Album Rock WXYG The Goat A to Z Celebration

June 7, 2019

If you’re a fan of progressive rock and “deep cuts”, you don’t want to miss The Goat’s A to Z presentation. Every year at this time, WXYG in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota plays their entire music library in alphabetical order. Sure, lots of stations do ‘A to Z’ specials. The difference is that The Goat has literally thousands of songs in their archives. Once a year, it all gets played back for us to enjoy.

This year, The Goat A to Z also celebrates the life of Minnesota broadcaster and owner Herb Hoppe. As WXYG posted earlier today on their Facebook page, “Herb passed away last year, but his “life force” permeates every part of our radio stations, that he built from the ground up, starting almost 60 years ago.”

WXYG’s AM signal on 540 serves a significant portion of central Minnesota. Their FM translator on 107.3 covers the immediate St. Cloud metropolitan area. In addition, The Goat is available worldwide via high quality audio stream. Album Rock WXYG’s “The Goat A to Z” began at 4:00PM local time on Friday, June 7, 2019. It usually wraps up just before the 4th of July. Now THAT’S a broad playlist! Be sure to give them a listen. I guarantee you’ll be exposed some great tunes that you have never heard before.

Player Broken? Try Barry’s 8 Track Repair Center

June 6, 2019

If you have a classic car with a stock stereo, you know the quandry. Put up with crappy sound or upgrade and lose the originality & value of the vehicle.

Barry Fone repairs and upgrades factory car stereos. He specializes in 8-track players. Being a former top level avionics tech, he really knows his stuff. Over 350 videos of his work are available online.

What’s REALLY cool is that he not only does repairs, he makes these units better than when they were new:

– Upgrades the amplifier
– Adds modern Bluetooth and USB functionality
– Adds FM to AM-only units

Best of all, he can do every one of these modifications (or all of them) without altering the outward appearance of the radio!

I’ve never met Barry and have no affiliation with him. I just happened to find his site while surfing and thought what he does is pretty amazing. Check it out if you so be inclined:

Barry’s 8 Track Repair Center

UCF Tailgate Hamfest & Swap Meet

June 3, 2019

If you’re in the Orlando area this week, don’t forget about the biannual hamfest and swap meet at the University of Central Florida. This event has been happening for as long as I can remember. The UCF Tailgate is a great opportunity to buy, sell, and trade electronics equipment of all types. Ham radios, old CB radios, computers, and other electronic items are available. Back when I was living in Florida and selling on eBay, I always attended this hamfest. I was never disappointed. Next to Orlando HamCation in February, it is the most well-attended amateur radio event in Central Florida.

The key to the UCF Tailgate is to GET THERE EARLY! People arrive well before sunrise. All the “good stuff” is gone by 9AM. By 10, it becomes a social event. By 11, it’s over until next time. People will leave early if the weather is bad and stay late if it is an exceptionally nice day. Admission is FREE. There is no cost to buy or sell items. You do NOT need to be a licensed amateur radio operator to attend or participate.

Date for the summer UCF Tailgate is Saturday, June 8, 2019. Talk-in on the UCF ham club’s repeater: 443.375 Mhz. PL tone is 103.5. Besides being free, this event is a lot of fun. I used to attend every January and every June. If you’re in the area, be sure to check out the UCF Tailgate & Hamfest!

The 94 Days of Summer Starts Today!

June 2, 2019

When I was at KKEZ in Fort Dodge, Iowa, we did an annual promotion called “The 94 Days of Summer.” It coincided with our dial position (94.5) and our moniker (Z94.) Start date was exactly 93 days before Labor Day, making Labor Day the 94th and final day of summer. Other stations held similar events. The duration of summer varied from 92 to 108 days, depending on the station’s frequency!

Even though it wasn’t exactly original, I always thought it was a memorable promotion. 30 years later, I can still hear the sweepers in my mind. Our listeners sure seemed to enjoy the prizes. When you live in a northern state like Iowa with brutal winters, everyone loves summer. Those days between Memorial Day and Labor Day go by way too quickly!

R.I.P., 95.5 PLJ: WPLJ New York City 1971-2019

May 31, 2019

As I write this, I am listening to the final hours of PLJ. At 7:00PM local time, this institution of New York radio will fall silent. Over the past 48 years, it has been known under many different monikers to millions of listeners: 95 WPLJ, 95.5 WPLJ, WPLJ 95.5, Power 95, and of course, “Mojo Radio.”

Because I’m not a New Yorker, it is not possible for me to appreciate PLJ as I would if I were a local. However, as a 16 year radio broadcaster, I certainly feel a great loss as this heritage station goes dark. I felt the same way on May 10, 1982 when WABC Musicradio 77 stopped the music and transitioned to a Talk format. Ironically, WPLJ is WABC’s AM station. From 1953 until 1971, 95.5 was WABC-FM.

Tomorrow, this frequency will become New York City’s home to Educational Media Foundation’s K-Love, a contemporary Christian station. As the final hours wind down on 95.5, be sure to give them a listen. This is truly radio history in the making. Enjoy it while it lasts.

R.I.P., PLJ. It was good knowin’ ya.

Radios Included in Florida Sales Tax Holiday

May 30, 2019

The Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday will be held May 31-June 6, 2019. This tax free weekend gives you the chance to save money on a variety of hurricane and storm preparedness supplies. Of special interest to us here at Drew’s Radio Site is the provision applying to radios and batteries. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, radios up to $50 that are powered by battery, solar, or hand-crank are included in the sales tax holiday. In addition, two-way and weather band radios also qualify for the tax break. Batteries up to $30 in sizes “D”, “C”, “AA”, “AAA”, 6-volt, and 9-volt are also included.

