The NY Radio Archive


WABC-FM joined the airwaves on May 4, 1948. It started broadcasting in stereo on August 1, 1963. It frequently alternated between simulcasting WABC-AM and playing classical music.

As early as May of 1966, two months before WOR-FM started playing rock, Bob Lewis and Dan Ingram had Saturday night shows. By April of 1967, Bob Lewis had a weekday show from 7-11 pm and the station was playing "Now Music" from 10am-7pm.

By Fall 1967, it experimented with additional shows on Saturday nights with music producer Tom Wilson and Chuck Leonard's "Swingin' People" in addition to "The Other Dan Ingram Show and Bob Lewis' "Some Trust In Chariots". The rest of the time, it played Broadway show music and simulcast the AM in the off hours.

By March of 1968, WABC-FM had a syndicated progressive rock format during the day (Most Music, which evolved into "Love" with Brother John Rydgren) and either Chuck Leonard or "Radio Free New York" with Bob Lewis evenings. The Saturday night specialty shows were gone.

By May of 1970, live jocks filled the schedule with such names as Dave Herman, Jimmy Rabbitt, Tony Pigg and Jimmy Fink. In February of 1971, the station became WPLJ-FM. By 1971, the schedule included Murray Roman, Michael Cuscuna (who later became a Jazz producer), J.J. Jackson, Tony Pigg, Vin Scelsa, Dave Herman and Mike Turner. But by August of 1971, the free-form format was history as the station became "Rock In Stereo" with a minimum of talk and music that comprised only the biggest album hits. Just before the change, the station hired Zacherley from WNEW-FM for nights. Weekdays included Sean Casey, Dave Cassidy, Paul Krimsler and Tom Hogan with Alex Bennet doing overnights.

Later in the 1970s, such great personalities as Jim Kerr, Pat St. John, Carol Miller and Vivian Roundtree were heard. The station became WWPR in December of 1987, but in late December of 1988 switched back to the WPLJ call letters. Kerr would continue in morning drive until the Spring of '89, but most of the other DJ's who had been around since the AOR days would be gone by 1985.

In the 90's the station rotated between various Adult Contemporary formats. In mid-2007, Disney, which acquired the station when it bought Capital Cities in 1996 (Capital Cities had purchased ABC Broadcasting in 1985), sold the station to Citadel Broadcasting. In the Fall of 2011, Citadel merged with Cumulus Broadcasting.

Click any thumbnail for a larger image.

WABC-FM 95.5

PRESS: WABC-FM Clicks with Classical Plan

Billboard - October 2, 1965


WABC-FM decides to try "top 40 classical" radio. We all know how that worked out. I'm surprised they didn't try jingles to go along with it.


PRESS: The Other Dan Ingram Show

Billboard - May 14, 1966


We had always thought that "The Other Dan Ingram Show" happened as a result of WOR-FM's success on FM. But this article demonstrates that it had actually started months before.

Other Dan Ingram Show

PRESS: The Other Dan Ingram Show

FM Guide - August, 1966


At Bob Lewis' urging, Dan Ingram tried an FM show on Saturday evenings, but Dan overdid trying to not fall back into his AM was really, really low-key. Dan eventually gave it up supposedly because there was no money in FM.

Other Dan Ingram Show

AIRCHECK: Bob Lewis' "Some Trust In Chariots" (scoped)

June 6, 1967 (31:37)

Contributed by Ken Tullipano

This is a very rare aircheck of Bob Lewis doing his Saturday night "Some Trust In Chariots" show on WABC-FM during the period in which the station was still doing it's "Stage & Screen" format of primarily Broadway show music.

The show was broadcast on Saturday nights from 7-8pm. It was preceded by music producer Tom Wilson's "Music Factory" show at 6pm and was followed by Chuck Leonard's "Swingin' People" show at 8pm and for a short time by Dan Ingram's "The Other Dan Ingram Show" at 9pm. At 10pm, Alan Grant played Big Band music and from midnight, they still simulcast WABC-AM.

