Posts Tagged ‘Dan Taylor’
Country is alive and kicking on Cumulus’ NASH FM, a first in 17 years on New York. It was also a rare flip to Country 40 years ago today, February 26, 1973. The WHN call letters started in 1922 at 1050. But country would have to wait several more decades and format adjustments.
By the 1960s, Beautiful Music was in full effect as WHN was resurrected for the second time. Owner Storer made the move to Country. Like today with Cumulus’ NASH FM, Country was never a hotbed for New York listeners. Nearby WJRZ in Hackensack, New Jersey, was one of the few area Country/Western spots. But it was gone by 1971, setting the stage for WHN to fill the void.
The station was sold to the Mutual Broadcasting System in the late 1970s. It got its strongest format competition when WKHK was born in 1980. By 1984, it would become WLTW. WHN prevailed, but the heyday was in the rear view mirror. Two years later, in what was the final nail in WHN’s coffin, Emmis purchased the station. It added sports talk programming to the Mets baseball games, which started in 1983. The Mets also called WHN home in the early 1970s.
On July 1, 1987, WHN’s Country format ceased in favor of the nation’s first all-sports format–WFAN. THe last voice on WHN was Dan Taylor, now WCBS-FM morning man. He talks about the station’s success, and credits program director Ed Salamon for making the difference.
Artists like Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift (left), and Carrie Underwood have made country music stronger than ever. The Country explosion is part of today’s reality TV. Blake Shelton is a judge on NBC’s The Voice, and the multi-platinum selling Keith Urban just signed on for season 12 of American Idol. Country music is one of the most popular radio formats with more than 2,000 stations playing that music across the “country.” It accounts for approximately 20 percent of all commercial music formats nationwide. Despite its popularity, the genre hasn’t cracked the New York market for years.
Each time an FM station flips format or purchases a New York City dial position, the new opportunity for Country is overlooked.
In our examination of the lack of Country in the nation’s top market, FishbowlNY gets the thoughts of former New York City Country DJs, a veteran radio programmer, and a current program director at a Country station on the outskirts of Manhattan.
First, some background.
New York, which has been in the radio biz for more than 90 years, has had just a smattering of full-time Country stations. WHN made the flip in 1973. Prior to that, only WJRZ in neighboring Hackensack, New Jersey, and Mineola-based WTHE, gave listeners the Nashville twang.
It’s a weekend four decades in the making. WCBS-FM, the venerable Oldies turned Classic Hits station, is marking a milestone, after launching the vintage Top 40 tunes on July 7, 1972. To commemorate the occasion, the station is welcoming back, or playing vintage clips of, CBS-FM’s most popular DJs.
The call letters were created in the 1940s. In those nascent days of radio, WCBS-FM was simply a simulcast for the WCBS-AM’s programming.
Finally in 1966, CBS-FM started its own format. The Easy Listening, “Young Sound” was born. A year later, a plane crash into the transmitter, forced WCBS-AM to debut its all-news format on the FM tower.
In 1969, WCBS-FM, still seeking an identity, opted for a freeform rock genre, molded in the WOR-FM and WNEW-FM style.
But it was until 1972 that CBS-FM had its niche in New York–Oldies.
Bill Brown, longtime midday jock, and late night DJ Don K. Reed were CBS-FM “originals” from the freeform days.
The station wasn’t just the greatest oldies or greatest hits of the last 40 years. It showcased some of greatest jocks in history. Dan Ingram, Ron Lundy, Harry Harrison, “Triple D” Dandy Dan Daniel, Bob Shannon, Dan Taylor, and “Broadway” Bill Lee are just a select few that could be inducted into the CBS-FM “Hall of Fame.”
Ironically, as the audience got “older,” the music got younger. In the last several years, the original feel has been slightly altered to focus on the 1970s and 1980s, while putting the 1950s “Oldies” into “semi-retirement.”
The weekend lineup after the jump.
Brian Thomas has been one of radio’s premiere programmers in the last decade. He didn’t just return WCBS-FM with DJs in 2007, he helped it return to Number 1.
So it was somewhat surprising, even for the industry with the ”nomad” aspect, that Thomas is leaving New York for a promotion. Starting June 4, Thomas will helm the CBS Radio cluster of stations in Tampa. He will keep his hands on CBS-FM from a distance, though, remaining VP of Classic Hits programming.
“I wasn’t even thinking of leaving New York City,” Thomas tells FishbowlNY. “But after six years, it is in the back of your head of what’s next.”
Always seeking the next challenge, and with his favorite markets, aside from New York, in California and Florida, Thomas was open to exploration.
