Thread: 95.5 WPLJ signing off after almost 50 years

hankpipes - 5/9/2019 at 04:47 AM

I remember when it was WABC-FM back in the day. A pioneer of AOR and a rival of WNEW-FM before going top 40 one of the most popular radio stations in the N.Y. Metro area. ir-after-nearly-50-years/

Skydog32103 - 5/9/2019 at 09:59 PM

Wow. I never thought I’d see the day. This is one of the best heritage stations in the country. Sorry to see it go.

stormyrider - 5/10/2019 at 12:21 AM

same here, although I started listening to WNEW and WLIR in about 74. Both of them are gone, too

steadyhorse - 5/10/2019 at 01:21 PM

Tony Pigg, Pat Saint John and my favorite Carol Miller I’ve missed them since 1983 when The Rock & Roll WPLJ really signed off the air ...

dzobo - 5/10/2019 at 04:05 PM

Station meant a lot when it first came along. A big part of their appeal in 1971 was their live "in studio" performances, including the original Allman Brothers and the Delaney and Bonnie show with Duane and King Curtis.

Lee - 5/10/2019 at 07:39 PM

Station meant a lot when it first came along. A big part of their appeal in 1971 was their live "in studio" performances, including the original Allman Brothers and the Delaney and Bonnie show with Duane and King Curtis.

Is this the station that there is a bootleg version of the ABB set floating around in trading circles? I know I have one (maybe two) radio shows of the ABB from that era in my discs somewhere.

dzobo - 5/10/2019 at 10:02 PM

Was at one time a bootleg but was officially released as "Live from A&R Studios, New York" in 2016.

ooogie - 5/11/2019 at 02:28 AM


WABC-FM joined the airwaves on May 4, 1948. It started broadcasting in stereo on August 1, 1963. It frequently alternated between simulcasting WABC-AM and playing classical music.

As early as May of 1966, two months before WOR-FM started playing rock, Bob Lewis and Dan Ingram had Saturday night shows. By April of 1967, Bob Lewis had a weekday show from 7-11 pm and the station was playing "Now Music" from 10am-7pm.

By Fall 1967, it experimented with additional shows on Saturday nights with music producer Tom Wilson and Chuck Leonard's "Swingin' People" in addition to "The Other Dan Ingram Show and Bob Lewis' "Some Trust In Chariots". The rest of the time, it played Broadway show music and simulcast the AM in the off hours.

By March of 1968, WABC-FM had a syndicated progressive rock format during the day (Most Music, which evolved into "Love" with Brother John Rydgren) and either Chuck Leonard or "Radio Free New York" with Bob Lewis evenings. The Saturday night specialty shows were gone.

By May of 1970, live jocks filled the schedule with such names as Dave Herman, Jimmy Rabbitt, Tony Pigg and Jimmy Fink. In February of 1971, the station became WPLJ-FM. By 1971, the schedule included Murray Roman, Michael Cuscuna (who later became a Jazz producer), J.J. Jackson, Tony Pigg, Vin Scelsa, Dave Herman and Mike Turner. But by August of 1971, the free-form format was history as the station became "Rock In Stereo" with a minimum of talk and music that comprised only the biggest album hits. Just before the change, the station hired Zacherley from WNEW-FM for nights. Weekdays included Sean Casey, Dave Cassidy, Paul Krimsler and Tom Hogan with Alex Bennet doing overnights.

Later in the 1970s, such great personalities as Jim Kerr, Pat St. John, Carol Miller and Vivian Roundtree were heard. The station became WWPR in December of 1987, but in late December of 1988 switched back to the WPLJ call letters. Kerr would continue in morning drive until the Spring of '89, but most of the other DJ's who had been around since the AOR days would be gone by 1985.

In the 90's the station rotated etween various Adult Contemporary formats. In mid-2007, Disney, which acquired the station when it bought Capital Cities in 1996 (Capital Cities had purchased ABC Broadcasting in 1985), sold the station to Citadel Broadcasting. In the Fall of 2011, Citadel merged with Cumulus Broadcasting.

17-11-70 (US title 11-17-70),
released in 1971, is the fifth official album release for Elton John, and his first live album.

The recording was taken from a live radio broadcast on 17 November 1970, hence the album's title. According to John, a live album was never planned as a release. Recordings of the broadcast, however, were popular among bootleggers which, according to John's producer, Gus Dudgeon, eventually prompted the record label to release it as an album

The WABC-FM (now WPLJ) stereo broadcast, and thus the resulting live album, was engineered by legendary producer Phil Ramone, known for his work with Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand, Paul Simon, and Burt Bacharach, amongst many many others. In fact, the Steinway piano that Elton played that evening was the same used by Bacharach on his Dionne Warwick hits and Broadway cast albums.

The live radio broadcast (with a studio crammed full of fortunate audience members) on 17th November, 1970 was Elton’s 29th performance in the United States, and only his second in New York City. He currently has over 2,000 in the US and 218 in NYC.

Unusually for a live recording, because of the venue Elton and the band wore headphones just as they would have had they been tracking a traditional studio album.

Owing to fans recording off their home stereos and subsequently generating a high volume of bootlegs of the concert, the original 17-11-70 wasn’t so much “released” as it “escaped”.

gina - 5/13/2019 at 10:47 PM

I listened to it. I remember we even went to a basketball game Pat St. John was playing at in New Jersey. The game was good, the commute on the lower level of the 59th St. Bridge gave me an anxiety attack on the way there. We took the upper level with the George and that was much better.

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