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This page will attempt to showcase the histories of New Jersey AM Radio stations,
past and present.
Please feel free to e-mail me with any information you would like to contribute to this page and
you will be credited.

Some information provided by:
  • "The Airwaves Of New York:
    Illustrated Histories Of 156 AM Stations In The
    Metropolitan Area, 1921-1996"

  • Dave Hughes' NYRTV website (no longer online)
  • Jeff Miller's History Of American Broadcasting website
  • Tom "LavPass"
  • AmericanRadioHistory.com

    Do you, or anyone you know, work in NJ radio, either now or in the past?

    is looking for you!

    Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4
    Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8
    Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11

  • WGHT - 1500 AM, Pompton Lakes
    This station debuted on September 14, 1964 as WKER, owned by Robert Kerr and his wife Joan Brooks Kerr d/b/a Kerradio, Inc.
    Original studios and transmitter were located near Rt. 23.
    The station started out by playing Top 40 mixed with MOR music.
    Station manager Ron Hickman did morning drive, news director Jack McElen had a mid-morning record show, Joan Brooks Kerr hosted an afternoon talk show and program director Tom Niven hosted the afternoon drive-time show.
    Local news was presented in cooperation with the Paterson News.
    On August 6, 1993, calls were changed to WGHT and by August 23 of that year, the station was sold to Mariana Broadcasting, headed by John Silliman.
    The WGHT call letters stand for "Gold Hits"; later "Great Hits."
    WGHT currently has an Oldies format and features afternoon drive-time personality Art Rooney ("Looney Skip" Rooney from the Uncle Floyd show).
    The station is 100% live, using no automation.
    WGHT's current Program Director is Jimmy Howes; news director is Debra Valentine.
    The station has been an NAB Marconi Radio Award finalist, NAB Crystal Radio Award finalist and has received Associated Press news awards.
    WGHT's local sports department has won dozens of awards for their local high school sports coverage and broadcasts.
    WGHT's news department has been honored with awards from the Associated Press and the New Jersey Broadcasters Association.
    In 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, WGHT received award honors from the Garden State Journalists Association.
    The station has a long history of being a launching pad for syndicated and New York City radio talent, including Kevin Burkhardt, current sideline reporter for the New York Mets on cable channel SNY and singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman was a DJ on WGHT in 1989.
    The current lineup on WGHT includes Jimmy Howes & Greta LaTona (mornings; with Greta continuing solo for mid-mornings), John Silliman (mid-days) and Art Rooney (afternoon drive).
    Some jingles from the 1990's can be heard here.
    WGHT was nominated for a Marconi Award in 2006 for "Best Oldies Station Of The Year" by the NAB.
    (Thanks to Bryan Vargo for a WKER & WGHT logo)
    (Thanks to Jimmy Howes for some of this information)
    (Thanks to Matt Locker for some WGHT logos)

    WRAN/WMHQ - 1510 AM, Dover
    WRAN debuted on August 19, 1964, owned by the Lion Broadcasting Co., a subsidiary of Esquire magazine.
    The studios and transmitter were located at Rt. 10 and Millbrook Ave. in Randolph Twsp.
    Sam Kravitz was the first station manager, Dave Holmlund was news director and along with reporter Steve Baltin, brought listeners some of New Jersey's most energetic news coverage.
    Holmlund and Baltin later moved on to WCBS, 880 AM in New York.
    Bob O'Brien was also a newsman at this time, later going to Channel 5 in New York.
    DJ's included Al Wunder, Jim Jarvis, veteran advertising executive Dick Miller and John Bennett.
    WRAN was originally supposed to have 1000 watts day & night, however the night-time pattern was not able to completely cover the town of Dover, proper.
    In December 1965, the station's night power was modified to 500 watts, with a looser antenna array pattern to better serve Dover.
    In December 1968, WRAN was sold to Jersey Horizons, part of the national chain that also owned WGNY in Newburgh NY and WALK in Patchogue, Long Island.
    In January 1969, WRAN's day power was increased from 1000 watts to 10,000 watts.
    By the mid-1970's, the station took on an Adult Contemporary format, guided by program director Rich Phoenix.
    News reporters at this time included Frank Anthony and Ann Williams.
    Charles Blanding did engineering and programming work at the station from 1974 to 1976.
    A montage of Mr. Blanding's work can be heard here.
    In 1978, the station was sold to New Jersey 1510 Radio Associates, a group headed by veteran New York DJ "Cousin Brucie" Morrow and radio executive Robert F.X. Silliman.
    The owners had also taken over WALL in Middletown NY and WHVW in Hyde Park NY and switched all 3 stations to a rock oldies format, featuring a weekly record show hosted by Cousin Brucie.
    Some personalities at the time included John Montone (now at WINS in New York), Charlie Alazamora (PD of WMCA in New York), Bob Aaronson (who went on to WOR in New York) and Tripp Rogers (of WJRZ and WNJO fame, among others).
    Some 1981 airchecks from WRAN can be heard here.
    However, by 1983, more changes of ownership took place.
    Cousin Brucie sold WRAN (and his other two stations) to Bell Broadcasting.
    The station soon moved into a Hot AC direction.
    In 1986, the station was sold to Saddle River Holdings.
    On May 1, 1987, calls were changed to WMHQ.
    The Hot AC format was dropped for Oldies via satellite during mid-days, evenings and many weekend shifts.
    In the fall of 1987, WMHQ began to sign off at midnight.
    But, the broadcast property was declining in value, hurt by its poor coverage and inferior audio.
    Throughout 1988, the staff was trimmed little by little.
    Then on November 23, 1988, the station went off the air permanently.
    WMHQ turned in their license to the FCC in April 1989 and was officially cancelled in 1991.
    The abandoned building, previously used by WRAN, can be seen by clicking here.
    (Thanks to Charles Blanding, Mark D, Jim Jarvis and Tripp Rogers for some of this information)
    (WRAN & WMHQ logo courtesy of Dave Kruh's WRAN website)

