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98.7 WXLO "99X" / New York

Brian White, “99X”WXLO New York | Sometime 1974

Short enough to be a MICRO-Check, here’s something new Contributor Keith Teicher sent in a few weeks ago. This is Brian White on 99X, and we’re guessing at the year here – sounds like 1976, although there’s not really enough of this aircheck to really get a feel for the exact date, but one can get reasonably close. UPDATE: Date changed to 1974 thanks to some helpful listeners.

WXLO sure is cookin’ in this short composite. We’ve had some discussions about 99X and conclude that had this been on FM in 1983 instead of the mid 70s, there most certainly would never have been WHTZ Z-100 or a CHR WPLJ, and perhaps not even a 92.3 WKTU in it’s CHR form. 99X was light years ahead of its time. And lest we remind you, that was RKO Radio! We’ll NEVER let the FCC forget the mistake of forcing RKO out of the radio business, not after what they’ve allowed since 1996!


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9 Comments


  1. Ill say it again, if these guys were on am… say 710 for example WABC probably would have been an after thought!

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    • Mike, that’s always been speculation, but this is New York City we’re talking about. Anywhere else, the ‘Q’ format (which is what 99X was, after all… just an East Coast version of KCBQ) would have buried the competition. But WABC WAS New York. It personified the Big Apple in a way that none of the RKO stations of the time could. And I seriously doubt that Rick Sklar, Al Brady Law or anyone else would have let WXLO / WOR get anywhere near their ratings numbers. WABC was WELL entrenched before WXLO came on the scene, and even if RKO had taken WOR AM 710 Top 40 in, say, 1968 or so, they would have been too late, as WABC had captured 6 million listeners in the Tri-State region with the Beatles, and so on. As it was, 98.7 was Top 40 WOR-FM as early as 1967, and didn’t morph into WXLO until 1972. And strangely enough, the move to the ‘Q’ format as 99X didn’t even happen until the Spring of 1974! Now, if that had happened on AM 710 instead of 98.7 in 1974, I do think that it would have been a different game. WNBC didn’t become a serious Top 40 competitor to WABC until 1977. WMCA quit the Top 40 game in 1970, and so in 1974 WABC essentially had the format all to themselves. A Top 40 WOR AM in 1974 would have been a complete game changer. But not in the years 1965-70. Nobody was going to beat WABC during that time period. And I think that’s why RKO decided against doing the format on AM 710. RKO had to know they would have had to spend enormous sums to build and promote a Top 40, KFRC/KHJ style format on 710, all on the chance that they would get a decent return on the investment. In the end it just wouldn’t have been worth it.

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  2. Considering every song is from 1974, I’d bet on that as the year instead of 1976.

    This was RKO imitating Buzz Bennett’s Q format. In fact, Brian White was at KCBQ after this.

    As for RKO, they earned that FCC trouble. They were a disaster before Bill Drake, and talented programmers (Paul Drew, Dave Sholin, Charlie Van Dyke, Michael Spears, Les Garland, Gerry Cagle, John Long, Bobby Rich) gave them a second golden era after Drake’s departure in ’73.

    But by the end, RKO was darn near hopeless again. Car Radio on KHJ? The Game Zone on KFRC? Had the FCC let them live, they likely would have been no better than the average corporate broadcaster of the 1990s, and would probably have long ago been swallowed by Clear Channel or CBS.

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  3. Brian White worked at some great stations, WDRQ, KCBQ, 99X, not too shabby eh? I used to listen to him on KROY which is where he went not long after WXLO. Man he was always very together and pretty entertaining.

    Reply

    • His stint at KROY was in 1976, so yeah, this aircheck had to be from 74.

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  4. RKO kept WOR-AM in its format because it was already successful. WABC was irrelevant in that decision.

    WABC’s decline in the late 70s proves they weren’t invincible. But in the same way that it took them 10 years to chase WMCA out of the format, a direct attack on WABC with a strong signal, great personalities and a monster budget would probably have been a decade-long battle.

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  5. This check was from 1974, probably the Spring.

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  6. you are right steve and I agree that 1974 could have been an interesting year! we actually had somthing like that happen 3 times on a much smaller market size scale upstate that year. by 1973 WPTR albany was sounding way too 60s. kopps/monahan brought in dan martin to crosstown rival WTRY and he stole every page from the drake and Q book. by 1977 WPTR was a/c by 1980 country. in syracuse in ’74 the same thing happened and WOLF overtook 60s legend WNDR and never looked back and that was with one fifth the power. 40 miles east of there in utica WRUN clobbered 60s dinosaur WTLB as well forcing them to rock thier fm sister station. who knows what ’74 could have brung in the apple?

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  7. WOR AM had a huge audience in it’s own right- Rambling with Gambling- A top notch news staff. It was NYC’s full service station (like WGN/WBZ/KMPC etc). No reason to take it top 40 (since WABC had that covered).. Dont forget the suburban competitors as well WWDJ, a couple of Long Island and Connecticut stations. On FM WPIX was heading in that direction and WNBC shifted over starting in 1970.

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