If you live in or are visiting Florida during this time, it would be a great opportunity to update your radio equipment. FRS and GMRS walkie-talkies are included. Amateur (ham) and CB radios, too. Inexpensive handheld 2-meter and 70cm radios are available from Baofeng and other manufacturers for under $50.00.

Don’t miss the 2019 Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. Stock up on batteries, get some new radios, and enjoy a tax break on your purchases!

Rewound Radio WABC Memorial Day Weekend Special

May 25, 2019

Looking for something to listen to this holiday weekend? Check out Rewound Radio’s “WABC Rewound 2019”, now through Memorial Day. Enjoy original Musicradio 77 WABC Shows with everything that was included when they aired the first time: the DJ’s, the commercials, the jingles, AND the music!

Allan Sniffen and his friends did a GREAT job with this! In cases where the original airchecks were scoped, the music has been restored. Not only was the music added back in, but it was compressed and processed correctly to give that authentic AM radio sound that we all knew and loved back in the day. I have been listening on my smartphone via the small built-in speaker. This sounds almost exactly like the pocket transistor radios on which these Musicradio 77 shows were heard in the 1960s and 70s!

Dan Ingram, Cousin Brucie (Bruce Morrow), Harry Harrison, Ron Lundy, Roby Yonge, George Michael, Johnny Donovan, Herb Oscar Anderson, Scott Muni, Bob Dayton, Bob-a-Loo (Bob Lewis) Charlie Greer, Frank Kingston Smith, and many more. They’re all on Rewound Radio this weekend. Give it a listen!

20 Years Ago Today: My Last Radio Show

May 22, 2019

On Friday, May 21, 1999, I performed my final radio show. When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I never thought this day would come. I lived, ate, and breathed radio. I wanted to be one of those guys who never retired, who literally spoke his final words behind a live microphone.

Industries change. Economies change. Priorities change. That’s life. The roaming radio gypsy merry-go-round was a damn fun ride. It lasted for 16 years. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything on Earth. But as Kenny Rogers once said “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” I did, and I did. No regrets.

Even now, people ask me at least once per week “Do you miss radio?” My answer is always the same: “Yes, I miss being on the radio. No, I don’t miss working in radio.”

Are Memorial Day Radio Specials Still a Thing?

May 22, 2019

When I was a kid, holiday weekends meant special radio programs! Not syndicated shows, but genuine, live and locally-produced specials. In Minneapolis, KDWB had “The Memorial Day 500 Countdown.” This was an obvious play on the Indy 500 which also took place over Memorial Day Weekend. Starting at 3:00PM on Friday, KDWB would count down what they determined to be the Top 500 songs of all time. #1 was always “Stairway to Heaven.” Also in the Top 10 were “Free Bird”, “Layla”, “Roundabout”, and “Hey Jude.” The usual suspects. After number one was played, the jock would start over with number 500.

There was nothing magical about this. Several markets did it. But it WAS an annual event that we looked forward to. Most importantly, it was live and local radio. The song list in Minneapolis was different from the song list on WLS in Chicago. Which was different still from WABC’s list in New York City or KHJ’s in Los Angeles. Just as their weekly countdowns were different. That’s what made radio fun and interesting.

Do you know of any stations which still do local holiday programming? Or does it all come via downloaded .mp3 files from a national syndicator? I strongly suspect the latter. Please tell me that I am wrong.

Disc Jockey vs The Silence Sense Alarm

May 22, 2019

How many of you worked at an automated station which utilized the old Carousel system? The one with music on reels and the spots on rotating “wheels” of carts. These were common in the 1970s and 80s. Most began their lives when an established AM station built a new FM. The FM usually ran a Beautiful Music or similar format which didn’t require the personality and energy of a live jock. In order to save money, the FM utilized this machinery instead of an airstaff.

When FM achieved dominance, the roles reversed. By the late 1980s, it was the FM station that was live. The AM had been relegated to the dark halls of mechanical automation. In 1988-89, I worked for such an operation in Bend, Oregon. Our FM (KXIQ 94.1) was live CHR. Our AM (KGRL 940) was automated Classic Gold aka “Oldies.” It was here that I became acquainted with that nifty little device known as the “silence sense alarm.” When KGRL’s automation malfunctioned (a daily occurrence), the alarm would go off. There is nothing more annoying than being in the middle of a break and hearing that high pitched noise in your headphones. Instantly, your entire train of thought disappears. Your break is ruined. As in completely.

After this happened several times, “someone” decided to stop it by disconnecting the alarm speaker. It was one of those small piezo tweeters from Radio Shack. A few weeks later, the corporate engineer came down from Portland. Upon discovering this, he reconnected the speaker. “Someone” promptly disconnected it again.

The next time the engineer came down, he installed a plexiglass box over the speaker. It was one of those things that office managers put over thermostats during the Jimmy Carter “dial down” era to keep people from turning up the heat. Attached to the wall with multiple screws, it could not easily be removed.

About a week later, I’m on the air. A coworker comes into the studio and says “Hey, the AM has been dead for about 15 minutes!” I said “That’s strange. The alarm didn’t go off.”

Upon examination, I immediately realized why. Someone stuck an ice pick through the slots of the plexiglass cover and punctured the speaker! The poor thing had been stabbed multiple times. Apparently, it succumbed to its wounds and died immediately. No, it wasn’t me who did it this time!

Video may have killed the radio star, but a frustrated DJ killed our silence sense alarm!