Wednesday, November 10, 2010

...And the Beat Goes On in '67

This week the way back machine takes us to 1967, the year of the Summer of Love, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and increasingly divided public opinions concerning the war in Vietnam. The comparatively quiet and middle-of-the-road setting of Ashtabula is the scene for NEO Airchecks' next feature, which is a brief aircheck of WREO/970 provided to us courtesy of Jeff Goodridge of Masury, Ohio.
Following the closing moments of a newscast from the Mutual Broadcasting System, an unidentified personality presents some of the top songs of '67. An educated guess places this broadcast somewhere in December of that year. As always, any help in identifying the jock is more than welcome.
WREO started its broadcast life as WICA in 1937, joined by FM sister WICA/103.5 circa 1950. The latter station eventually moved to its current dial position of 97.1. 970's call letters were changed to current calls WFUN in 1978. 97.1 has maintained the WREO callsign ever since, now sporting an AC format. WFUN has been through several format changes since its Top 40 day; Oldies, news/talk and its current sports talk lineup as "ESPN 970" are among those that have been heard on the "Monster On the Lake".
Both stations were owned by Richard D. and David C. Rowley since their inception, and were sold in 2000 to Clear Channel. CC sold the stations, along with WZOO, WYBL and WFXJ, to Media One Group in 2007.

Another aircheck submitted to us by Jeff Goodridge is one of WHLO/640 in Akron, again apparently dating from December 1967. Don Steele (not to be confused with the personality of the same name that was heard for many years on KHJ in Los Angeles) can be heard spinning the stacks of wax amid authentic static on "Hello Radio". Note the syndicated Jim Stagg feature and the ad for Akron institution Polsky's. A brief search for more information about Steele has proved fruitless.
WHLO's Top 40 format would continue well into the 1970's, before being dropped in favor of a news/talk format known as "News/Talk 64". An M.O.R format followed, succeeded by Christian music during ownership by Mortensen Broadcasting. The firm sold WHLo to Clear Channel in 2001, and has carried a news/talk format ever since.
Many ex-WHLO personalities are still in the business; Ron Verb, who started as a teenaged jock during the Top 40 format's last days remained on board with the news/talk format, before moving to WHBC in Canton and later to WKBN in Youngstown. He continues to hold court during afternoon drive on 570. Nick Anthony, also a personality during the news/talk era after a previous gig at WBBW in Youngstown, is now an executive with Rubber City Radio-owned WAKR/1590, WONE/97.5 and WQMX/94.9 in Akron. He can occasionaly be heard filling in on WAKR.

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