Long time New York radio personality Bill Brown just passed away at the age of 69. There was some confusion last night as a radio message board post announced his death from his Wikipedia entry. We all know that anyone can post information on the Wikipedia and it is not always a reliable source of information. When I heard Dan Taylor announced it this morning, I knew it was true. Bill actually came to WCBS-FM before it became an oldies station in July 1972. He was the last DJ on the station when it was hijacked on June 3, 2005. I would like to refer my readers to fine articles by Vince Santarelli and Jerry Barmash which detail Bill’s radio career. It was a shame that Bill never did another radio show after WCBS-FM flipped to Jack. He never got a chance to say goodbye to his listeners.
I would like to add my Bill Brown story. I think this must have happened in the late 1990s when there was a feature on his show called the Brown Bag. Listeners could send Bill a list of songs with a theme. If you set list was picked, you would win a WCBS-FM tote bag. I knew that May 24th, Bob Dylan’s birthday was coming up. I asked Bill to play a set list of Bob Dylan covers that were top 40 hits. If I remember correctly I requested:
- It Ain’t Me Babe - The Turtles
- Mr. Tambourine Man - Byrds
- The Mighty Quinn - Manfred Mann
- Don’t Think Twice - The Wonder Who
- Blowin’ in the Wind - Peter. Paul and Mary
I usually take vacation on Dylan’s birthday and was listening to WCBS-FM at 12:20 to hear the Brown Bag. Sadly, my set list was not played. A few months later I received a package with my WCBS-FM tote bag with a note saying that my set played. I obviously missed it since on most weekdays when Bill was on the air I was at work. Oh well.
Right now I am listening to an air check of Bill Brown from July 12, 1971 one year before the station adopted the oldies format.
My condolences to his family.