    WRNJ - 1510 AM, Hackettstown
    WRNJ signed on August 26, 1976 on 1000 AM, with a Full Service AC format.
    Some personalties at the station over the years have included Lou Simon, Russ Long, Ricky "the K" Kaufman, Mark Chernoff, Tony Rutledge, Geoff Freeman, Lew White, Jim West, Larry Daniels, Dale Denver and Ken Griffin.
    WRNJ's news department initially consisted of just Steve Schmid, but was later on expanded to include such people as Jeff Grant (son of Bob Grant) and Lee Douglas, Wayne Aikens and Bill Reuben (who all eventually went to WOBM-FM).
    In the late 1980's, Bob "Allen" Aaronsen did morning drive (along with Glenn Herman), later going over to WMCA and then the ABC Radio Network.
    Bob did return briefly and hosted a 2 hour music show on Sundays a few years ago, but has since been taken off the air.
    In the early 1990's, WRNJ started mixing in some "soft jazz" with the AC music, but it was dropped after a year due to a negative repsonse.
    In 1996, the station vacated 1000 AM and moved to 1510 (originally with calls WAIU - granted November 8, 1996 - and later the WRNJ calls were re-assigned on November 18) and essentially took over the vacated facilities of WMHQ (see above).
    WRNJ initiated an FM station in 1993.
    When WRNJ moved to 1510, they instituted a Full Service Oldies format with lots of local news.
    The station had live jocks and a 24/7 license.
    However, the station couldn't be on the air at night, because their equipment was made for the 1000 AM station, and could not reduce their power low enough for night operation.
    Initially, they would stay on until 6pm and then sign on again at 6am, and adjusted those times throughout the year, as warrented.
    Then in 1998, WRNJ went strictly dawn to dusk, no matter what time it happened.
    In the summer of 1999, WRNJ finally got the equipment necessary to stay on 24/7, and used satellite programming after 9pm.
    In October 1999, they added satellite afternoons, with the only live shift being 6am to noon.
    In 2001, they added a live afternoon shift (2p-5p & 6p-7p), with an hour of news between 5 and 6.
    More recent personalties include Liz Bowen (who does afternoon news and part of the afternoon show with Gary Smith), Chris Majet, Bill Summers and Paul Maasen.
    As of June 2010, the current lineup at WRNJ includes Dave Kelber (mornings - 6a-10a), a talk block from 10a-12noon, Chuck "TJ" Rieger (mid-days - 12noon-4p), Lew White (afternoons - 4p-7p), Rich Appel (Saturday mid-days - 9a-1p) and Peter Ward (Sunday mornings - 6a-10a).
    AM drive news is handled by Joyce Estey and PM drive news by Dan Kalus.
    The WRNJ studio building can be seen here.
    (Thanks to Mark D & Lew White for providing some of this information)
    (Thanks to Bryan Vargo for a WRNJ logo)

    WFAI - 1510 AM, Salem
    1510 signed on August 1, 1966 as WJIC.
    From 1981 to the early 1990's,WJIC featured a country format as "Just Country WJIC".
    An aircheck of the country format can be heard here.
    Then, they were "News/Talk 1510".
    In 1997, WJIC (which was co-owned with WNNN on 101.7 FM) obtained the religious format from the FM station and changed calls to WNNN on October 1.
    On May 3, 2001, calls were changed to WFAI to reflect their "Faith 1510" slogan.
    (Thanks to John Hendricks for some of this information)

