Bob “Bobaloo” Lewis was best known as one of the “All Americans” on 77 WABC (AM). Lesser known was the fact that he was also heard on the FM side. WABC-FM 95 1/2 was a Progressive Rock station. The format was called “Love”. It featured tons of album cuts from all the heavys of the time, Hendrix, the Doors, the Who, and many more similar artists which would become the staples of AOR and later, Classic Rock stations.
In 1970, this format sported jingles and full newscasts on the hour and half hour from the ABC FM Network. It’s obvious that ABC corporate was building for the future and knew even in 1970 that the future was with FM. This aircheck proves it.
What you hear on this aircheck is a radio station that was WAY ahead of its time. When 95.5 changed call letters to WPLJ, the Album Rock format continued to evolve, minus the jingles and ABC FM News until it changed to CHR in the early 1980s. This is a true rarity. It’s an original recording from longtime Contributor Steven Green, encoded from the original source reel.
11 thoughts on “Bob Lewis, 95.5 WABC-FM New York | January 10, 1970”
WABC RockRadio 95!
During the time of WABC-FM, (pre WPLJ) parts of the program schedule were still simulcast with the big Top 40 rock WABC-AM. Bob Lewis actually lived the “SNL” parody (with Dan Akroyd) about a DJ splitting between AM rock and FM progressive. When Bob Lewis finished his FM show, he immediately became Bob-a-loo, doing fast and loud top 40 on both AM and FM. It was a fun and interesting part of the development of radio. Thank you for posting. This was the epitome of FM progressive broadcasting at the time.
Wasn’t the syndicated “Love” format aired on WABC-FM on tape and voiced by Brother John Rydgren as it was on the other ABC O&O?
I wonder who produced those jingles and if re-sings are available? Good songs all around. Sorry I missed the Underground era.
I forgot about Brother John. Yes, as I recall, THAT was the “Love” format. I don’t remember if that ran with or before the live “95 and a half”.
Tony, you are correct about the syndicated “Love” format. That format was gone by the end of ’69. What you are hearing in this aircheck is post “Love.” the presentation on this aircheck sounds more like a toned-down top 40 approach rather than what other progressive rock stations like WNEW, KSAN, WMMR, Etc were doing at the time. There is a voice break between every song — completely disrupting any flow the music could have had. the other stations I mentioned would feature long sets of music with one track blending into the next in an interesting way. Bob Lewis was a great jock, and listening to him on WNEW airchecks from just a couple years later proved that he absolutely had the skills to string together interesting sets of music. It’s too bad that he didn’t get the chance to do that at WABC FM.
And as for the guy Bobaloo is talking to early in the aircheck–yes, that’s the future host of “Card Sharks” and “Sale of the Century” Jim Perry.
I was 17 years old attending Hempstead, NY when I met Bob Bobaloo Lewis in New Haven, Conn. before he came to WABC, New York. I was with a concert promoter and Bob was the emcee of the show. The night before he was on the air and ask me to work the request line while he was rating records. I was bit with the radio bug…I remember he use to drive an Austin Healey. Great guy an he was friends with everyone.
I heard Bob Lewis did both AM and FM for a while, I heard he had to choose between top-40 WABC or Progressive WABC-FM and he chose to be on FM, but he is one of the few could do both formats well.
Yes it was the format was working
It failed as on 20 hrs were produced each week
Bob did do that at abc-fm