“When Ben Hill [SVP/market manager, Tampa] reached out in an e-mail that said…here’s a crazy thought [in the subject line] ‘Do you have any interest in the Tampa programming gig?’ It took a week to make the decision.”
But that decision was wrought with emotion.
Davy Jones, the devil-may-care Monkee, died today of a massive heart attack in his Florida home. He was 66.
Riding the wave of the Beatles, the Monkees were born in 1966. Jones, a Brit, was placed in the Paul McCartney role. The Monkees were the creation of record producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider. With a stable of songwriters like Neil Diamond, the Monkees became an overnight sensation with an NBC sitcom and their likeness everywhere else.
Jones sang lead on several chart-topping hits including I’m a Believer and Daydream Believer.
WCBS-FM morning man Dan Taylor was saddened to learn of Jones’ passing.
“[He was] always a great performer. I’ve interviewed him several times, and I always enjoyed his stories.” Taylor tells FishbowlNY. “Especially how he had a school chum named Daniel Taylor.”
The Dan Taylor-led WCBS-FM morning show has something to celebrate, a winning month! The Classic Hits station grabbed number one in the January Arbitron a.m. drive daypart ratings.
While WCBS-FM has wrestled the overall top spot on occasion from WLTW-FM/Lite FM–it’s a different story on the breakfast beat.
Program director Brian Thomas tells FishbowlNY that this is the first time on top for Taylor’s morning show, which features weatherman Irv “Mr. G” Gikofsky and news reader Deborah Rodriguez, has been number one in New York radio.
“[It's] quite an accomplishment and that would make them one of the best rated in our history.”
That’s high praise from Thomas, as CBS-FM had the iconic Morning Mayor Harry Harrison waking up listeners for more nearly a quarter-century.
Taylor, a veteran of CBS-FM, was named morning host in 2007 after the station “deflipped” from the jockless Jack format.
The Daily News reports Taylor’s show got 5.6 percent of the audience, while WLTW, WINS, and WHTZ were second with 5 percent.
WCBS-AM was fifth with a 4.6 percent of the audience.
Among the all-important 25 to 54 listeners, WHTZ was tops with a 6.1. WLTW trailed with a 5.0. WPLJ and WINS tied for third with a 4.8.
WCBS-FM tied for sixth place with a 4.1.
At a time when women were at home playing the role of housewife (think 1950s sitcom standards The Ozzie and Harriet Show and Leave it to Beaver) Ruth Meyer was playing the role of accomplished radio manager.
A disciple of Top 40 pioneer Todd Storz, Meyer, sadly today, is largely a lost figure in the industry—except to those who knew her best.
Hired in 1958, for much of the next decade, no one wielded more influence in the market (including Rick Sklar at top rival WABC) than Meyer as WMCA program director.
Meyer died on January 21. She was 80.
“She was a super person,” Harry Harrison, WMCA midday jock under Meyer, says. “She and Steve Labunski [general manager] brought me to New York at WMCA from Peoria [Illinois]. It was late 1959.” (A saddened Labunski was informed by FishbowlNY of Meyer’s passing.)
We reported earlier this week that a former WCBS-FM music director was critical of the differences between the Oldies station then and its Classic Hits version today.
FishbowlNY reached out to CBS-FM program director Brian Thomas for a comment on that article.
Thomas says the original headline should have been called “Different Era-Different Styles of DJs.”
“Comparing jocks of different era is like comparing Arnold Palmer to Tiger Woods,” Thomas says.
Richard Lorenzo said earlier in the week that CBS-FM lacks style today.
“The ones [jocks] then weren’t necessarily more intelligent, but they were more enjoyable because they were into the craft more deeply,” Lorenzo said.
WCBS-FM has been a ratings juggernaut month after month in the Arbitron PPM survey. There’s no disputing that. The station, since leaving the bad taste from the ill-fated jockless “Jack” format in 2007, has held consistently at number two. Even twice, CBS-FM has reached the top position in the city.
However, what is up for debate is how CBS-FM compares to the original CBS-FM, heard from 1972 to 2005.
Richard Lorenzo (center) was former music director at the Oldies station. FishbowlNY caught up with him recently at the CBS reunion luncheon.
“There’s no style to it anymore,” Lorenzo admits.
CBS-FM had two ingredients that worked for its avid listeners—the music and the jocks. Throughout the years, the DJs showing off their personalities went hand and hand with the format.
“The ones [jocks] then weren’t necessarily more intelligent, but they were more enjoyable because they were into the craft more deeply,” Lorenzo says.
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