They added more issues-oriented talk shows, with an increasing number of conservative talk show hosts, although several liberals, including Colmes and Lynn Samuels, also hosted shows.
At different times in the pre-top era, famed comedian Ernie Kovacs and dean of early disc jockeys Martin Block were heard on the station. By , WABC was committed to a nearly full-time schedule of top songs played by upbeat personalities. Still, WABC played popular non-rock and roll songs as well, provided they scored well on the Top 40 charts.
WABC's early days as a Top 40 station were humble ones. WINS was the No. WABC, with its 50,watt non-directional signal, had the advantage of being heard in places west, south, and northwest of New York City, a huge chunk of the growing suburban population and this is where the station began to draw ratings.
This would be consistent with WMCA's 5,watt directional signal. He would go on to become a member of the Radio Hall of Fame and be credited as one of the pioneering architects of the Top 40 format. Under Sklar, the station went to the shortest playlist of any contemporary music station in history. The number one song was heard about every hour during the day and every 75 minutes or so at night. The other top 5 songs were heard nearly as often. Other current songs averaged once to twice per airshift.
The station played about 9 current hits per hour and several non-current songs. The non-currents were no more than 5 years old and the station played about 70 of them in total. In his book Rockin' America , Sklar said he was sensitive to payola concerns and advanced airplay.
Due to the high number of commercials each hour, WABC played no more than two songs in a row and there was frequent DJ talk and personality between every song. The station averaged 6 commercial breaks per hour but they were no more than 3 ads in a row. Often the air personalities delivered live commercials in their own humorous style, so that listeners would consider the spot part of the entertainment.
Especially in the afternoons and evenings, WABC was the station that teenagers could be heard listening to on transistor radios all over the New York metropolitan area. Due to its strong signal, the station could be heard easily over miles away, including the Catskill Mountains , Pocono Mountains , through much of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Bruce Morrow often spoke about how he felt an almost psychic bond to his young listeners.
A famous tape, or aircheck , of WABC from August features some of the DJs speaking from a window of the Beatles ' hotel room at the Hotel Delmonico during their second visit to New York City, while Dan Ingram, back in the studio, played WABC jingles to thousands of teenagers in the streets below, who enthusiastically sang along with them. Ingram later noted that this was actually illegal under FCC rules, but said that they didn't know it at the time.
Just before the famous Northeast Blackout of , Dan Ingram noted that the studio's electric power was fluctuating and began having fun with the slowed-down music.
Ingram then proceeded to run some recorded commercials and a portion of Si Zentner 's "Up a Lazy River", backtimed to the news, while commenting on how everything seemed to be running slower than normal.
These stations were not truly WABC's direct competitors because they targeted a much older audience. Chief competitor WMCA began running evening talk by and stopped playing top 40 music altogether in the fall of That lasted until April That station evolved into more on an Adult Contemporary format in and a Rhythmic Top 40 format in Then by they tried sounding older and somewhere in-between. Until , WABC remained dominant. WABC's ratings strength came from its cumulative audience, what the radio industry calls "cume".
Most listeners didn't stay with WABC for long periods of time, as the station had some of the shortest "time spent listening" or TSL spans in the history of music radio—an average listener spent about 10 minutes listening to WABC. It was the price paid for a short playlist, and numerous commercials between songs the large number of commercials being due to WABC's large audience , but what WABC lacked in TSL it more than made up for with its sheer number of listeners.
By , WABC tried becoming more music-intensive, reducing commercial breaks to three per hour. It began playing 3 to 5 songs in a row, still mixed with talk and personality, but done in a tighter manner. The station's influence could be found in odd places: The end of the s found FM radio beginning to overtake AM music stations in most markets.
In June , an FM station on That station had very low ratings and had no effect on WABC. After this initial ratings tumble, WABC panicked and began mixing in several extended disco mixes per hour and sometimes played two back-to-back. Some of the disco songs ran in excess of eight minutes.
What regular listeners heard was a major change in sound. While the station continued playing non-disco and rock songs about a third of the time, the station's familiar format had seemed to disappear and as a result, WABC began to lose its identity. In late spring , Billboard magazine reported that Rick Sklar had demoted program director Glenn Morgan to "moving carts" instead of making programming decisions.
WABC's numbers dropped for four consecutive ratings periods. During the song, DJ George Michael who also was a sports reporter interrupted to break the news that New York Yankees catcher and team captain Thurman Munson had died in a plane crash. In late summer, WABC moved, temporarily, back to their tight playlists.
