Long Island Radio History
Please check back frequently for updates!
Last

June 21st, 2013

This is a work in progress.  Many people have been consulted to try and make this site as accurate as possible.  Some information may be slightly inaccurate as contact has been lost with many others who lived this history.  Some information may also be slightly outdated, so please feel free to contact me if you know of any mistakes herein.  Information followed by a question mark (?) still needs to be confirmed. Please send an e-mail to the update link below.  We answer all correspondence and would be happy to make the updates and corrections.  Credit to those who have contributed can be found at the end of the FM page.

The stations are set-up as follows: AM first, then FM, then stations that have gone dark (there are some surprises!)

If the station has a link, it will be highlighted and will take you to that specific station's current website.

Share-time situations are indicated as *s/t W???*.  Some licensed educational stations began as carrier current stations.  These stations are listed by the year they signed on as a carrier current, followed by the mode and band, then by the year and band they were eventually licensed to.  A station that went on in 1950 as a carrier current on the AM band, but later was licensed in 1959 as an FM would look like this: (1950 CC-AM/1959 FM).

 ***NEW*** We've added another section for translators, outlets which, by law, can only relay the programming of a fully licensed station.  All of the translators on Long Island (on-the-air and proposed) relay (or will relay) stations that originate programming from Connecticut (more on that below).  When and if LPFM stations happen (and there are two stations proposed that have made the cut... one in Central Islip, the other in
Ridge), they will be listed in the FM section by frequency (since LPFM stations are suppose to originate their own programming).

Click below to submit an update:

wackradio@tampabay.rr.com

AM Stations:



540 (WBIC, WLIX, WLUX) WLIE - ISLIP (1960)

Awarded to Islip after a long battle, WBIC went on in 1960 as 'Big Signal Radio'.  The first format was Top-40, then MOR with Lee Murphy as PD (later of WINS fame).  Mitch Lebe (News Radio WCBS 880) also worked there back while it was still WBIC.  Other formats included Beautiful Music, Top 40 and a religious format from the 1980's through the early 90's. In the mid 1960's, WBIC dropped it's calls in favor of WLIX.

The WLIX Tower Fell on March 28, 1969 because of teenaged vandals (one teenager was killed).  At the time of the accident, the Newsday article had the station listed as WLIX.  According to news anchor Don Warran (1970-72), the studios were still located on the second floor over the Islip Post Office at the time of the incident.  Detailed information about the tower incident was sent in by Paul Guercio (merlinproject@gmail.com), and can be found on the 'tower fell' link above.  Paul, who previously worked for Dick Scholem at WGSM, moved to WLIX as the morning man, and went to the scene of the tower crash when he couldn't get the WLIX transmitter to turn on.  At the time, Paul had only been morning man since that January, Ken Bell was the morning news man/one-man bureau, George Williams was PD, Del Raycee was GM and Malcolm Smith was the owner.

On a side note, in 1989 Paul Guercio developed a computer software program called 'MERLIN,' that accurate plots the timetable of future events with a greater than 75% accuracy, and is currently a co-founder with LASIK laser inventor Dr George Hart of The MERLIN Project(r) Research Group. Both Paul and George are regular guests on CNN, NBC, NPR, Premier's 'Coast-to-Coast with George Noory' and FOX News Radio's The ALAN COLMES Show.  More information about Paul and George can be found at: http://projectmerlin.com or http://timetraks.org.

Other staff included Warren Green (daytime news) and Paul Roberts (Zarcone) at midday.  Incidentally, Warren Green also worked at WGSM, WNYG, and for the Suffolk County Legislature.  Other noted LI jocks that worked at WLIX were Ted David (news 1969), Joe Roberts (later on WBAB), Steve Dunlop, Bill Andres, Kevin Jeffries, Roger Alan Wade, Joe Manno (1975 to 78), and Bill Whitney (later of WCBS Radio and also worked at WGSM & WGBB).

The transmitter and tower were over by Islip Speedway, just south of the Southern State Parkway.  According to WLIX alumni Bob L. Goodman (1975/76) and Steve Dunlop, the studios were later located across from the original Islip Speedway in a model home at 2960 Sunrise Highway.  In 1978 WLIX again moved it's studio and offices above the old Sunset Drug Store on Main Street in Bay Shore, just a couple of years before Sunrise Highway was widened.  The model home was eventually torn down to make way for new service roads.

One of our nation's top voice over talents, who also came from WLIX's early broadcast days was Rich Bartholomew.  According to Rich, in 1974 the studios were still located above the post office, and the station was owned by Malcolm Smith.  At the time, WLIX ran the Drake Chenault Hit-Parade via audio automation installed by Malcolm, consisting of a mix of light top 40/AC format on 10.5 inch reels, several cart machine carousels with live news on the hour.  Other alumni from the 1974 WLIX roster include: Lance Drake, Jennifer Smith with the news, John Tuminelli and Dave Bornstien.  Sadly, Rich passed away in December of 2009.  He owned a professional voice talent company based out of Charleston South Carolina, and his voice-overs have been featured on national cable channels such as: TNT, The Weather Channel, and HGTV.  You've probably also heard his distinctive voice in the past on countless movie trailers and TV news promos.

