Re: WABC Sat. Night Oldies

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Posted by Chris Burger on June 28, 2018 at 11:01:46:

In Reply to: WABC Sat. Night Oldies posted by Ryan Caviglia on June 28, 2018 at 09:53:37:

Ryan, as I recall, the program ended not all that long after that broadcast, perhaps by 2008.

Unfortunately, the music ("the oldies") were dropped way too quickly and it morphed into a talk program and a boring one at that, almost by design. I couldn't believe what a low-energy program it became and I speak as someone with a lot of interest in the old WABC. Even the word "Oldies" was dropped from the title so that it lamely became the "Saturday Night Show."

As for the Dan Ingram appearance (one of two, as I recall) and now living states away, I set up an antenna and did my best to hear the program. While Dan was far from his best in his last ever interview (not sure if it was this one or not), it was great to hear him on WABC again and even through the static I enjoyed it. (I probably should have listened from my car, where the AM still gets down the East Coast slightly better than in the household with interference of some lights, etc.

It was obvious that the host (Mark Simone , at WOR since 2013) ) who did this on top of his regular weekday morning gig on the station, soon tired of the retro WABC gig. He didn't seem to have much interest after awhile in the music, the oldies and specifically nostalgia for Music Radio 77 WABC itself. I used to wonder whether Mr. Simone grew up in the tri-state area (I'm not sure that he did) as he seemed to have very limited interest in what the program tapped into: that great reservoir of local nostalgia for the old WABC (especially on a Saturday night when most folks are not up to listening to talk radio). He let his disdain for call-in listeners slip in (also during his daytime program) and it came off as a cynical exercise. The decision to entirely drop the music was the death knell for the life-blood of the program.

By contrast, until the recent ownership change at Boston's 68 WRKO (itself once New England's Top 40 powerhouse-turned talk radio outlet) had until earlier this year a successful Saturday night oldies program full of great music and spirit of yesteryear. Hosted by Jeff Lawrence (a DJ at other area radio stations), that program regularly seemed to receive great calls from fans ("wrong demo," I'm sure) who would stumble across it in their cars or at home and would add a great local flavor to the program, rooted in the station's legacy but also the very immediacy of being able to call, get on the air with the DJ and hear your song go out on the AM waves. It also played old jingles but still felt in its way "current" due to the excitement of the host and callers. The program was even able to invite back all the (living) ex-jocks for their 50th anniversary special last year.

But as a native New Yorker, I still wish WABC could somehow give up on that horrible weekend commercial programming and play some oldies (indeed any "real" programming) for an hour or two for crying out loud. I know the station is on life-support (and I still check out their daytime programs, mostly through podcasts), but act like your trying. Those hour-long commericials (leave off thee word "info") just scream "we have given up." It doesn't have to be that way.

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