At WABC, he added a huge amount of music and went as far back as He made a couple shifts longer, moved Dan Ingram to mornings, moved Bob Cruz from overnights to afternoons, and hired Howard Hoffman for evenings.
For overnights he hired Sturgis Griffin and eliminated the late night shift merging that with evenings and overnights. In the first six months of , ratings were slightly up and stable.
It was the first sign of the beginning of the end for the music format of WABC. Jeff Mazzei arrived as assistant program director from crosstown WNEW which was moving from adult contemporary to big bands and standards.
Under Clark, the station played current music leaning toward a more Adult Contemporary sound, trying to appeal to a slightly older audience, as most younger listeners had moved to the FM dial. Part of the reason was the Top 40 chart was leaning that way at that point as well. So WABC still played rock and soul crossovers in moderation, but began to move away from album cuts and more toward s and s oldies.
By early , WABC's cumulative audience was down to 2. Fewer people were tuning into WABC, listeners who had switched to FM were not coming back, and, while still moderately successful, the ship was sinking. Ross and Wilson , as the show was known, was very information-oriented, playing exactly four songs in an hour except on Saturdays when they played the usual 12 or so songs an hour. A week later, the station also began airing a weeknight sports-talk show with Art Rust, Jr.
WABC's ratings by this point were mediocre and they were still going down. Also, that March, WABC became the full-time flagship radio outlet for Yankees baseball games, a distinction the station carried through the end of the season. This would be the longest continuous relationship the team would have with any flagship station to date. Jay Clark reasoned that Yankee baseball would bring back some listeners to the station and that they would recycle back into the music format, but not even the "Bronx Bombers" could save music on WABC.
In the fall of , WABC dropped the remaining heavy-rock cuts and non-crossover urban hits. They began playing more oldies, as well as songs from the adult contemporary chart, and added an "advice" talk show with Dr. Howard Hoffman and Sturgis Griffin exited at this point. By then, WABC was almost unrecognizable as a Top 40 station, the ratings were languishing, and rumors, which began as far back as were rampant that the station would be changing its format to talk and news sooner or later.
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Gotti , the son of Gambino crime family leader John Gotti , with the attempted murder and a raft of other charges. Prosecutors claimed that Gotti was angered by remarks Sliwa had made on his radio program about Gotti's father. However, after three attempts to try him, the last on September 20, , three separate juries were unable to agree to convict Gotti on all of the charges brought against him, and the charges were dropped.
Jurors later told reporters they did believe he had a role in Sliwa's shooting. Sliwa has said he would seek damages in civil court. Michael Yannotti, a Gotti associate, was also charged with shooting Sliwa in the incident but was acquitted. Yannotti, however, was sentenced to 20 years on an unrelated racketeering charge.
Sliwa has become a populist conservative radio talk show host. This pairing was short-lived. His current cohost is veteran media personality Rita Cosby. Sliwa has been a radio broadcaster for more than two decades, most of that time on WABC-AM , where he began his career in Some, including Sliwa,  have suggested that he was forced on the station by newly elected mayor Rudy Giuliani , whom he had supported in the mayoral race.
The show lasted eight years before Citadel Broadcasting replaced the team with Don Imus. He was suspended from the show for a month in April following sexual comments he made regarding New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito , addressing himself as her "papi" and fantasizing about having sex with her.
In May , Appellants withdrew their appeal and the status and leadership of the New York State Reform Party is no longer in question. Sliwa has been married four times. He wed his second wife, Lisa Evers , in Lisa, a martial arts expert who briefly trained with the World Wrestling Federation in ,  is now a television reporter and radio personality.
Sliwa and Evers divorced in Over the previous five years, Sliwa had fathered two of Katz's children through in vitro fertilization. Sliwa was diagnosed with prostate cancer in , which he announced publicly on April 20,
77 WABC Radio - NYC's Breaking News & Stimulating Talk. Red Eye Radio is the pre-eminent syndicated overnight radio show hosted by radio vets Gary McNamara and Eric Harley airing Monday through Friday, Midnight to 5am Central. 77 WABC - WABC, Where New York Comes to Talk, AM , New York City, NY. Live stream plus station schedule and song playlist. Listen to your favorite radio stations at Streema/5(10). New York disaster raises questions about limousine safety The limo that crashed and killed 20 people failed inspection. And the driver wasn’t properly licensed.