Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Imus, Mike and the Mad Dog, & Doris from Rego Park: The Groundbreaking History of WFAN

When I don't listen to the radio, I like to read about radio personalities and stations.  There are very few books that discuss one particular radio station, but I found this one and downloaded it for my Amazon Kindle.

It gives a detailed history of the station as it was developed by Jeff Smuylan of Emmis Broadcasting in 1987.  It first came to 1050 AM as it succeeded country music station WHN at that frequency.  Please see this entry for a review I did about a book on WHN.  It did have a hard time when it first started, but it really took off in 1988 when it moved to 660 AM and Imus was made morning host after WNBC ended its long run at that frequency.

The book discussed many of the personalities such as Mike Francesa, Chris Russo, Chis Carlin, Russ Salzberg, Kevin Burkhardt, Mark Malusis, Howie Rose, Steve Somers, Jim Lampley and many others.  Some of  these personalities have stayed with the station for many years while others have moved on to other media outlets.

I was impressed with the chapter that discussed many of the regular callers such as Doris From Rego Park.  She had phoned in during the overnight hours, so I never had the pleasure of hearing her phone into WFAN.  There is also Bruce from Flushing who is not me.  Some years back a neighbor asked me if I was that called to WFAN.

Over the years I have listened to WFAN intermittantly.  I usually only listen for 20-30 minutes at a time as umpteen calls about yesterday's game can get boring.  I never phoned into the station as I have heard stories that one may have to wait up to 90 minutes to get on the air.  I do think that regular callers don't have to wait very long.

I commend Tim Sullivan for a fine job of documenting the history of the first sports talk radio station.  I hope that somebody writes a history of WCBS-FM.  Maybe after I retire I'll take a stab at it.

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