Monday, May 18, 2009

The Music Doesn't Sound At All on WABC! (Bong)

Some Internet commentators are predicting that we could be seeing the end of the recent resurgence of music programming on otherwise all-talk WABC.

Since 1999, every Memorial Day has featured a program called "WABC Rewound", in which old airchecks (recordings from the radio or the station's audio board) of classic WABC personalities such as Dan Ingram, Ron Lundy and Cousin Brucie are "de-telescoped" - that is, the music being put back in, having been previously excised to allow easy critique on the air personality's performance. This allows listeners to hear the shows as originally intended. Classic-era WABC jock and longtime production director Johnny Donovan, Peter Kanze, "restorian" Rob Frankel and other station staffers were most instrumental in creating this presentation. However, the station announced this year that the former on-air presentation will not occur and that the show will become available on Memorial Day as podcasts.

Five years later, WABC premiered a Saturday Night Oldies show hosted by Mark Simone. The show is only minorly evocative of the old WABC presentation, since Simone does a lot of his own schtick like "fake breaks" and his constant reminiscing with a small cadre of callers. The show has also been supported by a message board on the website. Now that site's webmaster, Alan Sniffen, as big a supporter of WABC as you'll find, has now publicly called for WABC to cancel the show. What's changed is the station's program director (no longer Phil Boyce, who supported these diversions into music) and positioning, now calling itself on air "WABC Radio Network" and now relying more on national or syndicated personalities rather than locally produced programming.

The next week or so should be interesting, but remember this: listening to AM radio today is about as quaint as listening to a gramophone. So be it.

1 comment:

Bruce S said...

Dave - I say the almighty buck will tell the story here. If the management of WABC is satisfied with the advertising dollars that Saturday Night Oldies brings, the show will stay. I think there should be some serious revisions to the show. Elements like the nostalgia talk that have become stale whould be minimized or eliminated. I would like to see each show simulate a day in the past such as May 18, 1966 with Mark playing only hits of that day.

--Bruce Slutsky