K101 FM owned by engineering graduate and broadcasting magnate James Gabbert was a rather wild station. Not free form but they had what could be described as an adult top 40 format with a deep playlist where you would hear all kinds of music. The station was very successful from the early to mid 1970’s. Mr Gabbert was was not averse to climbing the antenna tower to fix a problem and he took chances with the programming not satisfied with a cookie cutter and consultant driven formula.
He had a program called Anything Goes where you could literally hear anything and this clip is a great example of his offerings from the 1972/73 period.
An exceptional double play from the AM and FM sides of the dial in Los Angeles.
The first clip is the prequel to an air check already posted to the site featuring Humble Harve on KHJ from February 3, 1967 ( thanks to reader /listener Mike Hagerty for pining down that date). A fabulous selection of songs, ads and newscast featured on a station with a top 40 format in it’s prime. Interesting that it’s the only the second day that “hit bound” Penny Lane by the Beatles is played on the station, having been obtained a day earlier.
The second clip continues our series of Jimmy Rabbit air checks from free form and alternative KROQ. The set is from Nov. 1976 and features an eclectic set of music and Jimmy’s inimitable style. Nice to hear Neil Young’s “See The Sky About to Rain” from the original Byrd’s reunion album from 1973 with Gene Clark taking the lead.
More vintage Alison Steele from the heart of the free form era on commercial radio. First set begins with Pink Floyd. Some interesting ads including one for a Renaissance album and another for the movie “The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat” with voice work by Scott Muni and when’s the last time you heard Griderswitch on the radio ?
The first clip features the famed Dr. Demento on his KSAN FM show from the spring of 1980. The good doctor began his comedy show on free form KPPC FM in Los Angeles in 1970. He was a musicologist with a vast knowledge and collection of comedy records. During the time of this show he was doing three shows. One live on KMET FM Los Angeles, one taped for national syndication and the last taped for KSAN FM.
KSAN FM in San Francisco was of course one of the pioneering FM free form stations in the country and you also hear a short bit from a call in show at the end of the clip.
The good doctor has a web site where you can listen to many past shows and also stream the latest version.
The second clip features what I believe was a retrospective show heard on KSAN ( date unknown but perhaps from 1974 based on the rerelease of the Jefferson Airplane song). You will briefly hear Tom Donahue who was the founder of the station and who passed away in 1975 plus some other content. The station would unfortunately change formats by the end of 1980.
Presenting free form radio broadcaster Vin Scelsa. A man who has had the honor of being named checked by the Ramones on their Pleasant Dreams album.
He’s worked at a number of radio stations in the New York area including WLIR FM, WBAI, WABC FM, WYRK FM and WFUV FM. He has also been on satellite and internet radio and has had two stints on WNEW FM. Vin is perhaps best known for the program Idiots Delight which has aired on various stations.
This air check is from the tail end of his first stay at WNEW. He left the station in 1982 when they narrowed their format. The creativity is still on display here as New Wave is played along with other forms of rock to make for a most enjoyable listen.
The Southern Ontario frequency of 95.3 converted to classic rock in 1991 and the Hamilton Ontario station known as Y 95 was born. The station did very well and at one point in the mid 1990’s was beating Toronto rock giant Q 107 in the ratings. Quite the accomplishment for a Hamilton station. In 2001 the station changed frequencies to 107.9 and became Y 108.
This air check from 1995 features the afternoon drive team of Scott Thomson and Lori Love. There is also a newscast by Dave Spragge and an ad for station morning man Jeff Lumby.
In April 1969 ABC started the mostly automated Love format on it’s seven stations. Brother John Rydgren did many of the voice overs. The brother was an ordained minister and he interspersed his shows with poetry and spiritual readings.
This was generally a more commercial variety of progressive FM rock. The format lasted for a short period and was heard on FM stations from New York to Los Angles. This particular broadcast was taped off KABC Los Angles in August 1969 and it includes Brother John, a newscast and a segment about Carole King by Howard Smith. Quality is not great and the tape is in mono.
Interesting to note that the group Bread who later became soft rock staples have the last track on the air check. ABC FM must have liked the first Bread album because there is another air check on the net at reelradio from WLS FM where the group and album are featured.
This is part two of the election day broadcast by Scott Muni on WNEW from 1980. A great station which retained a semblance of the free form ethos on this late date. Love the two early 1970’s Byrds tracks played. Neither track is considered the Byrd’s best but both were staples on FM rock for a time. Great memory music as they say.
I have lots of other WNEW content uploaded to the site with more to come.
The first a small segment from an automated Top 40 format on Boston’s WRKO FM from February 1968 where Donovan’s Jennifer Juniper is featured as an “exclusive.” After that Brad McNally on Toronto’s CFNY FM from the late 1970’s ( was previously featured on the site), then a Toronto station playing the Four Season’s Tell it to The Rain and finally a CHUM FM station ID from the 1980’s.