When Radio Played Records

I went down stairs to the archives tonight in search of my old David Bowie albums. While I have access to everything via Spotify, I wanted to hold in my hands the actual records that I had loved and played many times and put one or two on the turntable for a spin.

Among the LP’s are a couple that I  liberated from a local radio station where I was working in 1982. WRHY at 92.7FM started life as a Free form progressive rock station around 1972 and had morphed into a tighter but still rocking station in the late 70’s and then… they fired all the DJ’s and went to the syndicated “Music of Your Life” Big Band Nostalgia format.

Clearly there was no further use for the David Bowie albums here, so I gave them and a few others a new home…

These albums are artifacts from the era when Album Rock Radio actually played the album on the air. Sometimes they would skip. That was always fun… Anyway, Here is the cover of Station to Station, released 40 years ago this month. If you remember hearing “Golden Years” or  “TVC 15” on Starview back in 1976, this is the actual physical album you heard.

Note the tape aound the edges. image1


This sticker was to tell the DJ’s which cuts were suggested for airplay. My favorite note on this album is in regard to track 1 which could be played “When Time Allows”  That track,  “Station to Station” clocks in at over 10 minutes and that, my friends, is what free form radio was all about…



Turning to the back side, we have more DJ notes regarding the tempo of the songs, if the end faded or ended cold and in this case someone took the time to make sure we knew where the words began and ended…



We also see on the lower left some DJ Graffiti. A back and forth between 2 or 3 different DJs. Starting with “Criswell predicts next single” pointing to the song “Stay”.  I’ll let you read the follow on comments.

FullSizeRender (4)


By the way, the record is in remarkably good shape and plays perfectly. The music, of course, is timeless.

The Top 897 Albums of All Time

I decided to re post this one – because I heard that YOU had not had the chance to read it when it first went up back in 2008. Enjoy! And don't forget to argue.

One of our local radio stations WTMD 89.7FM in Towson Maryland recently did a countdown of the top 897 albums of all time (89.7FM = Top 897 – Get it! radio people… ) anyway as a lover of lists in a list loving land I was enthralled.

The station solicited votes from listeners – we were encourage to send our top 10 albums of all time and the staffers, along with the help of a Cray XT-4 supercomputer would compile the list and Play it for us during the entire month of February.

It was a great month of radio and interesting to hear the diversity of recordings included in th list. Everything from Ella Fitzgerald to Public Enemy made the list. Here's the Top 25.

The full list is HERE

1. The Beatles – St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. The Beatles The Beatles (aka The White Album)
3. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
4. The Beatles – Abbey Road

5. The Clash- London Calling


6. Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
7. U2 – The Joshua Tree
8. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks
9. The Who – Who's Next
10. The Beatles- Revolver
11. Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin IV
12. Radiohead – OK Computer
13. Paul Simon- Graceland
14. Rolling Stones- Exile On Main Street
15. Grateful Dead- American Beauty
16. Beatles- Rubber Soul
17. Neil Young- Harvest
18. Bob Dylan- Highway 61 Revisited
19. Nirvana- Nevermind
20. Counting Crows – August and Everything After
21. Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue
22. Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
23. Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced?
24. Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed

25. Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers

None from the 21st Century.

3 from the 1990's

2 From the 80's

12 from the 70's

7 from the 60's and 1 – Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" from the 1950's, Which, by the way, is one of the most played around my house over the past 20 years.

The first 21st Century release shows up at #33 Wilco – "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot".  An album the Warner Music paid for TWICE. It's a great story.

The top ranking Female artist album was at #36 "Blue" By Joni Mitchell. Now, I LOVE Joni, but I can hardly listen to those early records anymore. The air is thin up around those notes – it makes me dizzy.  Personally, I would have "Court and Spark" – #99 – ranked highest among Joni albums followed by "Heijira" and Maybe even "Hissing of Summer Lawns"  before I got to "Blue"

Speaking of Women. Carole King's "Tapestry" a core element of every teen-aged girl's record collection in the 1970's  ruled the charts for months.  It show up here at number 46.  This is where this list starts to smell fishy and the gloves come off.  I'll start – Tapestry a greater album than "Tommy",  "Axis Bold as Love"  "Songs in the Key of Life" or "Hotel California"  I don't THINK So!

That's the fun part, debating favorites and defending personal tastes.  Music is so personal, so powerful and so polarizing. Damn,

Whaddda ya mean Devo "Freedom of Choice" is at # 876?? That is easily a Top 800 record!