WBIC/WLIX had always been a day-time with 250 watts and only in December 1991 did it begin to operate 24 hours with 1Kw daytime and 204 watts at night.

Owned at the time by LI Multimedia with an MOR format (which had at one time owned "This Week" Publications), WLIX became standards WLUX in October 1995.  The studios were relocated to Farmingdale from 1995-2001.  An application for a taller tower along with a power increase to 1000 watts was filed with the FCC and granted.  The current studios are now located on Route 231 in Deer Park under the ownership of Stan and Stuart Henry.  While the station was Standards, it employed Matt Taylor as the Program Director, George Wright held afternoons and Steve Reggie did morning drive.


Join The Official Joe Roberts Yawn Patrol Club
(Above Courtesy Of Sue Martin)

In 2002, the station changed call letters to WLIE and started operating under the banner of "Island Talk 540 WLIE".  While under the programming guidance of PD John McDermott, the station featured what is considered by many, some of Long Island's best live local talk radio programming.  Air personalities on WLIE included David Weiss (morning drive), John Gomez (mid days) and Ed Tyll (early afternoon first... then moved to afternoon drive).  Other legendary personalities included Max Kinkel (Geo-Political fill in) and Lynn Samuels (weekends).

Although WLIE is noted for officially being Long Island's first full service all News/Talk station, the high cost of running an all talk format quickly took it's toll.  In September 2003, WLIE released virtually all of it's live talk radio staff and switched it's format to Business News (syndicated satellite programming) in October of 2003, ending a very short run as Long Island's first and only full service talk station.  Reports in 2007 had the station's format listed as brokered Spanish/Religious.

WLIX Air-check from TechnerVideo on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TechnerVideo#p/search/0/9wEex9IyjTc


740 AM WGSM - HUNTINGTON (09-01-51)

Studios originally in the Sammis Building on New York Avenue in Huntington, in 1968 they moved to Rt 110 and the Northern State Parkway.  Edward J. Fitzgerald founded the station and Jack Ellsworth (WALK, WLIM) was the original PD.  An early attempt at FM (106.7) failed.  WGSM was originally a 1kw station, then a 5kw 3-tower directional station (they received a power increase for 25kw 4-tower).

WGSM was one of many stations which comprised the "Long Island Network" providing "Long Island Network News" for WGSM and WGBB (5 mins at :55; 2 mins at :28, and 15 min news at 7:15am, 12 noon and 5:15pm).  One tower fell because of vandals in the late 1970's just before the 25kw power increase, at which point the station was forced to remain at 1kw until repairs were made.  Blaise Leonardi (sales and promotions), who passed away *October 17th 1997, made WGSM home and also worked at Long Island stations WRIV, WBAB and Westwood One.  In addition, Blaise also worked as a national sales rep for ABC Radio Networks for many years.

Paul Guercio was doing midday / afternoons at 'GSM starting in the fall of 1966, and was 'on' a goodly part of each weekend.  Paul says: "I also did all of their 'Man on the Move' street pieces and most of the feature pieces as well.  When I was there, Bruce Herbert did morning drive, Ken Lamb did mostly midday, Ed Marshall (Marshack) did occasional daytime and weekend shifts when he wasn't recording, dubbing and editing his weekend temple weddings.  Bob Mikell and John Bohannon were there when I first arrived in early '66.  I was hired by PD Mel Clark, Dick Scholem was GM, Phil Roberts was Blaise Leonardi's boss in airtime sales, and Ray Adell was doing his deals as well as Reports and The Fisherman's Forecaster.  Phil Harris was Chief Engineer.  The station was owned at that stage by Peter Bordes and Joe Rosenmiller of Greater NY Media.  I also did some street news for Bob Allen who ran Long Island Network News which fed hourly news to 'GSM, 'GBB and at various times several other area stations, reported by people like my long-time friend Mitch Lebe, WINS's original Saturday morning teenage disc jockey."  In January of 1969, Paul moved on to WLIX as morning man.  He eventually took a job at CKSO, a 50KW station in Canada (Sudbury, Ontario), where he did mornings, overnights and some TV.

Another noted personality to grace the halls of WGSM was David (Dave) Hart, who in his Hicksville High School years was an avid listener of WGSM.  So much so, that during summer vacation he drove from Levittown to Huntington to the station, which at the time had studios at the New York Avenue location.  Dave pitched his new radio program idea to then WGSM PD Mr. Walter Neiman.  Two weeks later he was on the air every Saturday afternoon for one hour hosting his new original program "A Cavalcade Of Teens", a simple (live) show consisting of spinning records and inviting teens from high schools around the area to come on-air for interviews to answer questions about the music, the lyrics, etc. ("Would you drop some money in the jukebox to play the record"? "Would you buy it"? "Would you buy it for the lyrics, or because you liked the tune"?, etc.)  As luck would have it, Perry Como was also a regular listener of WGSM and enjoyed tuning into Dave's program.  As a favor to Dave, Perry played a part in a skit for the Christmas show that Dave wrote for his weekly Saturday program.  Dave's career in radio and TV brought him in contact with Perry on more occasions.  'A Cavalcade Of Hits' lasted the better part of a year on WGSM, and when Dave completed school, he heard that Walter Neiman had left 'GSM to become PD at WQXR-FM in New York City.

