Friday, October 10, 2008


I just noticed that it’s 10/10/08. Ten-Ten. Reminded me of 10-10 WINS Radio in New York City. Not only the home of rock & roll, but its cradle, its birthplace. Alan Freed was its father and its mother was of mixed ancestry: rhythm & blues, country & western, the skiffle sound from England, some of the backbeat black sound.

“Ten-ten WINS New York” was the constant station identification and it had some of the best dj’s on the air, all matched to the dayparts. Freed was on at night when the teens would be home; jazz from Birdland later in the evening for the cool set (I must have been one of the cool listeners), and others.

But WINS was a dump. Lots of stations are; not all, but you’d be surprised at the conditions under which dj’s sometimes work, even in the major markets. I told my communications students the only thing that mattered was what came out of the radio speakers. People don’t care how dirty the studio is, what kind of junk you are using, how the place looks; just sound excited.

And WINS was excited. There was Alan Freed, shouting and beating a phone book while ringing a cow bell. The Big Beat was blaring out in our homes and our cars. It was the San Francisco earthquake on the radio.

Then WINS got sold. The last dj, after the last record, said, “More music right after the news.” Newsradio began in 1965 and never stopped.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What station hosted The Purple Grotto?


October 11, 2008 3:28 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

The Big W ... WNEW.

Eleven-Three-Oh in New York.

I was on it once for a few minutes, nailing my goal of getting my voice over its transmitter before I went to glory.

October 11, 2008 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the 50,000 watt blowtorch out of the Midwest, 760 WJR, Detroit

October 13, 2008 9:27 PM  

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