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Mark Driscoll, 98.7 WOR-FM New York | Winter, 1972

The legacy of New York’s 98.7 continues now with this late edition of WOR-FM featuring the pipes of Mark Driscoll.

Listening to this, one might wonder why RKO General felt the need to change call letters. WOR-FM sounds here, much as WXLO sounded a year later, only with different jocks. Listen to the variety! While this is short, you’ll sample the playlist featuring songs from Paul Simon, The Four Tops, The Doors to even Led Zeppelin! What we wouldn’t give to hear a solid hour of this unscoped!

Listening to this, its amazing that WABC didn’t have a much bigger ratings challenge earlier on in the 1970s. If this had been on WOR AM 710, perhaps WABC’s days as a Top 40 station would have ended much sooner than they did. Remember, this was 1972 – and FM wasn’t *quite* ready for the bigtime just yet.

98.7 New York WOR-FM

Credits
Airchexx.com gratefully thanks Contributor Steve Bleecker for donating this high-quality aircheck to the archives. Mr. Bleecker in turn would like to thank Andy Kitchen for providing him with tape decks, reel to reel machines, etc., in order that he could master the tapes he sent in to us. And, finally, Steve Bleecker and Airchexx wish to thank Mr. Henry Frick, whose efforts in recording this aircheck and many others like it are ultimately the reason this recording is in our archive to begin with. Or, to put it in Contributor Steve Bleecker’s own words,

“I need to Publicly say “Thanks Much” to Mr. Henry Frick, who is now retired, and living with his wife of many years, in Ft. Worth Texas. Before his long and Successful Career in Railroading…Henry and I were Curry College Buddies in Milton, Mass., and so many of the tapes I now have been able to share were given to me many years ago…and were painstakingly recorded by Henry, either while he was at school, in Milton, or in Greenwich, Conn., at his parent’s home. So…we are so Very Grateful, Henry ! Thank You !”

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17 Comments


  1. Although they didn’t share audience, there was a format leading WRFM…who kept 98.7 from regaining those calls years later. The station had established itself as an oldies based station, that the WXLO calls and later the 99X moniker were better suited for a modern CHR.

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    • Here’s something interesting though. WXLO abandoned those call letters in 1981. The calls sat dormant for about a year and a half before we (meaning myself and the rest of the on air staff of the former WFMP 104.5 Fitchburg Mass) voted at a staff meeting in November (I think) of 1982. We had 5 sets of call letters we could vote on. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember the other call letters on the list if you poked me with a hot fireplace poker haha. But, I think everyone in the room knew of the heritage that went with the WXLO calls. At that point in time, doing ANYTHING to make that dump of a radio station we were at better was a big deal. Hell, the transmitter was in bad shape, the thing caught fire one night while I was doing a live-assist show. Come to think of it, so did the automation once but that’s a different story. Back to 98.7. RKO General really was a format pioneer. By the Spring of 1981, 99X was already pretty much Urban before the term really existed, having already ditched just about all the rock songs on their playlist. It was all Dance/Disco by then, and I think RKO knew they had to do something to make a break from the Rock based Top 40 format that WXLO was known for. They ended up with WRKS… keeping the parent company’s name recognition to a degree, although I’ll never understand what the S was in WRKS.

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  2. Mark Driscoll Went On Be The Unknown DJ At Z100 In New York And Then As A Program Director At WIOQ In 1989 As He Relaunches Q102 As A Rhythmic CHR Station.

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  3. It’s my understanding that they wanted to change the call letters back to WOR-FM, I guess to capitalize on that heritage, but the attempt was blocked by WRFM. Thus the change to WRKS.

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  4. I have Just “Chatted” with Mark on Facebook…reminding him of how “affected” I was, when just 2 short Years after this clip at OR-FM…he “Hit” Rochester…to Program 95/BBF…AGAINST me, and ALL of us at WAXC/1460 ! The Small, Wonderful World of Radio…and airchexx.com !

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  5. Speaking of WXLO calls, and way off topic, the Massachusetts ‘XLO..does anybody know what happened to Chase Murphy? He was there in the late 90’s/early 2000’s?

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  6. WOR-FM — No personality.

    WABC —– Personality

    That’s the difference.

    Do you really think these guys could touch Dan Ingram, Harry Harrison, Cousin Brucie, etc. Come on. Get real.

    Driscoll you could hear in most any medium market.

    It’s not apples v. apples. It’s apples v. weeds.

    Tony

    Reply

    • You can’t really say no personality. true, they didn’t talk as much as ABC and the format was tight but there was wiggle room for these guys to be great. you have to admit that this still sounded good. especially compared to today’s garbage.

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      • Adding to that. this would be like comparing apples and oranges. to a degree, WABC had too much clutter. it could be argued that they should have toned it down a bit. but they didn’t have to. that’s what RKO General did. Both were great but different. wouldn’t it be nice to have two different sounding chr stations per market these days?

        Reply

        • One key was the personalities.

