This week NEO Airchecks strays from its usual focus of Top 40 formatted stations of the AM persuasion in favor of a station that was, in many ways, the antithesis of mainstream radio of its era. We're talking about Cleveland's WNCR/99.5, whose progressive/free-form rock format can be heard in this 1972 aircheck contributed by Bob Papa. The announcer's identity is unknown to this blog's editor.
In a move that was typical of such FM stations, WNCR ignored the usual bells and whistles of radio and allowed the music to be the star. A listen to the aircheck reveals no jingles or other programming elements. As a result, a Noxzema spot heard early on in the recording sticks out like a sore thumb.
The station began life as WGAR-FM in 1952, simulcasting sister station WGAR/1220 until July 1970. The call letters were changed to WNCR and the progressive rock format was launched at that time. By September, conflicts between management and the on-air staff prompted a walk out, which included program director Jerry Dean. The format would last until January 1973, replaced first by country as WKSW. The format wheel was spun again in 1975 and the switch was made to beautiful music before country returned to 99.5 in 1980. The format has been in place there ever since. The calls were changed to WGAR-FM in 1984.
WGAR-FM was sold to Jacor Communications in 1997 as part of the company's purchase of Nationwide Communications and its stations. Clear Channel bought the station in 1999, along with several other Cleveland propeties.