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Big Wilson, 66 WNBC New York | April 1969

There’s a lot that’s been said about Big Wilson – he’s a legendary personality on the old WNBC. Problem is, when people think of radio in the 1960s in New York City, the first station that always comes to mind is WABC. So, WNBC was always dwarfed… and never really tried to compete in the Top 40 arena anyway, as NBC, the network, always had features running on air which disrupted the music presentation.

Big Wilson is captured here in a recording that sounds like it was made with a microphone placed in front of a table radio speaker. The audio quality isn’t the best. But its worth remembering Big Wilson and a radio station with more heritage than any other station in America… WNBC. The station has been gone since 1988, but certainly not forgotten.

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  1. Wow! An MOR aircheck of the late WNBC! To paraphrase the introductory comment, when people think of that station, its later rock’n’roll formats (AC and Top 40) are what come to mind (as evidenced by all the other WNBC airchecks).

  2. Big Wilson was one of the best in the radio industry and one of the nicest and hip guys too!

    We are so lucky to have this sample of Big Wilson @ WNBC. It is a great example of what “personality radio” was all about in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

    Thank you Airchexx for making this available.

    John Harper
    WMEL Talk Radio
    Cocoa Beach / Melbourne, Fl.

  3. I used to love listening to “Biggy”. I was very upset when he was bumped off of WNBC. As I recall his successor was none other than Don Imus. I was determined to not listen to Imus in the Morning, but he was so wild and crazy that I was drawn in.

    • As I remember it, Big Wilson was bumped not off WNBC when the “Imus in the Morning” show premiered, but moved to middays (or at least to late mornings in particular). Wilson didn’t leave WNBC until two-and-a-half to three years later.

      • I meant, “…was not bumped off WNBC…”.

      • When I first listened to WNBC in mid-1969, Joe O’Brien was doing morning drive and Big Wilson was on middays. When Imus arrived in 1971, he replaced O’Brien and Biggie followed Imus from 10:00 a.m. to early afternoon.

  4. Big Wilson was one of the most talented performers to grace the airways of NYC, which is where I listened to him.

    He was especially gifted when allowed to set up his piano in the studio and tinkle the keys.

    And Biggie used to sine off with…If I don’t see ya…I’ll see ya.”

  5. By the way, Big was a holdover from the MOR days when WNBC switched to what is now known as adult contemporary. I think that he was also a holdover from the middle-of- the-road format prior to the one heard on this aircheck (the MOR format that was, IIHMFS, replaced with the “WNBC-Your Conversation Station” talk format in 1964[a year after Big Wilson signed on with the station)).

  6. The announcer giving the legal ID (and plugging the Joe O’Brian (sp?) show at the end (prior to NBC Radio’s then-news sounder) was either NBC/WNBC-TV staff announcer Vic Roby or similar-sounding NBC/WNBC-TV staff announcer Jerry Damon.

  7. what was biggy,s–theme song ?? I WAS a big fan–when was in cleveland–many moon (DOGs, AGO)that music still haunts me-but cant remember the name!!

  8. I loved Big Wilson when I was a kid in the 1950’s, whe he worked at KYW-1100 Cleveland and Channel 3 Television, and was glad he became a great announcer at WNBC in the Big Apple, along with another Ohioan…Charlie Greer from WAKR-1590 Akron before going to WABC 77 in that same era…great memories.

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