We now take progressive formats for granted and it seems intuititve that the DJs would speak conversationally and not scream like their AM counterparts. But it wasn't so obvious back then as to how to format such a show. Lewis takes a very low key approach as you'll hear and tries to provide some insight into the thinking behind the music. It's very obvious that he's searching for interesting things to play and is listening to a lot of music even when he's not behind the mic.

There's even a low-key WABC-FM jingle. The Saturday night specialty shows would be gone by March of 1968.

Bob Lewis

PRESS: WABC-FM: Tom Wilson's "The Music Factory"

Broadcasting: July 31, 1967


Tom Wilson was a noted record producer, working with the seminal albums of Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkle, The Animals, the Blues Project and the Mothers of Invention. When WABC-FM experimented with special shows devoted to rock and jazz on Saturday evenings, Tom was part of it. It was great and intelligent radio.

Having said that, there was a bit of a conflict of interest: Wilson worked for MGM Records and MGM Records sponsored the show.

Tom Wilson

PRESS: WABC-FM: Do some marketing

Billboard: September 23, 1967


"The dream is WABC-FM...Logically, a stage and screen format has everything working for it."

In this editorial, Billboard calls upon WABC-FM to better promote its "Stage and Screen" format. But Claude Hall, editor of Billboard, didn't yet see what was coming.

Stage and Screen

AD: "The Stereo Sound of Stage & Screen"

FM Guide - November, 1967


Although WABC-FM was dipping into the progressive rock scene on Saturdays with shows from Dan Ingram and Bob Lewis, they were still playing Show Music during most broadcast hours.

Show Music

AIRCHECK: Bob Lewis-Beatles Press Conference

May 19, 1968

Contributed by Frank Quaranti via Rob Frankel

This is a great aircheck contributed by Frank Quaranti of Bob Lewis playing excerpts from a press conference with Beatles Lennon & McCartney, including his own interview with them. The Beatles were in the U.S. to announce the formation of Apple Corps.

This was also the press conference where Lennon admits that their admiration for the Maharishi had been a mistake. Lennon was his usual insightful but strident self and McCartney was trying to be nice.


AIRCHECK: Love Format-Brother John (scoped)

June, 1968

Contributed by Rob Frankel

These airchecks, from most probably June 15 or 16, 1968, are great sounding restorations by Rob Frankel. My recollection of the syndicated ABC-FM "Love Format" was that it was automated, boring radio, but this aircheck proves that my recollections are incorrect.

Note the interludes, interviews, other formatics, news and a great selection of music. I especially liked the reference to the band called, "The Traffic" as well as the intro, "Marshall McLuhan tells what's happening to us, baby!"

It's a little hard to perceive on computer audio, but these airchecks sounds really great - wide stereo separation with EQ that really has impact. Listening to them on a good audio system, it's easy to see why people got excited about listening to rock on FM. I wonder if today's technology has killed that impact, either because of the artifacts of solid state electronics and digital technology or because of radio station over-processing the audio.

Update:Rob Frankel has informed us that this is not an aircheck, but a demo of the format that actually preceded the launch. So that makes this even more rare than we thought it was. But it also explains why there's so many interesting bits, things which I don't believe made it into the final format.

mp3Pt. 1 mp3Pt. 2


Contributed by Neil Leibowitz

A "stereo ninety-five and a half" jingle from the "Love" syndication era. But listening to it now, it could have been a jingle for almost any format.(Updated with an expanded version in context).


AD: Don't be a snob!



This ad was probably intended for advertising agencies, not for the listening audience. Most adults (and especially agencies) were still scared of hippies in 1969.

WPLJ Psychedelic

AD: 24-Hour Rock Festival



This ad was a bit more generic.

WPLJ Psychedelic

AD: Michael Cuscuna



Michael was one of the early WABC-FM jocks who was hired when WABC-FM was apparently trying to appeal to the musical intellectuals in the audience. He later became an acclaimed jazz producer.

WPLJ Psychedelic

AIRCHECK: Bob Lewis (Scoped)

January 10, 1970

from Rob Frankel

This is a mono aircheck provided by "restorian" Rob Frankel. We hear a very mellow and loose Bob Lewis taking us through a free-form journey. As with several other airchecks on this site, note that much of the music is not the music we hear today on classic rock stations.

