support of management.  All in all, the radio audience was the big winner!

** The WPLJ call-letters were “parked” at a station in Scranton, PA – just in case. And, they quickly returned to 95.5 in New York City.  

Larry Berger Photo

Interview conducted by Gary West