Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Smokin' " In the Studio

When NEO Airchecks last visited Youngstown hit music station WHOT/1330, it was December 1971 and Michael C. Richards was at the helm for afternoon drive. This week the humble blog fast forwards to September 1975, where we find "Smokin' Bill" Cannon spinning the hits in the evening. Cannon would prove to be a steady presence at 1330 and WHOT/101.1, remaining there until the early 90's. He moved on to classic rocker WYFM/102.9, better known as "Y-103". Cannon stayed in the afternoon timeslot at Y-103 until budget cuts by owner Cumulus led to his exit from the Mahoning Valley airwaves in 2009.

The first thing that struck the editor about this aircheck is the utter lack of jingles. None. Nadda. Compare this recording with the aforementioned 'check of Richards, and you'll see what we mean. The cheery jingle packages that had been heard in previous years had clearly fallen out of favor, no doubt a response to the growing power of the more modern FM music formats of the era.

Speaking of FM, you'll probably notice mention of the simulcast of Cannon's show on sister station WHOT/101.1, previously known as WRED and a longtime home to a country format. (NEO Airchecks will have more on that incarnation at another time. )
By this time, FM was seeing a growing number of listeners, though overall listenership in the U.S. wouldn't overtake AM until a few years later. Notice, too, the promotion of Jerry Starr's overnight progressive rock program on 101.1, while the stalwart "Big Al Knight" (otherwise known as PD Dick Thompson) continued to present his brand of Top 40 on 1330.

Special thanks to Brian Gartland of Columbus, Ohio for making this aircheck available to the blog.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up near Youngstown, and listened to Smokin' Bill every chance I could until the mid 80s. WHOT - " Smokin' Bill, Smokin' Bill, Oooh, Aah!"