Big Ron O’Brien, 66 WNBC New York | February 2, 1982
Recording Date: 02.04.1982
Station: 66 WNBC (defunct) (W2XY/WBAY/WEAF/WRCA/WNBC) New York (Wikipedia)
Format: Adult Contemporary
Branding: “Sixty Six, W NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN B C”
Ownership: The National Broadcasting Company
Featured Air Personality: Big Ron O’Brien (02.24.1951 – 04.27.2008) (Obit) (Wikipedia)
Contributor: Big Apple Airchecks
Total Time: 12:53 (Telescoped)
W NNNNN B C! Four Fourteen with the all-night creature feature…
Knowing Big Ron was in a class by himself, having worked with many of the legends, such as Larry Lujack at WCFL and all, one would think that this talented guy would be holding down drive time on what by 1982 was New York City’s de-facto Top 40 station. Adult oriented for the most part, but heavily dayparted, WNBC was literally all things to all people, in the months prior to the launch of Z100, and just three months before WABC got out of the music business. WNBC had found its niche. Here’s Big Ron, holding down the OVERNIGHT slot on the flagship station of NBC, and sounds like he’s having a good time in the middle of the night.
WNBC was saddled with all of its network commitments despite the hit music. So, shortly into this aircheck, you’ll hear Don Alexander anchor NBC Network News on the hour at 4am. Seriously, anything you want to know about what was happening in the world on the date of this aircheck, you’ll find out in a full, four minute newscast that includes stories about mideast peace talks (so, we’ve been trying for 40 years to get them to talk peace?!), Nicaragua and El Salvadore and what President Reagan was doing. Did you know, the unemployment rate in early 1982 was almost TEN %? And we think it was bad after the ’08 crash. Wow.
The audio is a *little* scratchy. This recording suffers from tape rumble, which sometimes one would hear after recording on a cheap boombox or other similarly inexpensive tape recorder. I was unable to remove the rumble without seriously compromising the integrity of the broadcast, so program your ears to deal with it… and a slight amount of distortion. But overall, this is a great recording, and it shows that before all that consolidation which began about 5 years after this aircheck, AM radio was live, local, informative and exciting – even at four in the morning!