KDFC San Francisco

KDFC part 2

Nearly 25 years ago I began a career in Broadcast Advertising sales at a company that represented Classical Radio Stations exclusively. We had a fine roster of major market stations, many that had been in the format since the dawn of FM radio.
Shortly after I joined the company we added a new client station, KDFC San Francisco. The station owner was Ed Davis. After returning home from serving in World War II, Ed boarded a train a train and arrived in San Francisco. In 1948 he obtained the license for 102.1 FM and launched KDFC as San Francisco's Radio Concert Hall.
By the time I met Ed in 1984 He was a wealthy man, but not from selling radio ads. He had made much more in Real Estate, including acreage atop the Mountain in Sausalito across the bay from San Francisco where he built a tower for his station and was later able to rent tower space to numerous other broadcasters. For those of you who are not broadcast engineers, FM radio relies on height to get the optimum coverage and Ed bought the highest ground before most people even owned an FM receiver.
He saw the future before others. He was in the right place at the right time and more importantly knew he was in the right place at the right time.
KDFC was the first station to broadcast in stereo. The first to have unattended overnight automation and in many more cases Ed was quick to innovate.
Ed would have loved Flycast. To be able to listen to his great station as I am now, on an iPhone on a train between Philadelphia and Baltinore would brought him great joy.
So Ed , thanks for your vision and passion for great music and quality broadcasting. By the way, 60 years later, that Mozart guy is still a star and I am thrilled to have KDFC on the Flycast.fm network.

Hershey Park – A new podcast

Hershey Chelsea and I made a few recordings over the past month and finally we’re getting them uploaded. Here is the first of a couple new podcast posts.  This one features a bit of discussion about a trip that day to Hershey Park and by Chelsea’s request, the Dead Milkmen and their classic "Instant Club Hit"  – Better known as "You’ll Dance to Anything".

It’s a short one – only 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Download HersheyPark.mp3  A little longer than a roller coaster ride…

Internet Radio in Serious Danger

Riaa_horns_1 If you enjoy listening to music over the Internet – and who doesn’t?  – then PLEASE pay attention and act on this important issue TODAY.  A new royalty structure, pushed for by the RIAA and announced on Monday March 5th, 2007  by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board would immediately and dramatically change the way Internet radio stations pay royalties to music copyright owners. Currently royalties are a calculated as a percentage of revenues generated byt the station. The new structure calls for a fee per song, per stream. This would increase the amount charged by 1,000%, effectively killing the business.

Every channel – no matter how few listeners it attracts – would be subject to a $500 minimum per year.  Which seems pretty arbitrary to me.  You can read more details Here.

How you can help.

Sign the Petition at SavetheStreams.org

Contact your Congressional Representatives.

Listen to some Internet radio today and marvel at the myriad of choices.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Radio Hannibal 

AccuRadio – Pick a micro niche and customize it, very cool.


SOMA FM – Great grooves here

Pandora – you can also click on the customized Pandora streams over there in the left hand column of this page

WTMD Our Local No-Commercial station- we’re lucky to have ti available over the air.

We are also lucky to have WRNR sorry they don’t stream but I had to mention them too if I was going to plug WTMD.


This Just In: WDVE 102.5FM Pittsburgh Still Sucks

From 1976-1980 I attended Bethany College where I was part of a dedicated bunch of freaks that based their lives around the college radio station, WVBC. It was a 10 watt station but with our tower perched atop Old Main, the tallest building on campus we got a decent Mono signal that could be heard all over town and a few miles down the pike.  Meanwhile 45 mile to the north-east from the top of the US Steel building in downtown Pittsburgh was the massive 50,000 Watt-stereo-processed-o-the-max-flame-thrower-power-house, WDVE.  At the time they were playing a popular version of album oriented rock called "Superstars" a format reproduced around the country which focused on artists rather than hit singles – playing multiple tracks from a new Eagles album for example and not just the hit.  It was a success and they were our arch rival.

Of course, they didn’t know we existed, but never mind that. We needed to win in Bethany.  We needed to be connected to the community and over an alternative to the mass market formula fare that was WDVE – and we did. 

So, the other day, I happened to be on the WDVE website – (long story) and hit the button to listen live. First song – Lynyrd Skynyrd – "Tuesday’s Gone"  Lynyrd  followed by Steely Dan "Reelin’ in the Years".  CantbuyathrillBoth of these songs would have fit right in on WDVE and frankly, depending on the DJ, also on WVBC in 1977.  They would have been "Library Tracks"  not current, not even – "re-current"  but not yet Golden Oldies.  Both songs were about 5 years old at the time and had already been played to death.

But they still spin – well not exactly spin – let’s see, they played it first from the LP, then from a Cart, then from a CD, and now from an Audio Vault.



But still they play them over and over and over and over. In the couple of days that have passed since I heard them, they have played them yet again. 700 song playlist – 4 minutes a song 2800 minutes of music 1440 minutes in a day – yeah they’ve repeated them by now…

So, the bottom line: WDVE Still Sucks.  Meanwhile at WVBC, it is January term so the station is running on automation – the kids come back next week. On a quick call to the station office I asked what the last few songs were. 

Gwen Stefani, Mariah Carey, and 98 Degrees. 

Well, let’s see – it’s a bit after 12 noon – hmmm in 1980 My shift ended at Noon and Mark Wilcox came on – I hated his taste – and he hated mine and it appears that he is still holding down the Noon – 2 slot…