    WSLT - 1520 AM, Ocean City
    * See WIBG 1020 AM for more information: Page 5 *

    WJDM - 1530 AM, Elizabeth
    1530 signed on March 11, 1970 as WELA, but in January 1971 the station changed calls to WJDM to avoid confusion with WERA in Plainfield (see below).
    An aircheck of WELA's signoff is available here.
    The WJDM calls stood for the first names of its three owners: John Quinn, Dominick Mirabelli and Michael Quinn.
    Studios were located at 9 Caldwell Pl. in Elizabeth and the transmitter is located on a former dairy farm in Linden.
    (The 9 Caldwell Pl. location can be seen by clicking here.)
    The original format featured MOR, Adult Contemporary and rock oldies, complemented with a solid news service.
    The orginal staff from 1970 included Ed Klein (mornings), Bill Schaefer (mid-days; later going on to stints at WVNJ-FM 'last voice heard before it switched to Z-100', WPAT AM/FM, and some TV spots, including doing the voice of "Topsy" on the Tops Appliance City radio ads, the voice-over for Lifesavers in 1980, on-camera spots with Phil Rizzuto for The Money Store in the late 1980's - and before joining WJDM, Bill was on the original staff of WOBM-FM in 1968), Laura Scott (PM drive) and Frank Setapany (currently voicing WCBS-AM and the CBS Network hourly newscasts) and Jack Franks (who later went on to WOR to write news) handling news duties.
    Skip Painton was the original PD and Tony Lupo was GM.
    Some former staffers included WMGM/WHN DJ Dean Hunter, announcer Jerry Carroll (who went on to do "Crazy Eddie" TV commercials in the 80's), Rich Phoenix, news director Fred Fishkin (who went on to WBGO in Newark and later WCBS "Newsradio 88"), public affairs moderator Bob Salter and Charles Blanding, who, from 1973 to 1974, was Chief Engineer and also did on-air shifts in afternoons, mid-days and was the back-up DJ for the morning shift.
    A montage of Mr. Blanding's work can be heard here.
    Some other notable WJDM personalties include the following...
    "Ziggy" (aka Dave DeLore), who is now the voice of WCBS-FM.
    Jim Bosh, co-host of "Bosh & Cipolla, Breakfast Flakes", now doing mornings in Connecticut.
    Frank Cipolla, co-host of the above mentioned morning show, now at WWOR - Channel 9, and also did some work at WNBC/WFAN and News 12.
    Rich Rapiti, a former WJDM PD, who is now working at Channel 9.
    Jan Ochs, former PM drive personality, now on WMGQ, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio.
    Cathy Oliver, former news person, now working at WBBR in New York.
    Jeff Rafter, former PD circa 1984, moved on to WOBM, held the PD position at WNJO, was at WJLK and was a PD at WJRZ.
    Gary Guida, former PM drive personality, went on to WJLK, WMGQ and is now the PD at WFPG.
    Lauren Pressley, former AM drive and mid-day personality, who moved on to WJLK and WKXW "NJ 101.5" and did fill-ins at WCTC and "The Breeze".
    And, other notables included the late Cosmo Rose (from WJRZ), Bob Aronson, Tommy Dean, Vinny Marino, Fran Harris, Roger Foote, Robert J. Wright, Mike Curci, Chuck Blitzer (Wolf Blitzer's brother), Rob Taylor, Art Rooney ("Looney Skip" Rooney from the Uncle Floyd Show - now on WGHT in Pompton Lakes), Dave Frankel (on-air personality and Program Consultant from the 70's through the early 90's - now Associate Professor of Communications at Kingsbourough Community College in Brooklyn), Jean "The English Epicure" Bayrock (who was featured on the station from 1972 thru most of the 1980's), news directors Mary Barbieri Young, Robert Bober and Claudia Davis, Bob Recchia (who later became WJDM's PD and afterwards a Shadow Traffic announcer), Dan Coben, Tom Dwyer, Joe Caroselli and Rick Salerno.
    You can hear an aircheck of Rick Salerno from November 1983 here.
    In 1991, WJDM gained some national exposure when "Captain Jack" Aponte sent his morning show over to the troops in Iraq, where it was broadcast over Armed Forces Radio.
    Eventually, the station introuduced some ethnic programing in the mix, starting with Sundays and then later on, expanding to the weekdays featuring Spanish, Italian, French and Hungarian programming.
    In 1995, WJDM started up a station in the expanded AM band on 1660.
    In recent years, WJDM was programming a Spanish Contemporary Christian format as "Radio Restauracion", which has since changed to "Radio Presencia."
    (Thanks to "Captain Jack" Aponte, Charles Blanding, Claudia Davis, Jan Ochs, Lauren Pressley, Rob Taylor and Bill Schaefer for some of this information)
    (Thanks to Bryan Vargo for sending in a WJDM logo)
    (Thanks to Ed Krush for the WELA signoff MP3)
    (Thanks to Richard Salerno for the 1983 aircheck)

    WJRZ - 1550 AM, Toms River
    1550 was originally allocated to Seaside Park on July 6, 1984.
    In March 1986, 1550 AM was owned by Sandpiper Broadcasting.
    On August 7, 1986, the WNJO calls were assigned.
    In October 1986, the CP was transferred over to Communications Technology in South Toms River (see the article here).
    On April 15, 1991, the CP was taken over by Knox Broadcasting, owners of WJRZ and the WJRZ calls were assigned on May 15, 1991.
    The original projected on-air date was Spring of 1992, however, the date was pushed back many times.
    The format for WJRZ was originally intended to be an all-news format, featuring CNN Headline News via satellite and some local news segments.
    In anticipation of signing on, studios were to be located at 22 W. Water St. in downtown Toms River.
    In 1994, WJRZ applied for an expanded-band AM allocation at 1620, which ultimately did not materialize.
    With financial difficulties and zoning problems with their antenna system continuing, the station's CP was cancelled on September 14, 1995.

