Rewound Radio WOR-FM 98.7 Labor Day Weekend Special

August 28, 2019

Leave it to Allan Sniffen to come up with another great Rewound Radio special for Labor Day weekend! As you may recall, Rewound Radio brought us a full July 4th weekend of Dan Ingram airchecks. Not to mention the WABC Memorial Day weekend special!

For Labor Day, Allan is presenting the glory days of WOR FM Stereo in New York City. “The Big Town Sound” on 98.7. Original WOR-FM shows from 1967 to 1971. You’ll hear the original WOR DJ’s, music, and the distinct sound of Drake/Chenault Top 40 Radio in the 1960s and 70s. This special presentation lasts 3 full days: Saturday, Sunday, and Labor Day Monday. Don’t miss Rewound Radio’s Labor Day weekend tribute to WOR-FM!

High School Football Games = AM DX Opportunities

August 23, 2019

It’s that time of year again! The 2019 high school football season has begun. Friday night lights, cheerleaders, popcorn, and, all too often, AM radio stations that stay on their daytime power/directional pattern in order to broadcast the games.

I call these “football emergencies.” Many AM stations which are required to drastically reduce power and/or use a restrictive directional pattern at night will conveniently “forget” to drop to their required after sunset parameters when broadcasting play-by-play of local sporting events. The reason is so that more listeners (and advertisers) can receive the games clearly. Problem is, this is a blatant violation of FCC rules. The FCC does allow AM stations to operate their daytime facilities during bonafide emergencies. These include earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and floods. Some program directors and general managers seem to believe this rule also applies to high school football games.

A quick scan through the AM dial on an autumn Friday night reveals several potential violators. In the age of the Internet, it’s pretty easy to determine who you should and should not be hearing from your location. Once you’ve made a positive ID on the station, check their coverage map at radio-locator.com. If you’re hearing a station from 200 miles away that is licensed for 170 watts nighttime and you’re in their directional null, it’s a pretty good bet they’re not operating within their night parameters! To confirm, try to receive this same station on a different evening. My guess is that you won’t hear a trace of them.

Since we’re not FCC enforcement agents, we might as well turn lemons into lemonade. I consider these “football emergencies” to be great DXing opportunities. This is your chance to log stations which would otherwise be impossible from your location. It’s usually very easy to identify stations running local ball games since the towns will be mentioned frequently. Also, these games tend to be heavily sponsored by local merchants. Small town advertisers almost always include their locations in their spots. “Joe Blow’s Construction, located at 123 Main Street in Anytown. Joe Blow’s Construction. Call them today at 666-3333. Joe Blow’s Construction, for all your construction needs.” These ads stick out of the pile like a sore thumb.

Let us know what you’re hearing during these “football emergencies.” Happy DX’ing!

Got A Remote Today? Watch out for the Prize Pigs!

August 5, 2019

Let’s talk about PRIZE PIGS! Every station had ’em, but some were worse than others.

May, 1991. I had just moved to Florida and needed a gig. Was hired to do 7-Midnight at a country station in Ocala. Nearly every week, I had a Saturday afternoon remote.

The station’s “hook” in getting people to come to the remotes was customized T-shirts. Our logo appeared on the front with the sponsor’s logo was on the back. It was a great promotional idea except for one small problem: the PRIZE PIGS!

There was a small but determined group of pests who would show up first at EVERY remote. These enterprising folks always arrived early, just to make sure they got their share. They all demanded shirts, of course. One for Mr. Redneck, one for Mrs. Redneck, and one for each of the 6 kids.

And FOOD! OMG! If you had ANY type of free food at the remotes, these people would be on you like flies on you-know-what. At one of my events, Domino’s had co-sponsorship and gave us 15 large pizzas, designed to last the duration of the remote. They were gone in 15 minutes!

Besides taking all the shirts and eating every morsel of food, the presence of these prize pigs was a deterrent to actual customers showing up at the remotes. Their appearance left much to be desired. As a bonus, they were severely lacking in personal hygiene skills. That unbeatable combination of body odor, stale cigarette smoke, and last night’s beer was always enjoyable when standing in close proximity. Especially in the hot Florida sun.

We eventually implemented an “18 and over” rule and extended our “one winner every 30 days” limitation to remote shirts. The piggies would show up anyway, thinking they could pester us into giving them a shirt. Or, they thought we wouldn’t remember their faces from the previous 9,652 remotes they attended.

Prize pigs are everywhere. But I’m tellin’ ya, nothing beats country listeners in North Florida for tenacity, consistency, and determination!

