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680 AM WRKO / Bob Gilmore / Boston / Chuck Knapp / J.J. Jeffrey

J.J. Jeffrey/Chuck Knapp and the “Top 300 Best of All Time”, 68 WRKO Boston | October 20, 1967

Bob GilmoreOur good friend Bob Gilmore returns with another fantastic aircheck of old!

It seems kind of odd that WRKO, a new station at this point, having flipped to Top 40 from the former WNAC earlier in the year, would be counting down the Top 300 Best of All Time – I mean, the Rock & Roll era only began 12 years prior… but I digress. J.J. Jeffrey starts out counting down the hits from #232 to #230 before handing the reigns to Chuck Knapp. Chuck continues with songs #229 – #220. The recording ends in the middle of a commercial break with Knapp doing a live read for Surf Music.

This is CLASSIC Drake Top 40! Cue the Johnny Mann Singers, and the original WRKO Jingles. All the formatics are in place, and the commercial breaks are filled with businesses that no longer exist, or are memorable for many reasons. And, speaking of live commercial reads, there are LOTS of them, and lots of live “tags” – live reads that the deejay would say at the end of a recorded commercial which was part of the spot.

For those of you wondering what radio really sounded like; what the roots of Top 40/CHR radio are, this is a history lesson you won’t learn in school. WRKO today might irritate its listeners with it’s uber-conservative talk shows (and Howie Carr ain’t no Top 40 jock, that’s for sure)… but this is what “The Big 68” was in it’s glory years, at the very beginning. And there’s just no comparison to now from then. We hope you enjoy!

68 WRKO Boston

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5 Comments


  1. WRKO was so Drake.

    Chuck Knapp sounds like a Jack Armstrong knockoff. I prefer the real thing.

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  2. I thought that WOR-AM was the flagship of RKO Radio in those days. Also, KHJ went Top 40 with the Drake format in April, 1965. I seem to recall WRKO went Top 40 about the time that CKLW and WHBQ modernized their pre-existing Top 40 format, and this was a year after KFRC changed to Top 40 in 1966. WRKO was a big player in the group, but I wouldn’t call it the “flagship”.

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  3. if i remember right, the first day of “the Big 68” was Monday March 13, l967. the first jock was Al Gates. the first song played was “Something Stupid” from Frank and Nancy Sinatra. between the end of all-talk WNAC, there was an interim format called “the Great Golden Hits”. they put announcers on who knew next to nothing about pop music. I heard one of them come out of a Sonny and Cher song and say “there’s Sonny and Cher, two guys who are really making it big in the music business today”…

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  4. What a CLASSIC air check! Steven, so interesting you mention Chuck sounds like a Jack Armstrong knockoff. In those days (and many years to follow) disc jockeys used to copy the styles of those they admired, what…all the time! It would be rare for the listening audience to even KNOW their favorite jock was imitating the style of a big name personality from another city. Chuck DOES sound a lot like Jack Armstrong (truly an original)…and I’m sure there were countless others that followed doing their best to sound like Chuck!
    This is my first time hearing him actually…since I grew up in Washington State. I hold my hand up guilty as charged emulating the styles of radio jocks I admired. Eventually I was told if I wanted to advance my career I’d need to stop doing it, since Seattle already had a Charlie Brown. I did, was fortunate to have worked for WRKO in 1979-80 before I was hired to work mornings at KJR in Seattle replacing my long time idol…Charlie Brown!

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    • Scott, I was and still am the LAST person anyone would consider indicative of any station’s typical audience. No, in 1967 I was just a four year old who barely knew anything but by 1980 I already had heard all the big time major market jocks, listening to a few airchecks left around at 1390 WCAT Orange, Mass where I was doing part time as a 17 year old in High School. I *tried* to emulate a jock I used to listen to at night on WKBW, which came in like a local after sunset… Al Bandiero. It’s all Al’s fault I got into this business in the first place LOL!!! Much like you, I was also told if I wanted to have any future in the business, be me and stop trying to be a big named jock. It took a while for that message to pound home, since I got into the business with that habit already formed. Eventually, though…

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