Mike Harrison, now publisher of Talkers Magazine, worked briefly at WGSM, as well as at WLIR too.  Formerly of LI Network News, Richard Funke (quarterback at CW Post and at GBB, he used an air name we can’t recall right now) became a fixture on TV in Rochester NY, and Jack Arnecke had a long career at channel 6 in Albany.  Other noted air personalities at WGSM were Ted David (CNBC Anchor), who worked part time weekends, Tom Preston (News Director WGSM & WCTO circa 1973-74), Steve Dunlop (hired by Tom Preston, later went on to anchor the news on channels 4 and 5 in New York City), Joe Manno (1979), the late Bruce Herbert (see below photo), and a very young Alan Colmes (WNHC New Haven, WHN when it was Country, WPIX FM, WABC, WNBC, WMCA, WEVD and Fox News Syndicated Radio).  Dave Browde was also hired by News Director Tom Preston at WGSM, and later went on to be a reporter in NY City TV.  Last we heard, Dave is now an attorney.


Bruce Herbert On The Air at WGSM
Long Island radio personality Bruce Herbert (WCTO/WGSM).
Photo courtesy of Jerry Mehrab

Wes Richards moved from station to station in LI radio for years before his talent took him on the air to NYC and behind the scenes in NY TV.  To the best of our knowledge, Wes was on WFYE or WTHE, WHLI, WGBB and WGSM.  Now semi-retired, Wes has a local talk show on a small station in Pennsylvania.  Wes was also a mainstay voice of WCTO’s automation before Ken Lamb.  They kept using Wes’ voice on the automation too, after he left WGSM as news director.

For many years their old Gates 5kw transmitter was the standby auxiliary at WLIM in Patchogue.  The calls have been said to mean 'Worlds Greatest Sounding Music-Station'... but some are sure it means 'World's Greatest Suburban Market' (a reference to Long Island).  Fire severely damaged the transmitter site in 1993.  Formats included MOR, AC, Country and Radio Disney.  Sold to K Communications (based in Flushing) in April 2001 for 2.5 Million (K buys time on Multicultural's WZRC-1480 New York).  A Korean-based format was eventually installed, but for unknown reasons, the station had been off the air for several months.

A recent call letter change to WNYH had been approved by the FCC.  Most recently, AM 740 in Huntington had refreshed itself with a new format: "Great Oldies".  Unfortunately, the new "Great Oldies" format only lasted a few short months.  You can also click above on the WGSM main banner for a fantastic journey back in time featuring a photo retro-tour of the old WGSM studios, courtesy Jerry Mehrab.

WGSM Air-check from TechnerVideo on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TechnerVideo#p/search/9/QJVXK5_dRXA

(*Above Correction Courtesy Of Stan Schneider)


1100 AM WHLI - HEMPSTEAD (07-22-47)

Day-timer, 2-tower directional, but was originally a 250 watt non-directional station.  WHLI's famous tower site is located just north of the Southern State Parkway by Grand Avenue with the call sign on the southwest tower in Hempstead.  It's FM (WHNY, WHLI, WIOK, WKJY) actually signed on first.  Before the FM tower was erected in the early 70's, the FM antenna elements were located on one of the AM towers.  WHLI was Top-40 in the 1970's and is now a very popular MOR station (a format it has had for nearly 20 years).  The staff announcer from 1970 to 71 was Ted David, who left for a year and returned to do morning drive from 1973-74 and again from WHLI began its current Adult Standards format on Saturday, April 21'st in 1979.  There was also an advertisement heralding the format change printed in Newsday on April 20th.  Other notable air-personalities to grace the studios of WHLI were Gil Fox (ABC Radio Networks), and Frank Setapani of CBS network radio.  Mel Granick who was later assistant news director of WCBS Newsradio also worked at WHLI.  For many years, former WMCA Good-Guy Dean Anthony (Dean-O), was PD/Midday's with WGBB alumnus Gil David in morning drive.


Jack Spector

Late in 1988, legendary New York broadcaster and former WMCA Good Guy Jack Spector joined the staff of WHLI to host an adult standards show.  On March 8, 1994, shortly after starting a recording of Louis Prima's "I'm In The Mood For Love", Jack suffered an apparent heart attack and collapsed.  Following a long silence after the song had finished, radio station employees ran into the studio and found Spector on the floor.  All attempts to revive him had failed.  He was taken by ambulance to Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola where he was pronounced dead.  Jack was 65.

 

 


 


Dean Anthony

More sad news hit the Long Island radio community on October 24th in 2003 when yet another New York radio legend had passed away.  Dean Anthony was also one of the original jocks during the '60's hey days of NYC radio at WMCA.  Known by his listeners as 'Dean-O On The Radio' he was an original "WMCA Good Guy" who welcomed the Beatles, Rolling Stones, plus the entire Motown and British Invasion into the "Big Apple", as well as into the USA.