WFLI AM-1070 Chattanooga “The Big Jet FLI”

July 16, 2019

As most of my regular readers know, I am a HUGE fan of the Classic Top 40 format. It’s what I grew up with, listening to radio as a kid in the 1970s and early 80s. The roots of this format trace back to the early 1990s when select stations began playing “The Greatest Hits of the Seventies.” A few years later, “and Eighties” was added to their positioning statement. In some cases, they didn’t want to mention the 80s. Instead, their tag line became “Seventies and More” with “more” signifying the addition of 80s music. Later still, most of these evolved into “Classic Hits” stations. Some were great, others were okay, and some were just plain awful. The latest and greatest entry into the genre is Chattanooga’s WFLI-AM 1070 aka “The Big Jet FLI.”

Back in the 1990s, I worked for with several stations that did variations of the Classic Hits/Classic Top 40/70s Oldies format. Each had some of the necessary elements, but none had the full package.

One of these stations was Star 104.7 (WSSS-FM) in Charlotte. We had a full 100,000 watt FM signal, great facilities, and some very talented people. Unfortunately, our hands were tied by corporate ownership, consultants, and focus groups. The same “carefully selected and researched” 300 songs were played over and over again. Very little personality was allowed beyond the liner cards. After the first few books, the ratings tanked. No surprise.

In Orlando, we had the opposite problem. WOTS-AM 1220 did an authentic recreation of 1970s AM Top 40 radio. Terry Mason (my boss) was a big believer in personality radio. He gave us the freedom to have fun on the air. The problem was that we were licensed for just 1,000 watts days and a ridiculous 110 watts at night. If you were more than a few miles from the WOTS transmitter, XEB in Mexico City would clobber us with their 100,000 watts!

When I jocked in Minneapolis, I hosted a Saturday night 70s show on WTCX-FM 105.1. This was 1993, just as the 70s format was starting to catch hold. At this time, nobody else in the market was playing those songs. It worked! We had callers. We had sponsors. Just as it was taking off, our owner decided to sell the place. Everyone got the boot and the frequency became home to Alternative REV 105 aka Revolution Radio. Game over.

Licensed to Lookout Mountain, WFLI has the whole enchilada. They use their original calls. They operate on their original frequency. They even broadcast from the original building where it all began in February, 1961! I love their sweepers which include actual aircheck clips from the original FLI jocks! One of these talented folks is still there today, doing afternoons. Congratulations, Gene Lovin! It’s obvious from the first listen that these guys absolutely LOVE what they do! In an age of satellite delivery and voice-tracked stations, you just don’t hear this very often anymore.

The Big Jet FLI’s music is dead-on. All hits. No filler. Not the same burned out songs that everyone else plays. Their processing is perfect for this format. When you listen to the online stream, you get the actual AM air signal. Not a lifeless, hollow sound from the output of a computer. Their engineers have done an amazing job recreating that authentic Top 40 “sound” of the era. To anyone who doesn’t believe AM radio can sound great, lend your ears to this station’s feed!

Of course, having a 50,000 watt signal doesn’t hurt, either! In recent months, WFLI has added FM translator W249BR on 97.7 which covers the immediate Chattanooga metro area.

If that’s not enough, they have turned the entire facility into a museum! The National Top 40 Hall of Fame & Radio Museum offers tours to the public on a regular basis. It’s a great way to get the full experience of how Tennessee radio was back in the golden age of Top 40.

WFLI has become my go-to station, owning the first preset on my phone. If you own or manage an automated jukebox, this should be your inspiration. It is the best example around of what a great Classic Top 40 station can and should sound like. Give them a listen on TuneIn when you have a chance. Thank you, Big Jet FLI, for doing justice to this format!

Jeanne Andersen’s Twin Cities Music Highlights

July 15, 2019

I wanted to give a shoutout to my friend Jeanne Andersen and her most excellent Twin Cities Music Highlights website. Jeanne covers the history of live music acts and venues in Minneapolis/St. Paul up to 1974. Special emphasis is given to her hometown of St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Of particular interest to Drew’s Radio Site readers is her extensive section on Twin Cities radio stations and disc-jockeys. As you would expect, the powerhouse stations are included here: KDWB-AM 630 and FM-101.3, WCCO-AM 830 and FM-102.9, WDGY-AM 1130, KSTP-AM 1500 and FM-94.5. As you might not expect, history of the market’s smaller stations are also provided. Even long-defunct operations like KDAN-AM 1370 and WJSW-AM 1010 are covered here.

If you ever wondered what happened to the Request Radio format on KRSI or Polka Power on WMIN, this is the place to find out! Lots of rare photos and original newspaper ads are also included. Check out Jeanne’s site when you have a chance.