Saturday, November 13, 2010

You're Talking, We're Listening

It occured to this blog's editor that while music formats have been a major part of the radio landscape for decades, they certainly haven't had exclusive use of the airwaves. With that in mind, we present this unscoped multi-part aircheck of WKBN/570 in Youngstown from Black Friday 1999. (Given that the big shopping day is just around the corner, this entry is rather appropriate.) In this recording, longtime midday talk show host Dan Ryan discusses George W. Bush the presidential candidate and corrects a confused caller questioning the ethics of a certain member of the Valley's business community. During commercial breaks, afternoon host Ron Verb is also heard on location at a local restaurant.
Then, as now, WKBN was the juggernaut in local news/talk, having taken the crown from crosstown rival WBBW/1240 several years earlier. Ryan was a big reason for the change, having departed his longtime radio home WBBW for WKBN in 1984. He is often credited with establishing talk radio in Youngstown with his "Open Mic" program in the 1960's. Critics had expressed doubts that such a program would have an audience in a market like Y-town, but Ryan, along with other pioneers of the format, proved them wrong.
Ryan passed away in 2003.

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