Before the smartphone, the MP3 player, or the Walkman, your constant companion was your trusty Transistor Radio. Radios were everywhere - in your car, in most rooms of your home and many of us also had portables. Radio was our internet.
Off by myself building model cars or playing outdoors with my pals, radio provided life's soundtrack. The Cubs game on WGN, the occasional Ag Report, but transistor's dial spent most of it's time on my favorite Top 40 music stations!
The Top 40 format is credited to Todd Storz, a broadcaster in the midwest who combed through Cashbox magazine to find the most played songs on jukeboxes around the country. He's not alone in adding these same records to the playlist on his station. In fact, doubling a competitor's promotional effort behind the 20 top songs of the week gave the format its name.
The type of music didn't matter. Rock and roll, country and western, movie or tv themes, soul, R & B - if it was on the top of its respective chart, it played on Top 40 stations. This was the Golden Era of A.M. Radio. F.M. was still new, largely the province of religious and other pay-to-play broadcasters.
Top 40 DJ's, like John "Records" Landecker and "Superjock" Larry Lujack on WLS or WCFL, rivaled TV and Movie stars in popularity. I'd fall asleep listening to Landecker and wake up hearing Fred Winston, with news delivered by Lyle Dean.
Fun Fact: Fans of Bill Nye know about the nightly shift of the earth's ionosphere, permitting A.M. radio transmissions to "skip" around the globe for hundreds and hundreds of miles. After the sun would set, the 50,000-watt voice of WLS in Chicago could be heard through 38 states, including Michigan.
Between 5th and 6th grade we moved from the second-largest city in the nation, Chicago, to my mother's hometown of Ironwood, Michigan, which was somewhat smaller. In this gobsmackingly-beautiful country, I connected with my cousins who introduced me to new friends. Yet as sixth grade began and I was handed a fresh copy of the same math book I had already finished the year before. With a fervor seldom seen outside of Oz, I yearned for the people, places, and things left back in Illinois.
And then they came to me in an almost magical way.
Humans find comfort in the familiar. The sun would sink as I would strain to tune in those Top 40 Chicagoland radio signals. And every night the magic of radio would predictably unfold. Faintly through the static at first, finally booming through the speaker came Zeppelin and The Doors and Pink Floyd! All presented in a wonderful, familiar, Chicago-style wrapper.
Dick Orkin's Chickenman and Tooth Fairy serialized adventures were destination radio, with all of this presented through the filter of the man behind the mic. Women, too, notably Yvonne Daniels on WLS. Beyond simply intoning time and temp and back-selling the last set, their roles grew beyond radio to became part of the larger pop culture. Landecker's "Boogie Check" and Lujack's "Animal Stories" are memorable examples.
Radio made me feel good when little else did. Radio connected me to people, events, and places far away, yet still very close to my heart. Radio grounded me, filled me with hope and focused my efforts.
Back in Chicago after high school, my favorite radio stations came through loud and clear once again. Radio welcomed me back home. We've remained close pals ever since.
From Account Executive to General Manager I've worn different radio hats through the years. Even wore a turban, in character as Swami Raj, Certified Bait Psychic on the Lethal Breakfast Morning Program. We play nice with talent, with programming, with promotions, and with sales.
On the other side of the mic, we help businesses leverage their media spend through effective use of radio. Custom marketing funnels combining radio, social and web offer great ROI. I've even set up and programmed low power, FM Radio stations for use on-site at corporate events.
Ask not what you can do for Radio. Ask what can WROG do for you?
Leverage my love of radio. From free tips to turnkey service. Let's have our best day at work, ever.
Let's talk about radio.