Radio History 1950′s-1970′s – When Night Disc Jockeys Ruled

The Hours Between 6p And 11p Could Be Moneymakers For Stations

Teen Idol” DJ’s 

Since Alan Freed began playing rock ‘n roll on evening radio – there was no doubt – the evening DJ could bring in tons of ratings and revenue. Back then – many radio stars were born out of the 6p-11p area time slot – even with prime-time television viewing. Mostly teens and young adults listened, but, if you had them – you could have big ratings. At times – their average audience share could be bigger than the rest of the station.

The teen DJ set the tone for the next morning as well. If you listened at night – chances are – you had the same station tuned-in the following morning.

Every city had these night DJ stars – and New York City was no exception. Besides Alan Freed – there was – Paul Sherman, Bruce Morrow, Murray the K, Scott Muni, B. Mitchel Reed, Gary Stevens, George Michael, Chuck Lenoard – and others.

Unlike today, this could be a huge advertisingrevenue. I found this  from Spring of 1966. Holding the 7 to 11p shift at WMCA – Gary Stevens was then, New York City’s #1 evening personality – and within a year – had served-up over 200 sponsors. Unheard of in modern radio.

Stevens just came off 20 shares in the New York radio ratings – beating big-time rival “Cousin” Bruce Morrow – with a 12 share.

This was an era when all evening radio was live. In many places today, it can be voice-tracked – especially in medium and smaller markets – and, some large markets contain voice-tracking between 6p and 6a.

Most of those who grew up during the 1960′s and 1970′s – can name their favorite DJ – and usually – they came from the evening hours. Do you remember?

WMCA - Gary Stevens - May 1966

Gary West

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Radio History – WCBS Goes News – August 28, 1967

Not “All News” – Yet

WCBS Tower Hit By Plane – 12 Hours Before Format Change

 

New York City was about to get a new “news” competitor – with more news than all other New York radio stations with the exception of one – WINS. The ad below talks about all the marvels of “Newsradio 88.” You notice it doesn’t say, “all news?” WCBS would have to wait a few years – as the CBS radio flagship still had to carry CBS radio programs, including the midday “Arthur Godfrey” show. Back in 1967 –  most stations – music or otherwise, carried 5 minutes of news at the top and bottom of each hour.

To look at the ad, you’d think everything was in place on that Monday morning. 50,000 watt 880 had/has a great signal off a tower located in Long Island Sound. But – the morning of August 28, “Newsradio 88″ could only be heard on 101.1FM – WCBS-FM. Late afternoon the previous day – the tower was hit by a private plane – killing five. It was through a thunderstorm and the pilot wasn’t supposed to be flying that plane. One of the top stories of the morning – “five dead as plane hits WCBS radio tower.”

The same tower complex housed another 50,000 watt radio station – at 660 and WNBC. It too, was off the air. Both stations scrambled – 880 was back on later in the day on one of the WLIB (1190) towers and  WNBC got a hand from WABC (77), using their smaller auxiliary tower. Limited power.

By Friday – both stations were back to their original location – City Island with a temporary tower at 200 feet tall. For the time being – WCBS operated with 10,000 watts and WNBC – at 5,000 watts.

As far as radio format changes – this one had to top them all. August, 1967:

WCBS News Radio signs on 1967

Gary West

Nielsen TV Ratings – August 1958

Top TV Shows From August 1958

 

Let’s go back in time. It’s easy to get TV Guide listings from any given year. For me, the most popular TV shows from a moment in time are even better. Let’s go back to August of 1958. Television was now the centerpiece of entertainment for those at home – and the industry was growing  by leaps and bounds. The big tech trend in television was the emerging videotape business.

More interesting – look at the ratings: Gunsmoke on top with a 42.

Not only will you see Nielsen results, but, back then, Arbitron and Trendex were in the TV ratings business.

For the entire year 1958 in news, entertainment, technology, sports and more – Click Here!  

1958 - TV ratings - september 15

 

Gary West

Some 1010WINS Radio History – New York.

1010 WINS Morning Men

Murray the K Most Popular – 1961

And Other New York DJs – 1961/1963

 

1010WINS, New York will be celebrating 50 years as an all-news station in 2015. That’s an amazing run. The station still has decent ratings given the exodus of AM radio listeners. This, as of July/2014.

When the station played top-40/pop music – it was on top from 1958-1962. With a team of DJ’s centered around Jack Lacy, Stan Z. Burns (Bernstein) and later, Murray the K – WINS always had problems with mornings – going through a morning man a year since the death Irv Smith in 1960.

Here’s one of those forgotten 1010WINS morning men – Dick Clayton, who replaced Lonnie Star late in 1962. Clayton would be replaced by Ed Hider in late 1963.

This comes to us from 1963, courtesy the WCBS-AM site – apparently Avon was doing a new radio campaign and selected certain New York DJ’s for targeted live reads. You can see two from WINS/1963 – Jack Lacy – and Dick Clayton.

Clayton came to WINS from WIL, St. Louis – a station that also gave New York City amazing radio talent such as Dan Ingram, Ron Lundy, Jack Carney, Gary Stevens and Bob Dayton

New York Radio History 1010 WINS 1963

More 1010WINS – Murray the K owned nights in New York between 1961 and 1962. Here’s a Murray the K/WINS item from 1961:

murray the K  1961 1010WINS

 

Gary West 

Radio History – KFWB Los Angeles – In 1959

One Of History’s Most Iconic Radio Stations – KFWB

The Year Was 1959

mr pop history radio kfwb 1959

 

In Chuck Blore’s memoir, “I Wrote The Book” he talks about the thinking and concepts that became KFWB Color Radio. Before he was asked to put a radio format together in Los Angeles, Blore had learned from the best: Gordon McLendon and Todd Storz – having worked for both organizations. He was hired away to LA and there, he created a format that was nothing like Los Angeles had ever heard – or for that matter, the entire industry. “Color Radio” lit a fuse that – at its peak – had the largest radio ratings ever recorded.

Debuting January 1, 1958 – by 1959 – KFWB Los Angeles was earning 30-35 and 40+ shares. Sure KFWB existed before the Blore magic – but, it was a dog.

KFWB history chuck bloreKFWB was so influential, according to Chuck Blore, tapes of the station were mailed out just about everywhere… All the time. DJ’s and program directors did their best to copy the station. Looking for new ideas, some needed the tapes so bad, their careers depended on it. KFWB is more than not – the most influential station in radio history.

The seven original KFWB DJ’s/talent were: Bruce Hayes, Joe Yocam, Al Jarvis, Elliot Field, B. Mitchel Reed, Bill Ballance and Gene Weed.

Here’s what I have: Chuck Blore’s creativity extended off the air as well. In 1959, KFWB took out a series of classified ads (who did that?). These are more like teasers – but, there were many. Reading one of these – you just had to tune in to “Color Radio Channel 98:”

KFWB Classified Ads - 1959

Here’s another goody re: KFWB and 1959. The KFWB “Color Radio” jingles – the first of their kind, had a distinctive, memorable signature. I found this, from 1959 – though, if you did a search, you’d never know it – because the name of this tune is “Image” – but, it’s really something I call the, “KFWB Boogie.” So, you have the KFWB melody/jingle made into – a sort of 1959 dance tune. Imagine that – the first time I’ve ever heard of a radio station trademark “jingle” turned into something you could dance to – a single onto itself.

Part 2 is actually the shaker – part 1 is a little mellow. But – it’s the KFWB jingle – loud and clear!

“Image” – Hank Levine (part 1 and “boogie” part 2)

Gary West

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