In this week’s issue… Mourning a New York radio icon – Boston AM heading back to the air – Format changes in NW PA, Upper Valley – EMF’s Jersey Shore vacation – Buffalo broadcasters go national for Hall of Fame – Toronto’s new(-ish) CHUM, and newer AM

By SCOTT FYBUSH

Jump to: MENHVTMARICTNYNJ PACanada

*Another radio legend has left us.

Dan Ingram, one of the signature voices of New York’s legendary WABC (770) from 1961 until 1982 and then a vital part of WCBS-FM (101.1) in its golden years, died Sunday night at age 83 in Florida after several years of failing health.

Ingram was a native New Yorker, born in 1934 in Oceanside on Long Island. He attended Hofstra College, worked in the area at WNRC in New Rochelle (now WVOX) and at WALK in Patchogue, then spent three whirlwind years growing his career from WICC in Bridgeport to WNHC in New Haven to KBOX in Dallas to WIL in St. Louis – and then back to New York at Mars Productions, where he eventually talked his way into WABC’s afternoon job, which he started on July 3, 1961. While his shifts would change – there was a move to mornings in the late 70s and then back to afternoons – Musicradio 77 would remain his home right up until his last “Hey, Kemosabe!” on “the day the music died” in 1982.

Ingram was not only an iconic part of Musicradio 77 on AM, he was also the creator and host of “The Other Dan Ingram Show” on the backwater that was then WABC-FM (95.5) in the sixties, where he played blues and jazz starting in 1967.

Along the way, “Big Dan” was the voice on the air at WABC when the 1965 blackout hit. He was the voice of the famous 1971 boast that WABC was only 13th in the ratings… “in Pittsburgh!”, and he was the very last voice of Musicradio 77 on that day in 1982 when WABC switched to talk.

When Musicradio ended, Ingram was slated to become a key part of the “Superadio” syndication service, keeping the feel of WABC going nationwide. After that venture failed to launch, Ingram went into syndication anyway, hosting several national shows and spending a year on WKTU (92.3). And then in 1991, he joined other former WABC colleagues up the dial at WCBS-FM (101.1), working weekends for 12 years until departing on this very week 15 years ago. (It’s the final item in our “This Week in NERW” segment at the end of the column, ironically enough.)

Ingram was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2007 and returned to WABC several times to appear on the Memorial Day “Rewound” segments, but he would never again hold a regular shift on New York’s airwaves after 2003.

“He was to radio what Johnny Carson was to late-night TV,” wrote his WABC colleague Howard Hoffman early this morning on Facebook. “What Willie Mays was to baseball. What Mort Drucker was to MAD Magazine. He was the gold standard. It can’t be described. It had to be heard. When you come across how many people say they got into the radio business because of listening to him growing up, you’ll know how powerful his charisma was.”

“Jeg elsker deg” was how Ingram would often sign off over his signature closing music, “Tri-Fi Drums” – a Norwegian “I love you” to his wife, Anita.

“Big Dan” was beloved by generations of New York radio listeners – and an inspiration to a generation of radio people who followed him (including his son, Chris, who’s been working in radio in the area for decades.)

Share your memories of Dan Ingram in our comments – and we’ll have more on his legacy in the next issue of NERW.

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In addition to our cover photo of WELI in Radio Towers Park in Hamden, Connecticut, we have a page that features Rhode Island Public Radio affiliate WNPN.

In the spring you’ll see KNZZ in Grand Junction, Colorado, KXNT in Las Vegas and WLVL in Lockport, New York.

Summer brings Long Island’s WLNG, KLBJ of Austin and the Nebraska Rural Radio Association’s KRVN.

Fall features WEEU in Reading, Pennsylvania, WLLH in Lawrence, Massachusetts and KSTN in Stockton, California.

Order by Sunday, October 21 and receive a free Fybush pen with your calendar.

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Or click here to subscribe and enjoy full access to current NERW and Tower Site of the Week columns and two decades of searchable archives -- for as little as 25 cents per day.

If you are already a member, please login to view the rest of this column. (If the site does not recognize your username, don't panic! Either your subscription has expired and we need to reactivate your account, or your username and email do not match our payment records and we need to link them. Please email Lisa,  or call her at 585-442-5411, for instructions.)

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From the NERW Archives

Yup, we’ve been doing this a long time now, and so we’re digging back into the vaults for a look at what NERW was covering one, five, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago this week, or thereabouts.

Note that the column appeared on an erratic schedule in its earliest years as “New England Radio Watch,” and didn’t go to a regular weekly schedule until 1997.

One Year Ago: June 26, 2017

*Make your way way up I-287 toward the New York state line and you’ll hear “North Jersey 1500,” John Silliman’s WGHT in Pompton Lakes, which announced later in the week that it will be ending its commercial existence in August after 53 years on the air. The former WKER signed on in 1964 and has been in Silliman’s hands under its current calls since 1993, when he bought it from founder and namesake Robert Kerr.

