Before the birth of what’s known today as WOGL, 98.1 was home to a heritage set of call letters and a trademarked hot Top 40 format which graced a dozen or so markets from 1977-1986. Mike Josephs’ “Hot Hits” format revolutionized the way the Top 40 format was presented. “Hot Hits” was so tight, Josephs’ so unwavering in the format’s execution, that while each station that aired the format had its own uniqueness, the core format was absolutely the same wherever it aired, be it little WFBL “Fire 14” Syracuse NY (a tiny, 1,000 watt candle on 1390 AM), WTIC-FM Hartford or here, at WCAU-FM Philadelphia. Of course, there were other stations which aired “Hot Hits”, including WMAR-FM (later, WMKR) Baltimore (see WWMX, Mix 106.5), WNVZ “Z-104” Norfolk VA, and even WBBM-FM Chicago.
At 98-Now, the hits were played in very tight rotation, coupled with jocks who quipped one-liners at the END of songs, then played the WCAU-FM jingle and the next element – a practice which has been largely countered today by most consultants who espouse ‘forward momentum’, that is, talk on the INTROs, but never on the endings of songs. Joesephs’ format was the reverse. And it worked, at least for a few magical years in the 80s. The Philadelphia Radio Archives website has a few words written in description of WCAU-FM;
“In September 1981, WCAU switched to a top-40 format called “Hot Hits.” This format was developed by program consultant Mike Joseph and was used at a number of CBS-FM stations. The Hot Hits format included all current hits, high energy announcers, and lots of catchy jingles. Some memorable jocks included Terry “The Motor-mouth” Young, Billy Burke, Bill O’Brien, and Christy Springfield. WCAU found a great deal of success with this programming for much of the mid
80s. By 1987, however, the station found itself in stiff competition with a revitalized Eagle 106 (WEGX-FM).”
On this aircheck, provided by Big Apple Airchecks, your webmaster has very tightly scoped down this original 45 minute cassette recording of HotShot Bob Garrett doing his thing. Note right at the beginning, that WCAU-FM was very sold out! While a high number of commercials per hour doesn’t necessarilly note high profitability, in most cases it demonstr
ates popularity. (Rick Kelly once wrote on his website, northeastairchecks.com, that at WAQY Springfield MA, the Top 40 “Wacky 102” format was doomed, partly BECAUSE of an enormous spot load per hour). Bob Garrett is a very talented here and never misses ‘the post’ – certainly an absolute requirement at “Hot Hits”. NOTABLES: Dan Ingram (WABC/WKTU/WCBS-FM) voicing a Pepsi Free commercial. And, the commercial for AIDS weight loss… OMG, considering the date and disease HIV, it’s one of those ironies… Jingles used here ad nauseum are From JAM’s “FM” package (WLS-FM) sung for WCAU-FM.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. In 1987 98-Now WCAU-FM flipped to Oldies. As WOGL, it has reached levels of success which surpass everything that was done with “Hot Hits”. In fact, as of this writing, 98.1 WOGL arguably is playing the same hits NOW that they did as WCAU-FM in the 80s. Its ironic that things have come full circle.
For more information on Mike Joseph and his “Hot Hits” format, check out Steve McVie’s website, or you may go here to read more about Mike Joseph.