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Posts Tagged ‘Pete Fornatale’

Thom Morrera, Former WNEW-FM Jock, Passes Away

For a stretch from the late 1970s into the early 1980s, Thom Morrera was the overnight air personality at WNEW-FM. It was the height of WNEW’s and Morrera’s popularity.

Multiple sources confirm to FishbowlNY that Morrera died over the weekend. We’re told that Morrera died of complications from a massive heart attack last month.

Paul Cavalconte remembers his longtime friend and colleague, having worked with Morrera at three radio outfits, including Sirius.

“His many friends in the music and radio biz will miss him because he was so good at keeping up with people and being social and a gracious host,” Cavalconte tells FishbowlNY. “And also a committed mentor to many people. He earned the name ‘Father Thom’ as well.”

While playing the now-deemed “Classic Rock,” Morrera also spent time in management as the WNEW-FM music director. He returned for a brief weekend stint in the early 1990s.

Morrera’s voice was also familiar to New York Rangers fans as the team’s public address announcer for several years.

Cavalconte added on his Facebook page, “I will miss his candlelit holiday feasts, summer cocktail fetes, phone chats, e mail hits and most of all encouragement to take it all in stride.”

Morrera’s death marks the second passing of a WNEW personality this year. In April, Pete Fornatale died a short time after suffering from a brain hemorrhage.

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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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Hiatus for New York Nonstop’s All Night with Joey Reynolds

It’s been just over three months since veteran broadcaster Joey Reynolds tried a return to TV, a medium in which he worked a little  earlier in his career. His show–All Night with Joey Reynolds– airs at midnight on WNBC’s digital channel New York Nonstop. In a way, it’s an extension of his long overnight radio work with WOR that ended last year.

Now, the show is on a hiatus. Show producer Myra Chanin says the program will return “soon.” Chanin tells FishbowlNY that she thinks the show will be back on the air ”within a week or two.”

The show is already off the air since Thursday morning with no rerun playing in its place.
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Menu: DJ And Woodstock Chronicler Pete Fornatale Talks Tim Russert, Rubbernecking & “House Hippies”


Today’s media- Morning Media Menu podcast got a visit from a pro, as longtime radio DJ Pete Fornatale joined hosts Jason Boog of GalleyCat and AgencySpy‘s Matt Van Hoven to discuss the day’s media headlines and Fornatale’s recent projects.

“I miss Tim Russert,” Fornatale said while discussing the weekend’s story about a possible truce between General Electric-owned NBC and Fox News that has silenced attacks between Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly. “I really miss Tim Russert because that was the place you could go to for civilized conversation, even between combatants.”

Russert was also on Fornatale’s list of people to interview for his book, “Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock.” Russert attended Woodstock in 1969, Fornatale said. “But before I could reach out to him, he was gone.”

Also discussed: The New York Post ending its dispute with ESPN over its coverage of the Erin Andrews scandal and reports that companies are trolling the Internet for any mention of their company, good or bad.

Regarding the latter, Fornatale said, “It reminds me of the record business in the late ’60s, which was just so straight arrow that they didn’t know what to do with this new genre of progressive rock represented by groups like Cream or Jimi Hendrix. So what they did was that each company hired what came to be known as the ‘House Freak’ or the ‘House Hippie,’ the person who could speak to those groups and not make them feel alienated from the corporate culture that they were getting involved with. That is going on right now.”

Speaking of the 1960′s, Fornatale also talked his recent book about Woodstock. “It was so obvious that this was going to be a watershed moment that I started collecting — in the first year after the festival — first person accounts from people backstage, from people on stage and from people in the audience,” he explained. “My original intention was to do it for radio specials, which I have done over the course of the last 40 years.” Using his original interviews as a starting point, Fornatale worked with his son to fill in the gaps and create the completed finished product, just in time to coincide with the festival’s 40th anniversary.

You can listen to all the past podcasts at and call in at 646-929-0321.