 

 

 




W
HLI was owned by Barnstable Broadcasting, who sold its four Long Island radio properties to Connoisseur Communications for $23 million. The properties include WBZO, WIGX and WKJY.


1240 AM (WGBB, WBAB) WGBB - FREEPORT (1924)

Officially Long Island's first commercial radio station, WGBB actually started as a local farmer's Ham/Amateur Station (we would love confirmation on the call letters if anyone has knowledge of them).  WGBB was at 100 watts and shared frequency with other locals on 1230 for years.  The original studios were 200 feet from the tower, then from the late 1940's studios were at 44 South Grove Street in Freeport.

Notables in the 1950's were Tony James, Jay Nealy and Dave Michaels.  Broadcast studios from 1966 thru late 1980's were from 1240 Broadcast Plaza in Merrick with transmitter located off Atlantic Avenue in Freeport.  Dave Vieser was one of the famous "Super-6" jocks there in the Top-40 heyday with Bob "Bullet" Ottone, Gil David (now at WHLI), Don Rosen (now with WRJN/WEZY Racine WI), Al Case (Al also served as the Chief Engineer and set-up the wonderful sound of the station's famous organ reverb).  There was also the famous WGBB "Car-Box Jackpot" (623-1240). In the late 1960's Susquehanna Broadcasting tried to move the transmitter site north toward Mitchell Field, but engineers convinced them to keep the tower in Freeport because the signal was better near the water.  Due to structural problems, the tower was replaced in the mid 1970's.

Other notables who worked at WGBB in the 1970's & 80's include: Juliet Poppa (1010 WINS), Deborah Wetzel (WCBS FM), Bill Whitney, Frank Setapani, Betina Gregory, Larry Kofsky, Howard Liberman, Ed Grilli, Bob Lawrence, Jim Quinn (who later moved onto WPIX as Dennis Quinn), Roy Reynolds (known as Your Boy Roy), John Ryan, Tracy Burges (WBAB & WFAN), Ted David (1969-70 - DJ / also Long Island Network News plus weekends 1986), Gary Lewi (news), Dave Hunter (also news), Steve Andrews (moved onto WPIX), Gary McFarlane (known as Chuck Taylor, morning man on B-95.5 WYJB in Albany), Drew Scott (afternoon News Anchor from 1972 to 73'), Ed Marshall (Marshack) who hosted a Sinatra Show on WGBB from 1981-1988, and renowned national talk show host Alan Colmes (WNHC, WHN, WPIX, WABC, WNBC, WMCA, WEVD and Fox News Syndicated Radio), filling in for Dave Vieser.

Former WABC and WPIX FM and WCBS FM DJ Bob Dayton also worked at WGBB late in his career.  Dayton was famously fired from WABC when he played “Happy Birthday” in honor of the 25th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.  Seems innocuous by today’s standards, doesn’t it?

John Schmidt of the NY Jets and Jerry Grote of the NY Mets each had short sports shows (a few minutes often over the phone) on WGBB sometime during the ’69-’71 period. 

Flipped to a talk format before it spent time as WBAB-AM (the 2nd LI AM with those calls) in the late 1980's when it simulcast the then co-owned FM.  Simulcast with WALK-AM in 1997/1998 during daylight hours as the Sunrise Radio Network (WGBB was often 7 seconds behind WALK-AM because they stayed in delay for their talk programming at night and on the weekends).  Currently owned by Multicultural, WGBB is currently broadcasting an ethnic-based format.  Studios are located in the old original WBAB/WNYG building on Route 109 in Babylon.

WGBB Air-check from TechnerVideo on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TechnerVideo#p/search/0/tpNSJ65_xQU


1290 AM WGLI - BABYLON (9-4-58 to 12-89) WZZU (app: 1996)

A radio concern, headed by William H. Reuman (who also owned 1600 WWRL-New York City) was granted a license for AM service in Babylon in 1958.  Originally slated for 1300 kHz... (Lucky 13) moved to 1290 because of WAVZ in New Haven CT.  There is some speculation that the studios moved from Madison Avenue to Peconic Ave.  The fact is that WGLI's transmitter, studios and 3 towers were always at 1290 (originally known as 7290) Peconic Avenue Babylon town just changed the name of Madison Avenue to Peconic Avenue.

One of the most respected stations in LI history, WGLI had 2 FM's in its short 31 years (see WKTU-FM 103.5 and WMJC-FM 94.3 above).  Was Top-40, MOR, Talk/Full Service and Oldies during its life.  Friendly Frost (acquired 3-1-60) and Beck-Ross Communications (acquired when they were known as Warwick Associates on 6-22-66), were among the station owners.  Dick Moore was one of the many famous LI jocks on the station, along with Bob Ottone and Al Case (Bob and Al moved on to WGBB in the 1970's).  Was part of the Island Broadcasting System.

