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Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Elsas’

Remembering Progressive Rock Pioneer, Pete Fornatale Dead at 66

Pete Fornatale, the man at the forefront of the progressive radio movement on FM in the late 1960s died yesterday after complications from a stroke at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center. He was 66.

Fornatale was an institution in New York radio, and at Fordham University’s WFUV. The Bronx native graduated in 1967 with a B.A. in Communication Arts. Fornatale remained on the school’s station until 1969. His future would soon be tied to WNEW-FM, with two decades at the station that long billed itself as the place “where rock lives!”

Another legendary air personality, Dennis Elsas worked with Fornatale at both stations. He was at the microphone yesterday informing listeners of Fornatale’s passing. Their friendship started 45 years ago. Still a student at Queens College, and working for the school’s radio station, Elsas found Fornatale by mistake on his alarm clock.

“I really enjoyed the show,” Elsas tells FishbowlNY. “…That accidentally hearing of his show, and liking what I heard, was the formation of a relationship, and we quickly saw that we had a lot in common.”

Fornatale had a misstep when he attempted to join WNEW in 1967, as he recalled to me in 2009.

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Famed Rock DJs Carol Miller and Dennis Elsas Remember Legendary E Street Member Clarence Clemons

Legendary saxophonist Clarence Clemons who traveled with the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for decades, died Saturday following complications of a stroke the week before. He was 69.

He was so much more than a part of the band.  The “Big Man” could be considered a sidekick to “The Boss.”

Carol Miller, the legendary Classic Rock jock, who does the night shift on Q 104.3 (WAXQ), saw the Clemons/Springsteen partnership blossom, as Bruce’s first album hit the shelves in 1973.

Miller was still working at Philadelphia’s WMMR when the future of Rock was on display.

“Bruce came on first, alone in those early shows, and did ‘Does the Bus Stop…’ Then, he would bring out the band,” Miller recalls. “When Clarence started playing, to be completely honest yet corny, he literally blew everyone away.”

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Q104.3′s Carol Miller ‘Just as Enthusiastic’ After Nearly 40 Years on New York Radio

Her voice has been synonymous with Classic Rock in New York for four decades. Carol Miller, with a one-part powerful, one-part silky voice, has been a distinctly unique combination for the genre. DJs are taught to speak to their audiences individually, but Miller mastered that trait. 

After a brief stint at WNEW-FM, she established herself in the mid-1970s at WPLJ.

The 1980s, and through the 1990s, meant a return to the legendary WNEW. That led to her current run at Clear Channel’s WAXQ/Q104.3 since 2004.

Her radio journey began as a girl growing up on Long Island, hearing the WMCA Good Guys and WABC All Americans.

“I was one of those kids that listened to my transistor all the time …I really loved it, but I never thought of it as a career because it was not what a girl would do—be a fun Cousin Brucie type of person.”

By the time Miller arrived at the University of Pennsylvania that all changed—sort of.

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New York Radio Veterans Weigh In On Ted Williams Saga

You heard about the incredible story of Ted Williams who has been homeless throughout the last 20 years in Ohio. Williams, a former radio announcer who grew up in Brooklyn, has a second chance waiting for him.

Williams got lost on the wrong track with a combination of drugs and alcohol. This week, as part of the media frenzy, Williams declared that he has been clean and sober for two-and-a-half years.

“Having so many friends and family that have battled addictions, that really popped out at me,” Johnny Sialiano says. “I was really, really happy for him for that.”

Sialiano, known as Goumba Johnny, is a radio veteran who left WKTU in December after 15 years on air.

“He’s now bearing the fruit of all his hard work in beating his addictions. It’s just an unbelievable story,” Sialiano tells FishbowlNY.

(TVNewser has the latest on Williams’ numerous job offers.)

More reactions from notable radio personalities after the jump

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Remembering John Lennon: 30 Years Later

Elsas and Lennon on September 28, 1974

Today marks the 30th anniversary etched in the minds of Beatles fans around the world. John Lennon was murdered outside of his apartment building, The Dakota, overlooking Central Park.

“There was no precedent to any of this,” Veteran New York DJ Dennis Elsas reflects. “The assassination of a rock star, that was totally new.”

Elsas, six years earlier, had what many consider the definitive radio interview with Lennon. Elsas, working at the time for WNEW-FM, spoke with Lennon for two hours that Saturday afternoon. You can hear portions of that famous interview on Elsas’ website.

The legendary DJ for more than a decade has been an afternoon fixture at Fordham University’s WFUV (90.7 FM). He recalls for FishbowlNY that fateful night when the WNEW on-air staff and listeners mourned as one for the loss of the music and goodwill giant.
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