Friday, August 24, 2012

Waiting for Operation Desert Storm from the Gloom and Doom Tomb

There were two studios used to produce programming for Radio Newyork International back in the WWCR days.  The NYC studio was in Flushing, Queens and operated by Randi Steele.  It was a fun and energetic place from which to broadcast.

The other studio was in Yonkers, NY and just north of the City.  It was run by Pirate Joe aka Joseph Paul Ferraro.  When we were putting together the WWCR programming it was agreed that two out of four Sundays per month the broadcasts would come from JP's studio.

As it happened, I was the staff member other than Randi who best knew JP and had experience broadcasting out of that studio.  It was the Yonkers location where I had originated live programming for KPF941 during the early part of the 1980s.  So I drew the job of complementing Pirate Joe's programs twice a month.

JP's studio had a quieter, laid back vibe than Randi's.  Randi tended to have a more hyper personality than JP.  I seem to absorb whatever vibe I'm being exposed to and this led Randi to remark that, at least in his opinion, my programming coming from Yonkers sounded like it was coming from a "gloom and doom tomb".  Well, I wasn't looking to do a hyperactive, screaming DJ show anyway.  And more of the serious radio seemed to come out of JP's studio, with lighter fare coming out of Randi's place.

This week, we offer up a classic Dan Lewis RNI Mailbag show from 1991.  The chronic mail delivery issues seemed to have been resolved and Dan dives right in by reading a letter from a listener complaining about what he perceives as RNI's hard core left wing politics.  Alternative agri-fuel gets good attention, too, as an alternative to foreign wars over oil.

The program, done on the eve of Operation Desert Storm, is a time capsule of the early days of 1991 when our nation was on the cusp of going to war, yet again, to police the world.  Here in 2012, there is much to learn from the state of the world in 1991.  Despite the laid back environment, this week's program features a very heated exchange with a listener who wrote and called to support the war.

Please listen, enjoy and hopefully learn.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

His and Hers - As You Like It

Dody and Jerry Cowan

If you listened to shortwave in the 1960s and 1970s, no doubt you came across a wildly popular request program hosted by a husband and wife team.  "His and Hers" was hosted by Canadian Jerry Cowan and his lovely Dutch wife Dody and broadcast to the world via Radio Nederland, the Dutch World Broadcasting System.  Every Tuesday they would read letters, play requests, and make the listener feel as if they were a guest in their living room.  I was a devoted listener and always wondered what happened to these old radio friends.  I heard that life had taken each of them in a different direction, that they had divorced, and that Jerry returned to Canada.  Then I heard that Dody had died.

Much like Mark Twain, rumors of her death had been greatly exaggerated.  Glen Hauser announced in his MT column that Dody was alive and living in France under the name Deborah Rey.  She had a blog, an email address, and was on Facebook.  I had to speak to her to talk abouit the old days and new projects.

And so we spoke.  The conversation was aired on my WBCQ program of July 20, 2008 and can be heard here.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Stereo 9 FM and the 1980 DNC in NYC

For the first half of the 1980s, some of the most innovative radio heard in New York City was heard after 1 AM on 91.9 MHz, on those nights when Stereo 9 FM took to the air from its Flushing, NY location.  This station had a directional antenna pattern from its Chanel Master FM yagi antenna.  Most of the time it pointed east toward Long Island, but sometimes it would point westward to Manhattan.  The station was run by Ed Armstrong -- who later became known as Radio Newyork International's own Randi Steele.

I first met Ed Armstrong at the young age of 15.  I was attending a phone phreak convention at the Hotel Diplomat near Times Square in NYC.  A guy came up to me with a microphone and we started to talk.  When I asked him what radio station he was with, he was a little cagey.  Right away, I knew I had chanced upon a real life pirate broadcaster.

As it happened, I lived in Queens, well within earshot of Ed's 1973 pirate station, WQLB.  WQLB was part of the Falling Star Network run by Allan Weiner and Joseph Paul Ferraro.  But WQLB's antenna was damaged during an ice storm in November of 1973 and never returned to the air -- at least under that the late 1970's, Ed returned to the air with a new idea.  And so Stereo 9 FM was born.

32 years ago today, the Democratic National Convention came to New York City for its 1980 presidential nominating convention.  Stereo 9 FM was there to cover it, in true stereo.  We used two EV 635A microphones mounted on a was quite a sight to see.  One of those two microphones is still in service today in my studio.

This off-air recording from August 10, 1980 features Marconi (aka Dan Lewis), Ed Armstrong (aka Randi Steele), and Mr. Tim interviewing folks (including Betty Boop and Dana Beale) outside of Madison Square Garden.  This was pirate radio at its best.  It's somewhat disheartening that many of the issues that faced us in 1980 are very much with us today, unresolved 32 years later.

The fade down and up around the 30 and 60 minute marks are not edits, but where the cassette tape used for the off air recording was changed.

Listen here.

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

RNI Mailbag - December 23, 1990

In 1990 and 1991, I hosted a Sunday radio program on shortwave station WWCR in Nashville, TN.  They were -- and are still today -- a radio time broker.  Allan Weiner of Radio Newyork International (RNI) fame bought 4 hours every Sunday night to bring RNI back to the air -- legally.  I hosted the RNI Mailbag program...but this was not your grandfather's shortwave mailbag program.  We took listener phone calls, had commercial advertisements, and focused on liberal politics.  I enjoyed doing this program.  Allan once told me that his father, Samuel Weiner, called my program a voice of sanity...well perhaps, but we had fun too.  In this particular episode, which aired on December 23, 1990, we focused on censorship and freedom of speech.

You can listen here.