          Apples and apples … Drake and Drake

          Does any one think the WOR-FM jock lineup was close to KHJ’s? Did WOR-FM have the equivalent of Robert W. Morgan and the Real Don Steele in drive time.

          Maybe some think so. I don’t.

          Morgan and Steele could be funny within the Drake format. The WOR-FM jocks were close to being liner jocks. Listen carefully set by set.

          I just call ’em as I see ’em.

          Sometimes I don’t see that well, I admit.

          Tony

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      • Yes, the OR-FM jocks had a little wiggle room for personality.

        But listen again and tell me where Driscoll displays an ounce of personality anywhere in the aircheck.

        Frankly, he was not even that good at selling the commercials. It’s just reading the words. Listen to Lohman and Barkley sell spots and compare. The only one even close was Joe McCoy.

        Besides you wondered why WOR-FM could not compete with WABC. FM trying to get a foothold was part of it.

        But WABC was just better. Their jocks were better. I don’t see how anyone can argue that.

        Better giveaways, better contests, better news, better public affairs, etc.

        Can anyone really say that WOR-FM was close to WABC, one of the greatest Top 40 stations of all time?

        Yes, it’s better than today’s radio, but frankly, that’s not much of an endorsement.

        Pardon me. I’m just here to stir up trouble … and discussion.

        Tony

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        • Tony, from a strictly talent perspective, you’re 100% correct. WABC had by far, the better talent. No comparison. Talent which was allowed to be the personalities they were, not boxed into a tight format with no room. That is exactly what made the difference.

          For one, I LOVED WABC. But I really liked other stations back then too. Different forms of the same pie. The competition made things so good. That’s perhaps what I miss the most.

          Nice comment.

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  7. It was New York’s version of any RKO station of the time. (KHJ KFRC WHBQ CKLW)

    To me, it was a very good version of Drake in its time. Witness how many Drake wanna bees there were. In LA, K-RTH was doing oldies as K-Earth (automated as most listeners were still with AM for music.)

    My only problem was a bit with identity.
    It went from the jock (any of them) saying “OR-FM” yet the jingles were “WOR-FM”.

    Another thing and I do remember this from reading the trades of that time: the Drake jingles might have begun starting to burn by that time. Sound good all these years later, but was there a “burn” factor at that time?

    You’ll notice that in the 99X airchecks, it’s ALWAYS a STRICT “99X” and not anything else. (The Superstar/Carpenters to Schools Out/Alice Cooper segue on 99X/Dave Thompson aircheck shows the true meaning of mass appeal, and not the “narrowcasting” that it has become, with no locality at all.)

    WABC had a 7+7 All American survey, plus news at :55 and :25, commercials galore.

    WOR-FM dropped its “Great 98 (singles) and 7 Albums” for a Big 30 survey in 1967. The “20/20 News” was dropped outside of AM drive.

    To listen as a radio geek, WOR-FM then 99X were tight, PERSONALITY, uptempo and well polished!

    Radio today should sound 1/10th as good!

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  8. I am always amused by the way over the top WABC fans. They seem to ignore a number of things.

    1 WMCA in the mid 60’s nearly always beat ABC in the NY metro, but lost in the TSA due to signal.

    2 The only thing that really saved ABC from taking a rating beating when Bill Drake came to NY was the fact that WOR-AM was so successful it wasn’t flipped to Top 40. If it did, Drake would have recruited the best of the best and crushed WABC with his hipper, fast forward and more contemporary approach.

    3.WABC was almost a parody of itself by the early 70’s as good as the personalities were, they were decades older than their target audience. They were cluttered, and too unhip. Lucky for them they never had serious big signaled AM competition, or they would have gone down way sooner.

    4. NY was a laggard market for FM. Even though it was considered cutting-edge NY was not quick to adopt to FM as the primary music medium. WOR-FM/WXLO and a few others made some strides, but the receivers simply weren’t there for an FM to win 6am-7pm.

    Reply

    • And I’m amused at the ‘coke vs pepsi’ opinons of New Yawkers back then. WABC ‘too old’ or ‘too cluttered’ and RKO listeners lucky the AM didn’t go Top 40 aka Bill Drake. And I got news for all of you. You’re damn lucky New York accepted Rock N Roll at all. It very well could have been most of the audience flocking to WNEW Eleven Three Oh to hear Frank Sinatra, et al.

      Thats a bit tongue in cheeck.

      Both WOR-FM/WXLO and WABC were great in their own way. Some prefer one over the other, and really, WABC had the momentum had they not second guessed themselves, to be a contending Top 40 station well into the 1980s like their sister station in Chicago. WLS hung on until 1988. WABC was essentially finished in 1980, even though it took two more years to finally go talk. Even RKO gave up when they had a good thing going. WRKS… What were they thinking? Should have stayed CHR into the 80s and given Z100 a run for its money.

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  9. when I was in utica at WTLB FM…. WRCK in chicago dropped those call letters… we instantly applied for the WRCK calls and got them.

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  10. Keep it all just the way IT IS…on airchexx.com !

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