Legend has it that one of the Chief Engineers (who had an apartment at the station) haunted WGLI after his death.  Everyday you could hear him walk toward the transmitter to change power.  After the transmitter was removed when the station went dark, the ghost disappeared!  We know it wasn't the first CE... Fred Porter, who was the first, is very much alive!  As for the apartment, Mr. Porter says that it never really was finished (he said they couldn't get a CO for it).  The space was taken over by Jerry Warren (station manager and morning show host).  Another noted Chief Engineer for WGLI between 1961 and 1963 was Carmen DeVito, who worked with Frank Steel and Ken Bell (also WGSM).  Carmen was also a devout Ham Radio Operator (WA2GYX), and later worked as an RF engineer for WABC TV. Photos of Carmen DeVito at WGLI are posted on the Wackradio WGLI Tribute site.

In the mid 60’s, Gordie Baker, formerly of WINS, was PD at WGLI and later worked at WGSM.  Dick Heatherton, later of WCBS FM also worked at WGLI.

In the late 1960's, the chief engineer was Frank Sthele.  According to several vintage news articles, the history of WGLI includes 3 fire incidents which occurred in the late 60's, of which all were apparently caused by a station employee.  The articles are genuine, but were provided through an outside web source not affiliated with WackRadio.com, therefore we've included a disclaimer that advises our viewers they are leaving this web site to visit an outside source that contains information about the fires that took place at WGLI in the 60's.  Click here to view the articles.

In 1973, Mark Shannon worked at WGLI with Michael Patrick Botty, Ken Mitchell, Lee Raines, "Boss" Bob Stevens, and John Lybinski (John L. Hoeffling). Jay Mitchell was PD in those days, and Frank Cambria was the Chief Engineer.  John Allen and Terry Tyler did news.  The New York Daily News Golden Gloves Boxing Ring Announcer and fill in announcer for the New York Islanders, Kevin Van Meter could also be heard on WGLI doing sports play-by-play.

Jerry Mehrab became the chief engineer in the mid 70's (he also was the assistant CE at WBLI, co-owned with WGLI by Beck-Ross).  Beck-Ross sold the AM to Greater Long Island Communications in October 1978 (headed by Dennis Israel and Ken Knijin), and the station simulcast with WRIV in Riverhead for part of the day (WRIV was also owned by Greater LI Communications).  In the 1980's the staff included Bob Dayton (WABC fame), Maria Milito (Q104 Fame), Barney Pip, the late Jim Saunders and Dennis Falcone.  Ken "Spider" Webb provided pre-taped programming for the station and Mark Rosenman hosted a Monday evening sports talk program.   

While under the PD guidance of Bill Trotta, the 1984 DJ lineup was:

5:30 - 10am: Tommy Dee
10am - 3pm: John L. Sullivan
3pm - 7pm: Bill Trotta
7pm - 12 midnight: Frank Stevens
Midnight - 5:30am: Sal Domino
(DJ Line-Up Courtesy of Manos Demetris)

WGLI was considered an oldies station when it was sold for the final time to WADO in 1988.  The oldies programming ended in August 1989.  WADO first simulcast on WGLI, but because of a problem in the antenna tuning unit (ATU) at tower #2, the station could no longer broadcast at its licensed daytime power of 5kw.  The ATU problem caused a distorted coverage pattern, prompting management to shut the station down so WADO-AM 1280 in New York City could increase power (which it was able to do 11 years later).

In 1990, the vacant radio facility was vandalized and a fire destroyed what was left of the building.  Two of the three towers were still visible from Sunrise Highway in North Babylon for many years (the self-supporting tower was put up after WGLI went dark).  An application was filed in 1996 to assign the call letters WZZU to the 1290 frequency, but was never granted.  Was 5kw day, 1kw night, 3-tower DA-2 (originally was 1kw-U DA-1, received a power increase in 1963).  More information and photos of this station can be found on the WGLI page.


1370 AM WALK - PATCHOGUE (1952)

500 watt AM on the water in Patchogue, broadcasting from the infamous 'fish-bowl' studios on Colonial Drive.  For many years, the station was under the guidance of Ed Wood Jr. and Jack Ellsworth.  Jack, who later moved on with George Drake to purchase WYFA, which later became WLIM, returned to WALK-AM on June 4, 2001 (49 years after he helped launch the station).  Bob Klein did mornings in the 1970's (he would stay on after the station was sold to American Media) and Frank Brinka was the news director (Frank also stayed on after the sale).

WALK never really had a format... instead different programs would present different styles of music (MOR/Jazz during the day... Beautiful Music and Classical at night), but always with a heavy emphasis on news and local events.  WALK AM/FM was sold in 1980 and the AM continued to simulcast the newly installed AC format on the FM until December 1992 when the AM split from the FM and played Christmas music for the holiday.  The response was so overwhelming that the AM would repeat the Christmas music again in 1993 and 1994.  Even though the AM split from the FM for good in 1995 with a light oldies format, the station returns to all-Christmas every year from Thanksgiving to New Years.  Tried a live morning show starting on March 4, 1996. Rob North (aka: Rob Jeantet of WNYG), was the first host, followed by Al Lewis and then Joe Lupinacci, who came on board in April 1998.  The morning show was dropped a few months later (possibly with the end of the Sunrise Radio Network?).  Simulcast with WGBB-AM during daylight hours in 1997/1998 as the Sunrise Radio Network.  The light oldies format has morphed into a more mainstream oldies format (1950's-1980's) over the past few years, but now with the return of Jack Ellsworth (and the end of WLIM's Big-Band format), the station has switched to standards with added brokered programs on in the early evenings.