The 1000-watt directional station has struggled with its daytime-only status on a frequency dominated by Washington’s powerful WTOP (now WFED), and it has a few more strikes against it: its equipment, we’re told, is in need of a near-complete overhaul and its low-lying transmitter/studio site is ever more susceptible to catastrophic flooding.

The future for WGHT is, as yet, a bit uncertain; we’re told that Silliman intends to donate the license, at least, to the local school system so it can be used as a training ground for students. Will the school have the resources needed to rebuild the AM signal, or to seek out an FM translator in the limited window that opens one month from today?

*Our NEW YORK report starts, as it must, with the death of the man who effectively created the job of “TV news reporter.”

Gabe Pressman, who died Friday at 93, had already been a newspaper reporter for a decade when he joined what was then WRCA (660) in 1956. Two years later, he began reporting for sister station WRCA-TV (Channel 4, today’s WNBC), becoming one of (and possibly the) first reporters in New York to appear regularly on camera from the field. For decades, Pressman was a fixture wherever news was happening in New York. He left WNBC in 1972 for Metromedia’s WNEW-TV (Channel 5, now WNYW) but returned in 1980, and he was still reporting for WNBC as recently as this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. (photo: WNBC)

Five Years Ago: June 24, 2013

*It was Armstrong time in Yonkers on Monday, as admirers of the FM inventor (present company included) joined city officials and historians for the dedication of a long-overdue plaque honoring the great man.

Under a blazing sun, and broadcast live from across the river on WA2XMN, the Armstrong memorial station at 42.8 megacycles on your vintage FM dial, Yonkers mayor Mike Spano joined city councilors and Armstrong relatives to tell the Major”s story. Several family members spoke of the Major”s days living just across Warburton Avenue from the site at Hudson-Fulton Park where the plaque now sits, made possible by donations of more than $4,000. The money was raised by Steve Klose, a New Jersey man who knew of Armstrong first as a fellow motorcycle enthusiast, only later learning of his important place in the radio pantheon.

Ten Years Ago: June 23, 2008

*It was a bad week for Cumulus’ WRKI (95.1 Brookfield CT), after a lightning hit on the station’s tower knocked its main signal off the air last Saturday (June 14). Photos of the fire were the talk of the engineering community early last week, as the experts pored over the shots of flames erupting from the top of the tower and speculated on what happened. The answer, as it turns out, was a melting radome on the lower bay of the station’s two-bay ERI rototiller antenna, and the result was a damaged antenna and a silent station.

WRKI was back on the air at reduced power by Saturday night, and many listeners never even noticed the outage, since classic rock “I-95″ reaches the southern half of its Fairfield County listenership by way of on-channel booster signals in Bridgeport and Norwalk. Unaffected by the lightning strike, those signals stayed on the air at full power – and we hear reception was actually a little better than usual in Stamford, where the boosters and the main signal usually interfere a bit with each other.

*Emmis has picked a PD for its New York rock outlet, WRXP (101.9). Leslie Fram comes north from Atlanta, where she’s spent the last 17 years at Cumulus’ WNNX (99.7 Atlanta), the last ten as PD before its “99X” modern rock format was moved off to an HD2 subchannel earlier this year. At WRXP, she replaces Blake Lawrence, the last remaining holdover from the station”s previous existence as smooth jazz WQCD.

Fifteen Years Ago: June 23, 2003

Nobody ever said working in radio was a stable career path – but last week was a particularly treacherous one for radio people all over NERW-land.

We’ll start in NEW YORK, where WCBS-FM (101.1) broke even more dramatically from its long run as “WABC, Continued” – by parting ways with Dan Ingram. The WABC veteran had spent the last 12 years doing weekends on WCBS-FM – but when CBS-FM PD Joe McCoy came to him and asked him to give up the Saturday half of his shift to Dan Daniel, Ingram said no, and CBS-FM said “sayonara.”

But if Ingram’s crying in his “Tri-Fi Drums,” he’ll have plenty of company this week. Out on Long Island, talker WLIE (540 Islip) had some cost-cutting to do as well, axing Lynn Samuels from its weekend schedule – and, says Samuels on her Web site – cutting morning news anchor Tracy Burgess and midday talk host John Gomez from its schedule as well.

Twenty Years Ago: June 23, 1998

[no issue – NERW was on the road to Atlantic Canada in an era before mobile hotspots and hotel Wi-Fi and such…]

3 COMMENTS

  1. ….”Elton John…someone shaved my wife tonight” I still laugh out loud to this day. Thanks for the MANY great memories Dan..the legend lives on..condolences to the Ingram family….

  2. I do news for WXMS and was kinda curious how they first ended up with the WLUP calls – thanks for solving that one for me!

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