Recording Date: 09.02.1977
Station: 95.5 WPLJ (WABC-FM) New York (Wikipedia) (Website)
Format: Album Oriented Rock (AOR)
Branded: “New York’s Best Rock”
Ownership: (Then) American Broadcasting Company (ABC) / (Now) Cumulus Media (Website)
Featured Air Personality: Tony Pigg
Contributor: Big Apple Airchecks
It’s Tony Pigg at W P L J… and this is vintage Steve Miller
Well, the jocks could say pretty much what they want within the constraints of WPLJ’s album rock format, but Tony Pigg really plays it straight in this 15 minute ‘scoped aircheck (The unscoped version runs 1 hour 20 minutes!). Tony Pigg, I’m told but can’t verify, was at the station from it’s very beginning – February 14, 1971 (1) – through the rest of the 1970s and into the 1980s up to the format change to CHR on June 1, 1983. In fact, Pigg had been on 95.5 when the station was partly a simulcast of 77 WABC and partly it’s own Rock format called “Love”… the former call letters were WABC-FM. I can’t report what year Tony Pigg arrived but it was sometime in the 1960s. Someone knows and that’s why we have a comment section.
The station was playing a super-wide variety of album cuts at this point in 1977. Artists like Steve Miller, which you’ll hear the intro for, Steely Dan (scoped out in the editing process), America, Heart, Pablo Cruise… and then at the end of this ‘check, unbelievably (because we remember AOR stations as hard rockers these days), The Bee Gees – “You Should Be Dancing”!
Looking back now, this pioneering station was certainly NOT a 100% hard rocker. Except for the years between 1979-1982. And that, perhaps, was true for many Album Rock stations in that short era. Remember hearing Michael Jackson on the rock stations? Like many young hard rock fans, hearing “Beat It” on WPLJ (or for me, it was WAAF Worcester and WCOZ Boston), it was a horrid thing that made me change stations. And then, by the end of 1983 when a bunch of hard rock AOR’s flipped to – something… I blamed that one song, Beat It, for destroying an entire radio format.
And… that still might have been the correct assessment.
To listen, click the PLAY button beneath this image.
Program Director Larry Berger Explains New Format, WPLJ New York | July 1983
The Big Montage, 95.5 WPLJ New York | 1978
First Show, Scott Shannon In The Morning – 95.5 WPLJ New York | April 11, 1991
Scott & Todd, 95.5 WPLJ New York | October 7, 1992
Wendy Williams, WPLJ Power 95 New York | October, 1989
Jim Kerr, Morning Drive, WPLJ “Power 95” New York | November 1987