1390 AM WRIV - RIVERHEAD (6-55)

Originally owned by W.K. Macy (Suffolk Broadcasting), and later partly owned by Chet Huntley of Huntley/Brinkley (NBC), WRIV was MOR for years.  Studios burned less than a year after the station went on.  WRIV was part of the Island Broadcasting System (with WALK, WGBB, WGSM and later WGLI).  Broadcast veteran Ed Marshall was among the many announcers on the air in the 1960's.  For a brief period, WRIV simulcast with WGLI-AM in Babylon.  Had an AC format in the mid 1980's, but returned to its MOR format soon after.  Ted Brown spent time at WRIV after WNEW-AM became WBBR and although he is not there anymore, can still be heard on WRIV's voice ID's.  Here is the story about the WRIV tower site (many thanks to Bruce Tria): Dennis Israel sold the 7 1/2 acre parcel to a Riverhead developer in the early 1980's.  WRIV would lease back the 3 acres it took for the tower and ground system for about 30 years, however WRIV and the landlord had a dispute that resulted in the station moving its tower in 1989 to a municipally owned site.  As Murphy's Law would have it, the municipally owned site was set to be expanded and WRIV was again forced to move. The station has since moved to a more permanent site in Riverhead.  WRIV's website has an extensive look at the history of this station (click above).


1440 AM (WBAB) WNYG - BABYLON (1958)

Initially owned by the Babylon-Bay Shore Broadcasting Company, WNYG AM was first licensed as WBAB 1440 AM at 500 watts (the FM followed), then increased it's power to 1kw in 1962.  Originally, the AM had simulcast the FM for years as WBAB AM & FM.  According to a newspaper article uncovered in the early '90's, there was earlier talk of splitting the station and starting an all-news format on the AM side back in the mid 60's.  But, in the mid 70's, the AM split from the FM and became WNYG 1440, broadcasting a gospel format instead (NYG stood for 'New York Gospel').

Due to financial problems, the FM was sold in 1979 while the AM continued under numerous formats.  WNYG was sold again in June 1994 to Beinvenida Communications, switching to a Spanish format.  Due to more financial difficulties, the station was publicly auctioned in January 2000.  While the transfer was taking place, the oldies format was reinstated (from 12:01pm on April 3, 2000 until 1:00am on June 14, 2000), with many of the old staff rejoining the station.

M
ulticultural Broadcasting assumed control and changed WNYG to a CHR format.  The on-air staff consisted of students and became known as "Student Radio 1440".  An application to move the transmitter location to the WLUX tower in Islip was filed with the FCC, but never approved.  

For 8 consecutive years 1440 WNYG was called "The Spirit Of New York", a Contemporary Religious station operated under an LMA agreement by Free Indeed Broadcasting Inc., which also brokered time throughout the week.  On November 2nd 2009, Multicultural Broadcasting reassumed complete control of the station, ending the longest single format run in WNYG's history.

WNYG went officially dark from the Babylon studios on July 13th 2010, but has since re-started transmitting operations from the WLIM building in Patchogue.  At the moment, WGBB's studios are still located in the Route 109 and East Drive building in Babylon.  More detailed information about WBAB & WNYG's early history is available by visiting the WBAB AM & FM History Page.


1520 AM (WKBS, WKIT, WFYI) WTHE - MINEOLA (1948)

Originally on in Oyster Bay at 250 watts... later moved to Maple Place in Mineola @ 250 watts after WGSM went on the air (WKBS was afraid of the competition... Huntington is a stones throw away from Oyster Bay).  Dave Michaels (who later moved on to KABC-TV, WABC-TV and CNN) spent time here.  Became WKIT in the mid 1950's.  Purchased by the Herald Tribune newspaper (and became WFYI) and at one time had a CP for 50kw, this station was on the Whitney Estate where it was built as a 10kw 3-tower directional station (part of the Suburban Radio Network).  Studios were in the basement of Roosevelt Field.

During the 1960's they had an MOR format called "Tribune Radio" which included production elements from Dan Ingram's "Mars Productions".  Later, the station settled back into a small site on Maple Place off Jericho Turnpike (1kw day) before making its way to its present site in 1985.  Was News/Info as WYFI, switched to Country about 1966-67, finally steering into a Gospel format as WTHE.  Currently owned by Universal Broadcasting who also owns WVNJ in New Jersey.  Daytime only.

Al Case has put together a fantastic site all about WYFI, WGLI and WGBB, full of wonderful pictures and memories that we're sure you'll enjoy!  Here's a tip - keep your volume up!  Click the link below:


Al Case's WYFI Memories & More!

