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Airchexx Talent Spotlight: The Career of Tom Birch

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If someone asked me if I would be doing full length interviews with old jocks, I’d have laughed them right off a cliff. Who, me? Airchexx.com is all about posting airchecks.

This DOES feature the latest Tom Birch aircheck, the beginning of it scattered in and about this interview, which lasts 30 minutes. The rest? Other aircheck parts of stations Mr. Birch mentioned during our conversation are added in to enhance the listener experience.

Tom Birch is launched his career in ‘upstate’ New York. But it was in Miami where he made a big splash! Mr. Birch explains how when they put Y-100 on the air, it crushed the only game in town up till then, a station known as “Tiger Radio”, WQAM. The difference between AM and FM was stark, and the audience loved how the music sounded on FM.

Rather than try to write down this special interview, I’ll just post it here. We can think of no better place to display the career of a man who has risen through the ranks to become nationally know, a ratings pioneer, and a station owner.

Our journey begins HERE.

100.7 Miami Ft. Lauderdale, South Florida, Y100, WHYI, CHR, Jade Alexander, Kenny Walker, 1990s, 1996


Aircheck # 1,304 since May 2, 2002!

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7 Replies to “Airchexx Talent Spotlight: The Career of Tom Birch”

  1. Matt Seinberg


    I have an aircheck of Tom from when he was PD at WQAM in March of 1978. My friend Steve Singer and I met Tom at the station when we were on vacation, and we got the nickel tour along with some station SWAG. In fact, I heard from Tom a number of years ago, and gave him a copy of that aircheck.

  2. Admiral


    Tom is a fantastic talent – he had quite a career – really setting the tone for fm in the 70’s! Sounds a great deal like another ‘not as famous’ jock John Elliott out of Texas who I believe is also featured on AirChexx.com

    All good baby!

    • Steve West


      Todd! Good God! Do you know, I talked with John Elliot on the phone about a month ago! He’s still around and kickin’ and we had a great time shootin’ the crap about the old KOUL and KLTG, and of course, KTSA, Ricci and Trey Ware and YOU. Man, it was great. I wish he’d stay in touch! You too! Hope yours was a great Christmas and have a good New Year!

  3. Mike Donovan


    I met Tom Birch years ago when he was PD at KOMA. I went to a breakfast we both were invited to. I was at the old KZUE (The Zoo) in Oklahoma City. The Zoo was a screamin’ Top 40 competing with a newly personality-driven KOFM and Tom Birch was taking KOMA the other way. It was “Liner Radio” during his time at KOMA. Every quarter hour segue with the jock saying, “KOMA plays the BEST music.” Great jocks – reading liner cards. Needless to say, the jocks hated it. But AM was beginning to take huge hits and that was a difference – “more music – less talk.” Tom’s a great guy and had a great radio career. Nice job, Steve!

    Mike Donovan

    • Steve West


      Yes, but you nailed it. KOMA on 1520 had a huge signal, a ton of heritage, and otherwise everything going for it. Except for evil FM. By the time period you’re referring to, nobody really knew how to keep listeners on AM. They tried everything. Honestly. Some made it through the 80s playing pop music. I use WBZ Boston as that example, playing pop music by day (and it was full service AC with the emphasis on News and Weather, which they took fulltime in 1992) and local talk at night. At KOMA, I am not quite as familiar with the music format in the 80s, but Tom Birch did hint at his programming tenure when we talked and I got the feeling that he was doing everything he could to keep the station above water. FM ate the music audience for dinner, and that was WITH the mighty heritage of the 50kw blowtorch legacy of KOMA with all its mystique. Ordinarily I’d criticize the ‘liner card’ approach, but here at that time and place, it was probably the only thing they hadn’t tried. We just didn’t know it at the time.

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