From the sound of this aircheck, it might only represent one channel of the stereo signal. But you know what the music is supposed to sound like anyway.

Dig those snazzy jingles!!!

mp3Pt. 1 mp3Pt. 2

AD: Dave Herman

FM Guide - May, 1970


An ad for Dave Herman. Doesn't seem like much today, but at the time, FM rock stations were trying to demonstrate that they weren't corporate (even though they were) and that they cared about individual air personalities. WABC-FM became WPLJ right around the time this ad was published.

Dave Herman

PRESS: Changes at WABC-FM

Billboard: August 8, 1970

Billboard's take on the changes at WABC-FM.

WABC-FM changes

ABC FM Station Strategy

PRESS: Broadcasting - August 10, 1970


An article about the evolving strategy for the ABC FM Network O&Os


AIRCHECK: Paul Is Dead [scoped-stereo](46:54)

July 4, 1978 rebroadcast of a Fall 1969 show

Contributed by Joseph S. Pilliteri

In the Fall of 1969, rumors began to spread that Paul McCartney had actually died in an auto accident in 1966 and that an imposter, William Campbell, had taken his place. The remaining Beatles supposedly left clues in their songs and album jackets.

Many radio stations began dissecting these clues and created special programming around the rumors, which was akin to today's "click bait". Bob Lewis created a show debunking the clues.

Lewis' show, originally broadcast when the station was still known as WABC-FM was rebroadcast on July 4, 1978 after the call letters had changed to WPLJ. This is that recording. Part 1 contains the original broadcast. Part 2 contains a segment added for the 1978 broadcast with Pat St. John who once again looks at both old and new clues.

mp3Pt1(30:25) mp3Pt2(16:19)

WABC-FM Photo Section

WABC-FM Photos

circa 1968-1970

Contributed by Allen B. Shaw

Here are some great archival photos of WABC-FM.


The WABC-FM Programming Team" including Richard Silverberg, Howard Smith, Peter Bohme, George Yahraes, Jim Smith, Brother John Rydgren, Pat Rasbach and T.J. Johnson, among others.

Know who the rest are? Let us know.


The WABC-FM Love Format Team: Brother John Rydgren, Bob Lewis and Howard Smith.


Air personality Jimmy Rabbitt


Air personality Tony Pigg. Note the Sennheiser HD414 headphones. Those were a revelation in those days. Most AM jocks were stuck with communications headphones with very limited frequency response.


Ike & Tina Turner with ABC-FM executive Allen B. Shaw. That looks like the "Live at Carnegie Hall" LP, which was released in 1971, so this might be during the WPLJ era.

WPLJ 95.5

PROMO: A 1971 Psychedelic Promo for the station



Stations really tried to be creative back then. While the results didn't always look professional, at least they didn't look like a rubber stamp from a third-rate advertising agency.

WPLJ Psychedelic


circa March, 1971

This is an ad that was placed in the program for the Fillmore East. There's several interesting things of note here: WABC-FM is crossed out to let listeners know that the station has changed to WPLJ. The format of the station is never mentioned nor implied. Nowhere does it say "rock". In fact, the illustration would lead one to believe that this could be a classical music station. This could be interpreted as either a major marketing blunder or as having respect for the intended audience. Since this ad was contained within the program for the Fillmore East, it is unlikely that the station could be anything but a rock (or possibly a jazz) station. And there is still an emphasis on the jocks, who were still considered even more important than the music itself.


PRESS: Is WPLJ Reverting to WABC-FM?

Village Voice - October 14-21, 1971


In late 1971, WPLJ placed increased restrictions on air personalities and instituted a playlist. WBAI air personality Steve Post condemned this in a somewhat inaccurate article in the Village Voice. WPLJ air personality Dave Herman responded back a week later, but left WPLJ before the end of the year and joined WNEW-FM in morning drive a year later.

