Harry Harrison was one of the all-time greatest morning DeeJays of the AM Top-40 era. In a time when one-man morning shows were the norm before shock jocks became all the rage, Harrison commanded the highest morning ratings in New York City.
Harrison began his radio career in the midwest. His first major market radio station was WCFL Chicago, wherein 1953 he worked as a fill-in deejay when the station’s full-time personalities were out. For the next five years after leaving WCFL, Harrison was the Program Director and Morning personality of WPEO in Peoria, Illinois. That was the first station where Harrison referred to himself as the “Morning Mayor”.
Harrison arrived in New York City in 1959. He joined the staff of WMCA, home of the “Good Guys”. Harrison became the new mid-day personality, joining an air staff that would become legendary during its heyday. Other WMCA personalities at this time were Jack Spector, Dan Daniel, B. Mitchell Reed and Johnny Dark. Harry Harrison remained there until being lured away in 1968 by WABC Program Director Rick Sklar to take over the morning show. He replaced Herb Oscar Anderson who had just left the station.
By 1984, WABC was long gone, having flipped to Talk Radio in 1982, and Harry Harrison was the Morning personality on WCBS-FM. CBS-FM was a traditional Oldies station at this time, playing mainly hit songs from the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. The station employed many of the same jocks who were a staple of WABC during its heyday as a music station.
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On this recording, you will hear Harrison on a Saturday morning. WCBS-FM billed Saturday and Sundays as “Weekend 101” and this was a special weekend. One of several Radio Great Weekends the station would host over the years. This particular morning, in addition to promoting the Radio Greats Weekend, Harry is counting down the Top 15 songs that week in 1962. You will hear two full newscasts read by Robert Cohen. I leave all the programming elements including commercials and News/Sports/Weather so that you can hear them in context. This is an historical recording, after all.
Part 2 will post shortly.