    WGYM - 1580 AM, Hammonton
    1580 signed on May 11, 1961 as WNJH.
    Studio and transmitter pictures of WNJH are available by clicking here.
    In the 1970's, calls changed to WRDI and 1580 simulcasted WRDR, 104.9 FM.
    Some WRDR/WRDI memoribilia can be found by clicking here and a WRDI aircheck can be found here.
    On December 31, 1981, calls were changed to WTYO and for a period of time, featured an Adult Contemporary format.
    A WTYO aircheck can be found here.
    On March 25, 1991, calls were changed again to WONZ and began to share some programming with WOND in Pleasantville.
    On March 26, 2001, calls were changed to WGYM and acquired the ESPN sports programming from 1490 AM.
    On February 2, 2002, WGYM dropped the ESPN sports programming and has gone back to simulcasting WOND.
    If anyone has info on the early days of 1580, please e-mail me at the address above.
    (Thanks to Phil Galasso and John Hendricks for some of this information)
    (Thanks to Backy Vandermast for providing a WNJH & WTYO logo)

    WSRR - 1580 AM, Washington
    1580 signed on July 1, 1956 as WCRV, featuring a classical music format.
    The station was originally located in a bank building downtown, First National Bank of Washington.
    Later, studios were located on Rt. 31, with the booth facing the street where you could see the DJ on the air.
    The studios were an add-on to the side of a house.
    There were four studios: on-air, production, a "talk show" studio which doubled as the traffic office, and a news booth.
    The newsroom was about midway down the connecting hall and up a short quarter-flight of stairs.
    Another short flight went up from where the news booth and on-air studio opened into the hallway into the reception area, which was essentially the living room of the house.
    The GM's office (Nick DeRienzo) was in the attic, as was the offices for the Sales Managers; the transmitter was in the basement with the tower directly to the south.
    WCRV stood for Warren County's Radio Voice - and was owned by the Warren Broadcasting Corp.
    George and Ken Croy (owners of WMTR in Morristown) bought the station from Simon "Si" Geller in the late 1950's.
    The lineup consisted of Carl Capolon (mornings), J. Warner Rush (mid-days), then Carl came back to do an afternoon show, with part-timers Al Texier or Pete LaChance.
    Ken O'Brien was the news director, with Ron Stenlake doing fill-ins.
    Besides Al Texier and Pete LaChance, another part-timer at the time was Art Stiehler.
    The format consisted of popular music, mixed with some country.
    Dann Thompson worked at WCRV in 1962, and later went on to be a DJ on WOR-FM (now WRKS, 98.7 in NYC) from 1967 to 1969.
    Jim Brewster started his career at WCRV in 1966 as a part-time announcer, then after a break working over at WHWH/WPST in Trenton, Jim returned to WCRV in 1975 as a News Director.
    In 1966, Ron Barry and Dave Zander were the main announcers and Marv Stewart was the News Director.
    Here are some recollections from Rod Wolfe, who worked at WCRV between 1969 and 1975:
    I was hired in 1969 by Program & Music Director Jay Edwards (James Normoyle), a DJ friend of mine who I had worked with at WEEX-AM/FM in Easton, Pa.
    Jay had tried for almost a year to get me to leave “The Big X” in Easton and join him in Washington.
    His final promise of naming me Music Director did the trick.
    When I started with WCRV in 1969, the studios were located in downtown Washington on the 2nd floor of a bank building.
    Jay was still trying his best to remove all the “old” programming to create a total Top 40 format.
    Like everyone that was ever in broadcasting, I can recall things we did that could probably fill a book!
    One of the earliest events I remember had to do with Jay Edwards and the morning DJ/Sales Manager named “Chucky B” (Charles Betyeman).
    WCRV was owned by Nick DeRienzo, and like many small market stations, Nick would sell blocks of air time to civic groups and local organizations.
    That was especially true on the weekends.
    In the meantime, we were trying our best to clean up the Sunday segments so we could Rock n Roll!
    One of the last Sunday holdouts was a church group.
    In the downtown building, we had a small studio on the second floor for the on-air jock.
    That studio also had a large glass window that faced a much larger room that served as a production studio.
    That larger room also would serve as the area where the “live” groups could come in to broadcast.
    For weeks we tried various little tricks to get the final holdout to cancel his contract.
    Things like NOT unlocking the front door.
    That would keep them from getting in on time to begin their already-paid-for broadcast hour!
    Another great little trick was playing loud music off-air in the other studio, which of course would “bleed” into the sermon.
    One such instance that is permanently burned in my brain was playing Arthur Brown and (I Am the GOD of Hell Fire and I Bring You).. “FIRE”.
    I thought it was great background music for the sermon.
    Not really sure if the preacher’s listeners appreciated it or not.
    From time to time we also would make sure that microphones would work intermittently… or not at all!
    Then finally when they wouldn’t cancel their show, it was time for Jay and Chucky to pull out all the stops.
    As the quiet part of the in-studio sermon was being broadcast, I was running the board while Jay and Chucky began to drag tables, chairs and file cabinets across the old wooden floors!
    The on air noise was incredible, and the preacher kept losing his train of thought!