WPLJ Programming Change WPLJ Programming Change WPLJ Programming Change

And Dave Herman's reply:

WPLJ Programming Change

PROMO: Zacherley

circa 1971

A promo for Zach contributed by Kimball Brandner. Not the greatest pic of Zach, but there wasn't much money in those days. I suspect this was given out at concerts that were hosted by Zach. Zach used to get a tremendous reaction when he hosted shows - he just seemed so incredibly cool - much cooler than your average DJ. And he didn't even wear his horror makeup at concerts in those days.


PRESS: Zacherley!

Metropolitan Review Magazine - Nov 2, 1971


John Zacherle hosted horror movie TV shows in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He developed a character named Roland in Philadelphia and when he moved to WABC-TV, New York in 1958 for Shock Theatre, started using his own name (eventually with a "Y" added at the end to make it easier to pronounce). While many cities had such hosts, most TV historians consider Zacherle to be the first. Zach was probably best known for breaking into the films and satirizing the contents - he was one of TVs first anarchists. In 1959, the show moved to WOR-TV and in 1963, renamed Chiller Theatre, moved to WPIX. In 1965, Zach started hosting Disco Teen on Channel 47 out of Newark, NJ.

John Zacherley

Zach with TV host Chuck McCann, another anarchic genius.

John Zacherley

In 1960, there was a "Zacherley for President" promotional campaign. Zach with Stan Z. Burns and Murray the K from WINS.

Zach was friends with Dick Clark and filled-in for Clark on tours from time-to-time.

Zach was an early progressive-rock DJ on WNEW-FM, starting in 1968, doing the morning show, of all things. In the Summer of 1969, he moved to a more appropriate shift, 10pm-2am between Rosko and Alison Steele. But in 1971, he moved to WPLJ where he stayed until 1980.

John Zacherley

Zach at the premiere of "Dracula A.D. 1972" at the Trans-Lux West theater on Broadway and 49th Street

Zach, who still sounded great and still appeared at Thriller Theatre conventions into his 90's, where he was considered to be the main draw.

Male DJs typically wouldn't be mistaken for models and Zach was mostly seen publicly in horror makeup, but as you can see from the photos in the article, Zach was one good-looking guy. He could probably have had a career as a leading man.

John Zacherley John Zacherley John Zacherley John Zacherley

Click above for larger images

Here's a pic of Zach from 2006:

John Zacherley

Zach left us at the age of 98 on October 27, 2016, just a few days short of Halloween and the 49th Anniversary of WNEW-FM.

PHOTO: Zach with Brewer and Shipley

Billboard: January 29, 1972

A photo of the great John Zacherley with Brewer and Shipley.


PRESS: Switch Hitting on ABC-FMs

Broadcasting - March 13, 1972

An article about the ever-changing evolving formats of the ABC network owned and operated FM stations.

ABC FM network ABC FM network

AIRCHECK: WPLJ's Roots of Rock w/ Zacherley [scoped - stereo]

Sunday, April 16, 1972

Contributed by Mike

In 1972, WPLJ was a year or so into the "New York's Best Music" format, but they were willing to break format a bit to host a "Roots of Rock" weekend. Many of the songs played are what we would now call "oldies", although some weren't all that old in 1972. But it was still impressive that WPLJ would deviate from format to play these tracks.

There were some bad choices: I don't see how "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" or even Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans" were roots of rock, although they were hits in their day. Seems to me those songs could have been replaced with some real roots music: blues from Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and others or some very early R&B. Hard to tell if Zach was picking the tracks, but there are a fair number of tracks out of Philadelphia, like Chubby Checker and Dee Dee Sharp and Zach spent a lot of time there. We even get to hear Zach's own "Dinner with Drac". We also hear some Beatles, the Who and the Drifters among others.

The show starts with an unnamed announcer. About 20 minutes into the aircheck, Zach takes over for the rest of the show. This aircheck constitutes about 3 hours and 15 minutes of airtime.

mp3Part 1 (60:07) mp3Part 2 (62:06)

AIRCHECK: Jim Kerr and Tom Morgan [scoped - stereo]

Friday, August 29, 1975

Contributed by Rich Barbato

This is a short segment of Jim Kerr followed by Tom Morgan playing "New York's Best Music" on WPLJ. We also hear newscaster Bill Owen from the ABC FM Network News.

