03 December 2005

An old friend has come back to visit.

I am sitting here on a Saturday night. It's 918 PM, and I'm listening not to a CD, not to vinyl, and certainly not to FM on the audio stack in this room.

Nope. I'm listening to this old circa-early '60s Zenith AM portable I picked up at an estate sale. It's the only radio that has an AM section good enough to pull in a good distant signal despite all the electronics and computeria in this room.

Forget all the good stereo. I don't want it. I'm listening right now to WABC 770 in New York. Some of you may know that WABC was the major top-40 station in the '60s and '70s. It had some memorable DJs - Dan Ingram, "Cousin" Bruce Morrow, Ron Lundy, and others. Memorable music. And, most of all, memorable jingles!

For four hours tonight, WABC Musicradio is back.

AM faded in the face of FM's rise in the late '70s, and WABC changed formats to talk in May of '82. However, beginning tonight WABC is paying homage to its Musicradio past each Saturday night from 6-10. I was eager to check it out, and am I glad I did. They're doing it right. So very very right.

Okay, now they're playing "My Baby Loves Lovin'" by White Plains - featuring generic "rent-a-lead-singer" Tony Burrows. These songs were meant for AM radio, not FM.

When I was a kid, this pathological radio geek lived for the AM band at night -- WLS 890/Chicago, KAAY 1090/Little Rock, WLAC 1510/Nashville, and .... Musicradio 77 WABC.
The music would fade in and out as the AM skywaves sometimes broke up, but they'd always come back and sound as if the transmitter were next door.

Great crispy Buddah -- goosebump city! "(If You're Ready) Come Go With Me" by the Staple Singers. It's now blasting on my old Zenith radio. Suddenly I'm 11 years old again, listening to my Sears multiband portable radio, and content as can be.

I can't describe it further. I am giddy, I am sad, I am melancholy, I am content, I am so many things right now. How do I feel? I feel as if my grandmother, a woman whom I was closer to than my own parents, a woman who was a rock in times of turbulence growing up ....

Yeah. I almost feel like my grandmother has stopped by and we're having dinner and good conversation together.

All this over ... a radio station??!!

Damn skippy.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "The Most Music, WABC" Gleck

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