Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Bargain

In its own way, NEO Airchecks observes the biggest shopping day of the year. No, we don't subject ourselves to the maddening crowds at area shopping malls or big box stores. Instead, we present to you a twin spin of airchecks from two great stations of a bygone era. No discounts needed here, because we (along with help from contributor Bob Papa) bring them to you for the best price of all -- free.
First up is a brief aircheck of WDMT/107.9 (now WENZ) in Cleveland. Morning personality Carol Ford is heard handing off the baton to midday jock Freddie James on a fine summer's day in 1983. Ford spent a little more than four years at WDMT before departing for WRKS in New York City in 1984. Her career prior to Cleveland involved stops at KYA in San Francisco and WOWO Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Ford has been heard most recently on XM/Sirius satellite radio.
Freddie James had already been with WDMT for five years at the time of this aircheck. He would remain on board in various timeslots through 1989, by which time its calls had been changed to WPHR (Top 40 "Power 108", which would be succeeded in 1992 by modern rocker WENZ "The End" before the station returned to its urban roots seven years later with the current branding of "Z-107.9"). In 1992 James established his own DJ business, which continues to this day. James resumed his on-air presence in 2007, handling weekend duties at WQMX/94.9 in Akron.
WENZ is now owned by Radio One, along with sister stations WERE/1490 and WJMO/1300. A more complete history of the station can be found here.

Also featured this week is an aircheck of WIXY/1260 in Cleveland. Morning man Mike Reineri spins the hits in this 1973 recording, which begins with a portion of a local newscast presented by Bob Engle. Listen for the self-described Dynamic Dago's less-then-excited reaction to the sports highlights near the end of the aircheck.
Reineri had a long run at WIXY, manning morning drive from 1967 to 1975. From there, he moved to Miami, Florida's WIOD and much later, WAXY. Reikneri's final stop was at WJNA in West Palm Beach in 1999. Following a brief illness, he passed away in 2003.
At the time of this recording, WIXY was still among the highest-rated Top 40 stations in the region. It had outlasted Cleveland's more powerful KYW/WKYC/1100 during its attempt to unseat WIXY from its throne during the 1960's and early 1970's. After a change in ownership in 1975, the format and callsign was dropped the following year in favor of Adult Contemporary as WMGC. The AC format lasted only three years before an unsuccessful switch to talk (WBBG) segued into a big band format, followed by a simulcast of then-sister station WMJI/105.7 and later, religious programming and gospel music (WRDZ and WMIH, respectively). The station now sports the calls of WMMK, a reflection of its Disney/ABC Radio ownership, as well as the pre-teen-focused Disney Radio format.

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