    Then Jay and Chucky decided to let it all out, and they began to ROLL one of those giant professional style Fire Extinguishers around the floor.
    Naturally I had to try and keep a straight face as the preacher kept stopping his broadcast to look at me with a puzzled look.
    The next day, the preacher called Nick DeRienzo and cancelled their contract and the remaining weeks on the air. HALLELUJAH!
    A short time later, Nick purchased a small two-story home on Route 31 right next to the broadcast tower.
    An addition was added to the main house for the studios.
    It was a GREAT setup and we all worked hard to get it on the air.
    When you walked in the front door, there was a nice front lobby with the receptionist work space and a sofa and chairs to relax on.
    There was also an open archway that led to the News Room on the right.
    The newsroom also had another entrance/exit, which were a few steps down to the addition hall that led to the studios.
    Next to the News Room was a full bathroom and kitchen!
    At the front door were steps leading to the second floor.
    At the top of the steps, turn right and you were in the office of Nick DeRienzo.
    Turn to the left and I remember a combination office for both Jay and Chucky.
    Back on the first floor and to the right of the receptionist desk were another few steps that led you down to the addition and a hallway and three studios, plus a tiny News Booth.
    The first large room at the bottom of the few steps was the main broadcast studio.
    Seated at the mixer board, the DJ faced the window to the News Booth.
    To the DJ’s left was a large front panel window with a great view of the non stop traffic on Route 31.
    If the DJ was in between records or reading a live spot on the air… and an 18-wheeler went roaring by… yes, you sure could hear it on the air!
    The middle room, enclosed in glass, was the studio where Nick would do his live “Comment” call-in talk show.
    It was perhaps the last holdover from the “old” format, but no matter how hard Jay Edwards tried, Nick would never give up his talk show.
    Except when Nick had special live guests, he usually would do the entire hour all alone, begging for phone calls.
    On a good day he would actually get a few calls.
    The tiny room at the very back of the hall served at first only as our Production Studio.
    It was without a doubt, one of the best station setups I worked in throughout my nearly (30) years in radio!
    Oh, can’t forget the basement! That’s where the transmitter was located.
    The basement also had a little area set aside for me and my records as the Music Director!
    I recall it was sometime in 1972 that Jay Edwards left WCRV and moved on to Franklin NJ to try the same type makeover at WSUS-FM.
    Jay remained in Franklin for many, many years.
    I believe he was also able to complete his radio dream by eventually becoming the owner of WSUS.
    After Jay left, I was named “Program & Music Director” and eventually “Operations Manager”.
    I was also finally able to move up from the basement and turned the back small room into a combination Production Studio/Office.
    For the total five years I was at WCRV, we had an amazing small market station.
    WCRV always pulled ratings in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton market.
    Our ratings in that book would rise and fall with how many listener diaries they would send out to the Easton-Phillipsburg area.
    WCRV always had a great fan base in the Easton-Phillipsburg area.
    I believe that was the result of former WEEX talent now at WCRV, as well as a number of WCRV talent that resided in the Easton area.
    Conveniently located between both the Philadelphia and New York City markets, WCRV became a test market for many record labels and their promotion men.
    We had a printed weekly survey that was widely distributed, and during the early 1970s we were able to help break many hit records.
    One record that comes to mind immediately was “Precious and Few” by Climax.
    WCRV was one of the first stations in the country to play and chart that one.
    Another was “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” by the late Jim Croce.
    WCRV was one of the first to play that one as a favor to legendary Philadelphia based promo man Matty “The Humdinger” Singer.
    Our reward was to meet Croce in person after being invited to one of his small venue concerts in a tiny club in the Philadelphia suburbs.
    The death of Croce devastated me much like the earlier death of a childhood favorite of mine, Buddy Holly.
    Another hit we were among the very first to play was by a band that resided in the area.
    I recall they were living in a converted old Barn in nearby Glen Gardner.
    They were basically a Rutgers College area group that had decided to move to the area to write, record, and fine tune their act.
    One day while I was doing my afternoon drive time show, they showed up at the station with a test press of a record they had recorded.
    I listened to a bit in queue, then introduced them on the air and programmed it on the spot.
    The group was The Looking Glass and the song was “Brandy, You’re A Fine Girl”.
    We played and charted the record for months.
    In fact, by the time “Brandy” became a national hit, I had already moved it over to our “oldies” library!
    I can also remember WCRV being among the first group of stations to broadcast Casey Kasem and the American Top 40 show.
    I programmed AT40 every Sunday.
    The five years I was at WCRV were incredible, and we got to do some great things for a small market station.
    We always kept our listeners involved with contests and prize giveaways.
    Just a few that quickly come to mind include:

  • Every President’s Day holiday we would be broadcasting live in downtown Washington and/or Hackettstown handing out HUNDREDS of cherry pies.

  • Our annual Thanksgiving holiday “Turkey Shoot” was a favorite.
    The call-in contestant had to guess how many shots between 1 and 6 would bag the bird.
    I had the shots and sound of a turkey making his last gobble on a tape cart, and only Chucky and I would dub the cart.
    There were so many cuts on the cart that we really had no idea what number shots would come up next!
    There were also so many listeners trying to call in to play the game, that we were forced to restrict the caller area each hour to a particular listening area.

  • One of our bigger contests featured the top prize of a car!
    I’ll never forget that one.
    It was a low mileage original Chevy Corvair.
    It was also one of the Corvair cars that never had the infamous heater-fumes problem corrected.
    Talk about a lawsuit waiting to happen!
    I guess the station was lucky the winner was not asphyxiated.

  • One year we also gave away a beautiful vintage Jukebox filled with new and oldie 45s.
    We kept the juke in the reception area of the station until the big give-a-way.
    We had a steady stream of listeners that would stop in to see it and hear it play!
    During our attempts to find the prize Jukebox, I was given the name of a small bar near Phillipsburg.
    They had an old jukebox they wanted to donate as our prize.
    Their juke was NOT working properly so WCRV passed on it.
    A week or so later I contacted the bar owner to ask for more information, and told me if I wanted it, I could have it for free.
    If I didn’t want it, his customers were threatening to wrap a tow chain around it, and drag it to the curb!
    The establishment would best be described as a “redneck” / “biker” joint!
    I told him I would come over to take a look.
    The jukebox was so yellow with years of cigar and cigarette smoke that you could barely even see the record mechanism anymore.
    I asked what was wrong with it, so he powered it up and stuck some quarters in.
    No matter what songs he selected, it kept playing the SAME song… over and over and over.
    It wouldn’t stop playing The Jackson 5 and “ABC”. Not exactly a clientele favorite…
    I told him to hold it for me and I would make arrangements to pick it up.
    I had a buddy with a pickup truck, and with the help of probably half the patrons, we loaded up the jukebox and I took it to my home in Easton PA.
    It took me a couple weeks to clean up the juke and get it working again.
    That was 1972 and I still own it to this very day.
    These many years later, that old Jersey-redneck-bar jukebox is one of the most desirable of the era.
    It’s a 1956 Seeburg VL200.