A couple of noted DJ's during WTHE's Country Music era between 1968 & 1969 were Bill Dante, who later moved to a station in Wichita Falls, TX in late 1969, and Dave Perkins.  The photo of Dave was taken at KPRC (NBC Radio/TV for Houston in 1969).  Dave was the morning voice for Country 1520 WTHE.  The program director during the station's country music format was Don Karnes.  Click the photo for an expanded view with more info about WTHE's Dave Perkins:









David Perkins KPRC

A special thanks goes to Wes Richards for submitting additional information about the history of WFYI:

WFYI, Mineola:  In March of 1965 the station moved its studios at the Roosevelt Field Shopping Center (as it was then known) to the transmitter site on the Whitney estate, then the largest open parcel of land in Nassau (some 700 acres).  It was an economy move.  The offices remained at the shopping center.  So, each afternoon, someone would have to drive from Manhasset to Garden City to pick up the next day's program logs.  Usually, it was me.

Two program directors of note at WFYI: Gene Edwards who later went on to similar duties at WTFM and Andy Benedict, a veteran of WRFM and WPIX FM in New York.  News Director John Frogge (rhymes with brogue), was also the track announcer at Rooosevelt Raceway.  John came to Herald Tribune Radio, WFYI from WGBB, where he had been news director and commentator for 22 years.  Al Case had been chief engineer at WFYI.

 
The Whitney family sold all of its suburban stations in Kingston, Mt. Kisco, New Rochelle and Mineola, as its Herald Tribune Newspaper foundered.  But, John Hay Whitney told me himself that they would have kept WFYI, except that his sister, Joan Payson (first owner of the NY Mets) had a house on the family estate and objected to the tower lights, which reportedly blinked into her bedroom window.


1570 AM (WAPC, WHRF, WRCN, WRHD, WRHZ, WFOG) WFTU - RIVERHEAD (1963)

Was originally started by Dr. Lee Morrison and his 3 brothers to continue the WPAC-1580 signal to the east.  Was Top-40 as WAPC and WHRF (known as "Wharf Radio" and the jocks were the "Captains of the Sound"... Don Cannon was here at this time), and then rock when its sister FM switched to rock in 1974 as WRCN. Notables there were George Flowers and Bill Croghan.


(Above Article Courtesy Of Sue Martin)

Had a Country format in the early 1990's, then switched it's image to Z-Rock which was short-lived under the WRHZ calls.  The station has a 2-tower array next to the old Flanders Drive-In.  One announcer said you could watch the movie by going outside during records.  The drive-in was closed in the mid 1970's and has since been torn down, but there is evidence of it (the floor of the snack stand and the islands for the ticket booths are still there).  Spent almost a year off the air from the fall of 1999 to the fall of 2000, but returned, again simulcast WRCN-FM like it was before it went dark, with the WFOG calls.  Sold to Five Towns College in April 2001.  New format has not been completely installed yet.  Latest calls are WFTU. (1kw day/500watts night).


1580 AM (WPAC, WSUF, WYFA) WLIM - PATCHOGUE (1952)

Considered Rick Sklar's first radio home, the very first studios were located in downtown Patchogue with the transmitter plant in Bellport.  Originally licensed for 250 watts, WPAC was first owned by the Morrison Brothers.  Dr. Lee Morrison was the General Manager, his brother Morty was the chief engineer, and kid brother Herb was... well, nobody really knows what Herbie did!  The trio also owned WAPC in Riverhead.  Dr. Lee Morrison was a faculty member at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, as a professor of communications since 1967.  Dr. Lee passed away on July 16th 1981.


FIRST WILLIAM FLOYD COMMENCEMENT 1953 - Walter T . Shirley, about to deliver a
few words to the first 8th grade class to graduate from the brand new school, of which
he donated the land for. A young principal Walter Wallace Thomas is seated behind him.
Patchogue radio station WPAC covered this big event.


Early WPAC Promotional Items - 1966 Record Calendar & Advertiser Wall Clock
(Above 3 Photos Courtesy of Seth Morrison)

Legend had it that WPAC had a CP for 50kw, but instead, decided to extend its programming via WAPC (1570) in Riverhead.  Noted air personality Gil Fox (ABC Radio Networks) started as an afternoon Disc Jockey at WPAC in the 1960's, and later moved onto WFAS in Westchester County, then onto WHLI in Hempstead and then to WTFM in Lake Success.  Paul Guercio (WGSM, WLIX) also worked weekends and overnights at WPAC.  The transmitter and studios were eventually moved to Woodside Avenue on the Medford/Patchogue border.  The controlling company was Adams-Getschall Broadcasting Corporation and the managing principals were Mr. Jim Putbrese and Mr. Richard (Dick) Adrian. Gene Pfeiffer was the chief engineer for WPAC AM/FM (10 KW/5 KW N-DA & 5KW FM) and WHRF AM/FM (5 KW/DA & 5 KW FM out of the Flanders Drive-in theater in Riverhead)) from 1969 to 1975.   Gene also performed additional on-air duty as The Midnite Cowboy on Country Roads C&W radio show, simulcast over all four radio stations - 6 nights a week.

Early in 1975, WPAC-AM/FM was sold and a country-rock music format as WSUF was attempted for a period of time before going dark and burning twice on the very same day, that same year. The transmitter room was the only section of the station that remained virtually undamaged.  One can still see evidence of the fire above the ceiling tiles.  Gene Pfeiffer rebuilt the station in 1976 re-licensed as WYFA (Where Your Friends Are) including replacing miles of stolen copper antenna ground-wire and cable.  Within 15 minutes after WYFA first was signed on the air, Gene resigned his position as C. E., after a business dispute with the station owner Perry Silver could not be resolved.  Gene successfully moved on to work in television beginning with WWHT
(The Movie Network).