Unfortunately, the air personalities don't get to do much more than back announce the records. There are a few things of interest: A record sale for "Born to Run" is announced at $3.99 per LP, which sounds inexpensive, but is actually $17.70 in 2015 dollars, not such a great deal. It was only 68 degrees and it's probably going to be at least 85 degrees on this day in 2015. And we hear a Toyota spot with the unfortunate tagline, "it will never let you go." And we also get to hear Dan Ingram voicing several spots. The segment also opens with a promo for Bruce Springsteen which sounds to me like it's voiced by Dave Herman.


AIRCHECK: Zacherley [scoped - stereo]

Thursday, September 18, 1975

Contributed by Rich Barbato

Here's a bit of John Zacherley doing his thing on WPLJ. Unfortunately and like the air check above from the same time period, he doesn't get to do too much more than back announce the records.

We do get to hear a spot from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. And we also get to hear about an upcoming Summer-end concert in Mount Vernon featuring KISS, Orleans, John Sebastian, Don McLean, Chris Hillman and Brian Auger & the Oblivion Express for just $6.50 a ticket ($29 in 2015 dollars).


PRESS: Jim Kerr

Billboard: October 3, 1981

Jim Kerr signs a five-year contract with WPLJ

Kerr signs 5 year contract

WPLJ Survey

June 12, 1984

Contributed by Myles Putman

WPLJ Survey

WPLJ Survey

April 29, 1986

WPLJ Survey

WWPR Survey

April 12, 1988

WWPR Survey

WPLJ's Top 500 Songs of the 1980's

May 24, 1996

Contributed by Rich Barbato

WPLJ's Top 500 songs of the 1980's as determined in 1996. I don't think of the 80's as a particularly strong time for music, but there's a lot of good music here, although it's a bit hard to believe that the #1 song of the decade is "Jump" by Van Halen. Same for most of the rest of the top 10.

WPLJ Top 500

WPLJ Photo Section

WPLJ Photos

circa 1971-1979

Contributed by Allen B. Shaw

Here are some great archival photos of WPLJ.


Elton John with air personality Jimmy Fink


The great John Zacherley.


A 1972 Beatles promotion. In case you don't know what they are, all those white things on the table are letters and postcards. This is back when the great radio stations engendered amazing loyalty from their audience and that loyalty was more important to advertisers than high numbers.


A promotion featuring Pat St. John circa 1973


A promotion for the station in the form of a Rolling Stones buttonfrom June of 1975


A promotion for the station in the form of a button featuring The Who, from March of 1976.


A promotion for the station in the form of a Led Zeppelin button from June of 1977.


A promotion for the station in the form of a Fleetwood Mac button from June of 1977.


Pat St. John circa 1977


Tony Pigg circa 1979


Storm Field, Jimmy Fink and Shelly Sonstein circa 1979


A promotion for the station featuring Queen, from September of 1980.


At a WPLJ reunion at the Museum of TV & Radio in 2001: Jim Kerr, Pat St. John and Allen Shaw.


At a WPLJ reunion at the Museum of TV & Radio in 2001:
(Back row L-R): Ken Meuller (MTVR Host), Dave Herman, Scott Shannon, John Zacherley, Jim Kerr
(Front row L-R): Allen B. Shaw, Pat St. John, Carol Miller.

WABC-FM/WPLJ Schedules



These air schedules are sourced from newspapers, FM Guide (which was usually a few months behind changes), Radio Guide, Richard Neer's book on FM radio, personal recollections of myself and DJs and various postings on the web, especially those of Vince Santarelli. Corrections welcomed. In some cases, the same dates are posted twice due to conflicting information from different sources. This was one shows the schedule from 1967 to late 1978.



Great jocks during this period including Jim Kerr, Tony Pigg, Jimmy Fink, Carol Miller and Pat St. John.