    In June of 1972, as the remnants of Hurricane Agnes struck the heart of Wilkes-Barre PA, flood waters of the Susquehanna River rose to over 41 feet and surged over the city’s levees.
    As the flooding and subsequent devastation became known, WCRV first began to broadcast a request to our listeners for donations of flashlights and batteries to be sent to residents who were without power.
    Well, that simple request led to a non-stop radiothon for more than just flashlights and batteries.
    Within a couple days we had collected enough non-perishable items from the citizens of both Warren and Huntingdon counties New Jersey to fill three large moving vans.
    Chucky and I led the caravan and delivered the items to the relief areas setup in Wilkes-Barre.
    After the delivery was made, we were asked to meet with the Mayor of Wilkes-Barre and were rewarded with Keys to the City.
    Some more memorable happenings at WCRV included benefit concerts for the Hackettstown Hospital.
    We had arranged benefits in past years with regional artists like Billy Terrell and Ray Dahroughe, who had recorded and released records as Terrell & Dahrouge.
    This time we wanted to set our goals a little higher and decided to try and bring a national star to the Tri-County fair.
    My sights were set on one of my all time favorite performers.
    After a few phone calls I was negotiating with Memphis based Judd Phillips, brother of Sam Phillips, the founder of the legendary Sun Records.
    At that time, Judd was the manager of Jerry Lee Lewis.
    We worked out the details and signed the “Jerry Lee Lewis Show” to appear on Sunday, July 23, 1972.
    Jerry and his entourage would land in their private jet at the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton airport.
    After appearing for our benefit, Jerry Lee would then head back to A-B-E and then on to his next stop, an appearance later that day at the Delaware State Fair.
    To pick up Jerry Lee, I arranged for limousine service and then at the PA/NJ state border, we had a NJ State Police escort!
    I rode in the main Limo with Jerry Lee and he told me that day that he had not had a limo/police escort since some of his wild early day appearances on 1950s TV shows like Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen and the Dick Clark Saturday Night show!
    I will never forget how difficult it was for Chucky B to get a sponsor to donate an upright piano for Jerry Lee’s performance that day.
    I believe he had at least two sponsors lined up, and then they would call him back to cancel, always talking about Jerry’s reputation with pianos.
    Chucky finally got another music store to commit and provide the piano by AGAIN explaining that Jerry’s reputation was from the OLD Jerry Lee, not the NEW-Country song singing Jerry Lee.
    Any fan of Jerry Lee over the years knows that his live shows will always fluctuate between Country, Rock, Blues, and even some Gospel.
    In fact, during most shows, not even his backup band would have a clue what he would sing next.
    By the end of our Hackettstown benefit concert, like always, Jerry Lee saved the best for last.
    By the middle of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” he had climbed on top of the borrowed piano and was stomping it as good as ever… just like 1957.
    After the show, examination of the piano showed quite a bit of overall damage inflicted by “The Killer”.
    The Music Store came and picked up the piano, and I don’t believe they ever advertised again on WCRV.
    (For pics of the WCRV Jerry Lee Lewis concert, click here.)
    Throughout all the years at WCRV (Warren Country Radio Voice), Nick DeRienzo kept trying to get an FM station started, or short of that, try to get WCRV on the air past sunset.
    Studies were conducted by Nick and his engineering staff to try and move WCRV to another frequency, or perhaps petition the FCC for some type of night time low power for 1580 AM.
    Finally Nick’s dream came true when he was awarded a license for an FM station in Blairstown.
    Nick decided to use the call letters WFMV, for Warren (County) FM Voice.
    By that time I was Operations Manager at WCRV and then named the Program Director at the new station, WFMV-106.3 FM, Blairstown NJ.
      I left both stations in May of 1974 when money issues & a political turf war erupted between Programming, Sales and even Engineering.
    There was only a small staff in Blairstown, with the majority of the work being done by the Washington personnel.
    Working 60 to 70 hours a week was now the norm.
    It was also becoming obvious that the promised financial reward for all the past, present and future labor was not coming my way anytime soon.
    I wound up deciding it wasn’t worth the aggravation anymore and gave a two week notice and ended five great years.
    WCRV switched to country in the late 1975/early 1976 as "Suburban Country Radio."
    Some of the people who worked at 1580 over the years included Chuck "Chucky B" Bettyeman, Chuck "Tommy John" Reiger, Ken "Kenny Lee" Lieberman, Cal Bader (aka Carl Baker), Mike Lennen, "Wayne Scott" Sandifer, Jim Foohey, "Buffalo Bill" Scurato, Bob Schultz, Chuck Weigel, Walter Sabo, Andy Taylor and Tim Gillis who was a Navy recruiter by day, a country-band performer at night and a DJ on the weekends.
    "Scotty O'Connor" (aka Kurt Gebauer) handled PM drive from October 1974 to February 1975, before moving over to WFMV.
    "Scotty" returned in June 1975 as WCRV's Sales & Operations Manager before leaving for "another opportunity" in April 1976.
    Rod Fritz was the news director in the early 1970's.
    Later, Jim Brewster (see above), Jacob Lewin, Steve Crocker, Lillie Gross, Matt Clayton, Rick Szanto, Dave Kelber and Bob Cooper handled news duties.
    Doug Frieberg was the CE (chief engineer), who also did an on-air shift for a time in the late 1970's.
    Some PD's of the station were Jay Edwards (who later went to WSUS) and Roddy Wood.
    Some pics of WCRV are available here.
    Between 1980 and 1982, Frank Cipolla (currently a reporter and anchor on WWOR, Channel 9) worked at WCRV.
    In 1981, the station was bought by George Vadja d/b/a Alpha Broadcasting, who owned a data processing business out of Hackensack NJ.
    A local woman named Joyce Semon ran the day-to-day business throughout Vadja's ownership.
    Donna Munde, formerly from WPST and later WBUD and WKXW in Trenton, became the General Manager, and the station began to rebound a bit.
    WCRV became an Adult Contemporary station featuring alot of community service.
    Munde eventually became a professor of communications at Mercer County Community College.
    An aircheck from WCRV can be heard here.
    A very unique radio personality landed on WCRV from about 1983 through to the station's eventual demise in the late 1980's.
    "Debbie V" (Debbie Potocki) was the mid-day jock, but she was blind.
    She had the whole station Brailled, from records, to carts, to equipment.
    She had a seeing eye dog named Perry who took her everywhere around the building.
    He never made a peep when she was on the air; he laid down under the control board table and stayed there for her entire 4 hour shift.
    George Vadja entered into negotiations with Gary Shenfeld and his wife in late 1984 for sale of the station.
    Shenfeld had worked previously at KYW in Philadelphia and as a newsman.
    During this period, Vadja hired Arn Schwartz, formerly of WTNJ, WTTM and WPST in Trenton, as a caretaker manager during the negotiations, which lasted for about 6 months.
    On April 5, 1985, calls changed to WSRR, to go along with the Shenfeld's newly created Starr Broadcasting entity.
    Gary Shenfeld's wife, Sandra Manno Shenfeld, was the president of the new company, with Gary doubling as Vice President and Operations Manager.
    The 1580 studio building, circa 1985, is here.
    Other notable staff on the station were Wayne Cabot (1980-1983), who landed at WCBS-AM in New York as a news anchor and Chuck McCann, who worked for WHWH in Princeton.
    By the late 1980's, however, the station went off the air, with the FCC cancelling the license in 1991 and the frequency allocation being deleted in 1996.
    (Thanks to Jim Brewster, Wayne Cabot, Carl Capolon, Frank Cipolla, Kurt Gebauer, John Hendricks, Mike Lennen, Walter Sabo, Wayne Scott Sandifer, Arn Schwartz, Ron Stenlake & Rod Wolfe for some of this information)
    (Thanks to Kurt Gebauer for an old WCRV logo)