Air personalities included Frank Todd (mornings), Scott Taylor (from WYFA to overnights on WBLI), Don Stephan (mid-days), Cathy Cunningham (PD), Bob Buchmann (later to WBAB), Jim Saunders (later to WGLI), Jim (Glasscock) Driscoll (went to WYFA from WBLI and then onto WGLI), Joe Manno (1978) and Jim Pierce (from Sachem High School's WSHR, later onto WRCN and WBLI).  Also among the air-talent team was news anchor Drew Scott (TV-55, WPIX-11 and News 12), and Don Stephan (mid-days at WYFA and went to WBLI as Don Nelson).  There was also reference of a person referred to as "Harp" who worked there, which we believe is referring to Steve Harper.

Special thanks to WYFA morning man Frank Todd for sending us an early air-check filled with some great memories!
Click here for RealAudio
®:Frank Todd Aircheck (Real Audio)or Windows Media Player®:Frank Todd Aircheck (Windows Meda)
Also, a very special thanks goes to Scott Taylor for sending us more WYFA air-checks from 1980:
RealAudio
®:
Scott Taylor Aircheck (RealAudio) or Windows Media Player®: Scott Taylor Aircheck (Windows Media)

In 1981 the station became WLIM (Long Island Music), after Jack Ellsworth and George Drake purchased the AM.  In the early 80's, Bob Dorian (AMC) spent some time at WLIM as the morning man.  Jack had programmed WLIM in a similar fashion to when he was at WALK (with Jazz/standards and Bob Stern's Broadway/Hollywood Revue during the day and lighter sounds at night).  A day long tribute to Benny Goodman (with Goodman at the station) officially put WLIM on the map.  Their Candlelight Concert was heard daily from 7-8pm and was one of the last outposts for the once popular Beautiful Music format.  Other notables at WLIM were Bob Stern (mid-days and late afternoons), Bruce Barlow (first announcer on WLUX), Gil Ellis (WOWO, WGSM), Patti-Ann Brown (News-12), Mike Murphy (known on-air as Mr. Murphy), Rich Keith (WALK, WRHD), Teddy Savalas (yes, brother of the late, great actor Telly Savalas), Lilla Savona (WNYG), Tom Lucciani, Frank Ruisi Jr. (WNYG), Neil Macchio (WNYG, News-12, ESPN), Lou Koulias, Ed Lacinski (who, besides engineering duties with George Drake, hosted the annual Patchogue-Medford Holiday Concert for 18 years), and Steve Greco to name a few.

One interesting note: long before Jack Ellsworth started WLIM, he was the Program Director at WALK FM.  His keen ability to recognize talent helped kick start the career of a very young DJ who was just starting in broadcasting.  After the audition and interview, and without hesitation, Jack hired him on the spot.  His name was Dan Ingram, who later launched a long career working for Musicradio 77 WABC in New York City.  

WLIM was the first and only AM STEREO station on Long Island, and was considered the most unique of any Popular Standards station (it was very true to the roots of the music, in an age where older demographics are not sought after by advertisers and agencies).  Please feel free to visit the WLIM Tribute page on the WACKRADIO.COM web site.  Included are many photos of WLIM, as well as Jack Ellsworth's original radio demo transcription from the late 1940's.  The WLIM tribute page is dedicated to both Jack and his wife Dorothy (Dotty) Schriber, who for over 20 years were responsible for bringing WLIM's superb music selections and information programming to Long Island.

Sad news arrived on July 16th 2013, when we heard that Dorothy (Dottie) Shiebler, the wife of Jack Ellsworth had passed away at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center, after complications from illnesses. Dottie was 85.  Even more sad news arrived less than 2 months later on September 12th, 2013, when we also learned that Jack Ellsworth had passed away after suffering from a recent illness. Jack was 91.  Both Jack and Dottie were true Long Island radio icons, and will be missed but never forgotten.    

Sold to Polnet on February 15, 2001, WLIM went dark from its last day as standards (May 18, 2001) to the first day Polnet started broadcasting (June 1, 2001).  Originally, Polnet ran nothing but CD's while completing a hookup with it's Chicago flagship.  By mid-June 2001, the hookup was completed and WLIM joined the other simulcast stations on the Polnet network.  Latest update reports WLIM went to Spanish broadcasting in November of 2005.  WLIM is non-directional day, 2-tower directional post-sunrise/pre-sunset (critical)... 3-tower night (10kw/5kw/500watts).

Additional information about WPAC was provided by Gil Fox (WPAC, WFAS, WHLI, WTFM, WRFM, Radio New York World Wide, WINS and the ABC Radio Network), and Gene Pfeiffer, (CE WPAC, WHRF, WSUF and WYFA).

WLIM Air-check from TechnerVideo on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TechnerVideo#p/search/0/pseMSvywSto
WYFA Air-check from TechnerVideo on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TechnerVideo#p/search/1/aFGxTkFQuhw

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