Before we go on much further, I wanted to post a few important links for fans (or aspiring fans) of New York City radio:
The New York Radio Guide
The New York Radio Message Board
The NY Daily News Entertainment pages (look for David Hinckley's column)
Firstly: the essential-est resource is the New York Radio Guide, which cheerfully presents itself as a one-stop shop for all things New York Radio. You’ll see news briefs on the main page, weekly highlights, plus – coolest of all – a “What’s On The Radio?” page. Go there, click on the time of day, and find out what’s going on on every NYC metro area frequency RIGHT NOW. Way cool. (If only the recommendations were guided and/or opinionated…)
Speaking of opinions: another fantastic site is the New York Radio Message Board. This won’t really appeal to the casual listener, but if you care (or come to care) about NYC radio and the business of NYC radio, this is the place to be. There’s a lot of “inside baseball” here, plus more than a little “radio-sucks-but-it-used-to-be-great”-ism, but I ain't gonna lie: I will lean heavily on this message board for news of the scene.
Speaking of nostalgia: it's no accident that the oft-grumpy New York Radio Message Board is hosted by the Musicradio 77 WABC nostalgia pages. This is an incredibly fun site that's dedicated to memorializing the good old days of WABC-AM, the quintessential classic Top 40 radio station. (Check out this Real Audio clip of the great Ron Lundy doing his thing on June 27, 1970.)
An interesting thing about radio fandom is that it's so rife with nostalgia... it seems that those who care more than a bit about the medium usually assume its best days are behind it. Hell, I feel that way sometimes. When I started to get interested in radio - in the mid-'70s, when there was an upsurge in appreciation of the "Golden Age of Radio" - I was fascinated by the great past too. (I now think that my interest with OTR - the hobby of Old-Time Radio - was, in part, a way I was trying to bond with my Dad, who lived through and loved that era. But more about that later.)
I don't know if I can posit that radio's best days are actually ahead of it (despite what Howard Stern's publicity machine says). Certainly the medium today is a lean mean money-making machine, leaner and meaner than ever, which makes creativity and imagination and passion often hard to come by on the airwaves. I certainly love, and will discuss frequently, the "good ol'' days" of Radio here. With that said, I hope this blog will help turn you on to great radio that's being made now, and show you that the medium - which is now being distributed via AM, FM, satellite, internet AND podcasts - is very much alive.
One final link: by far the best reporter of New York radio news is the New York Daily News's indefatigable David Hinckey: you can find his almost-daily columns in the paper's Entertainment section. Newsday, the Post and the Times also report on the radio scene, but more sporadically. David - a sharp, concise, and humane writer - is there, day after day, serving as the main and most reliable source of what's going on on the local airwaves. Thank God.