    WERA - 1590 AM, Plainfield
    Tri-County Broadcasting Corp. of Plainfield signed on WERA on September 16, 1961.
    Studios were located at the Park Hotel Annex at 200 W. 7th St.
    Henry Behre (from Morristown's WMTR) served as president and general manager and Jack McGuire was the first program director, with the DJ's playing easy listening and MOR music.
    Mornings were hosted by Joe Reilly and his "Top Of The Morning" program, assisted by news director Pat Parson, who went on to an anchor position at WCBS 880 AM for 20 years, then started 98.5 FM at the Jersey Shore.
    WERA sports director Barry Landers covered local high school sports - in 1962, John Pepe took his place.
    In 1970, weekend programming focused on ethnic programming, and during the week, the MOR music was replaced with a more contemporary sound.
    In 1971, Brian Morgan joined the station, working in the news department, then landing as morning show host for "Good Morgan" from 1972 to 1974.
    Afterwards, he moved to the sales department until his departure in 1978, when he started working in the advertising field, specializing in broadcast advertising at The Magna Group in Glen Rock NJ.
    Current author and radio columnist Corey Deitz got his start at WERA around this time, working in the sales department.
    By the mid 1970's, WERA had moved its studios across the street to the Stender Building (later renamed the Atlas Building) at 120 W. 7th St.
    Glen Edwards was the program director and star of the morning show.
    Rich Phoenix did afternoons and a Saturday afternoon program, "Solid Gold Flight Of The Phoenix."
    Here's an audio clip of Rich Phoenix from February 1978: click here.
    Pete Tauriello (now at Shadow Traffic) replaced Glen Edwards for mornings (and PD duties) in 1979; staying with the station until 1982.
    Programming also featured "Newsline," an hour-long news and public affairs show that aired each day at 10am, except for Wednesdays when Barbara Ballard hosted "Sideline."
    Other notable air personalities on WERA included Bob Cooper, Bill Riley, Dave "The Rave" Frankel, Dennis O'Mara, Ray Murray, Bob Salter, Charles Green, Jere Sullivan, Bill Franklin, Fred Mack, Bob Morris (aka "Forrest Greene"), Donald Nutting (where he hosted "Nutting's Happening") and Rick Salerno (aka "Rick St. James").
    An aircheck from "Rick St. James" from May 1979 can be heard here.
    Two salespeople at WERA, Rodger and Richie King, have since gone on to King World Productions (the company behind such popular TV shows as Jeopardy!, Wheel Of Fortune and Oprah).
    In 1979, Ken Pauli started his radio career at WERA - later going to such stations as WRDR and WOBM.
    From 1982 to 1984, Kevin Dunn hosted the midday show on WERA, occasionally filling in for mornings.
    On September 30, 1985, WERA was granted authorization to broadcast full-time.
    In January 1994, Tri-County Broadcasting sold the station for $555,000 to Cloud 9 Broadcasting, headed by the station's former salesman, Jesse Carroll.
    The format then changed to Adult Standards, with an overnight country music show.
    In 1996, WERA was purchased for $1 million by the owners of New York station WWRL 1600, for the sole purpose of shutting the station down in order to increase their power.
    Soon afterwards, WERA went dark.
    An October 1996 aircheck from WERA can be heard here.
    WERA pictures are available here.
    (Thanks to Kevin Dunn, Larry Garland, Sy Marsh, Brian Morgan, Ken Pauli, Wayne Scott Sandifer & Pete Tauriello for some of this information)
    (WERA logos courtesy of Jim Hawkins)
    (Thanks to Ed Krush for the Rich Phoenix audio clip)
    (Thanks to Richard Salerno for the 1979 Rick St. James aircheck)

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