Every now and then, an aircheck comes along that really reminds me of what community full service radio really was in the 70s. Cliff “Rockin'” Kenyon, filling in this day for Randy West, is trying his best to be a big city sounding jock (and who wouldn’t, only 40 minutes from New York City), and in fact he was really SMOKIN’ at hist gig at nearby New Haven WAVZ (see the comments section of WAVZ New Haven, July 1974 where much of the 70s airstaff are sharing memories) as Willie B. Goode.
What, perhaps sets this Bicentennial Summer WFIF (The “Sound of America”) apart from most stations featured on this website is the close resemblance to many small town, community AM stations I remember from my youth. Full service elements such as (in this case) Mutual network news, a local news department, spots for lots of local businesses in and around the southern Rt. 8 corridor (New Haven County, CT), and LOTS of PSA’s! The music on WFIF is all over the place, some bubblegum pop, some early disco hits, some country (I tightly scoped this but you can make out some of the obscure songs you probably haven’t heard in 20 years). Frankly, given the studio equipment described (see the link above), the PD and staff did a great job of putting out a quality product with limited resources. And that’s the one thing that so many small AM stations had in common back in the 70s… aging equipment, old studios, old transmitters, almost no processing and a shoestring budget. But at least they were fully staffed by extremely talented people. Wasn’t that what made radio magical?
I have to add that WFIF was NOT typical smaller market AM radio in two areas: 1. While Milford CT isn’t a huge city (although today, Post Road, U.S. 1 has a huge commercial stretch), its a suburb of much larger New Haven, so it can be considered metro. Also, despite it’s relatively small signal, the format was top 40 in the truest sense in that everything that was a hit at the time got played, not just the power songs. Most small-signal, full-service type stations I remember played either ‘chicken rock’ or had some kind of lazy, haphazard format that included a lot of oldies and even standards mixed in with currents. So, WFIF is very unique, in your webmaster’s opinion. Remember, this part of Connecticut is within the signal contours of just about all NYC AM’s, so the station pretty much had to sound great in order to keep an audience.
This is a gift from Andy Bologovsky, who was a big fan of WFIF. This particular aircheck is presented to the 70s WAVZ staff, many of whom worked here before the step up to Kopps-Monahan a few miles down the road.
9 thoughts on “Cliff Kenyon, WFIF Milford CT | July 20, 1976”
A memory flogger! Thanks to Cliff Truckin’ Kenyon for the link to this site, to this aircheck, and for making our little WFIF sound far better than it deserved to. The webmaster nailed it – WFIF was a very limited facility… barely worthy of being called a radio station. The studio’s ancient Gates “Yard” board and turntables with 2 cart machines were housed in the Connecticut Post Shopping Center’s community rooms. The sound of pre-pubescent girls’ tap dancing lessons had us working the mike very closely some afternoons!
New England radio legend Tom Shovan was GM, and hired me as PD. We were lucky to get some great people to work for us, Cliff and Pete Salant among the pros who made it sound like far more than it was. By posting this aircheck you’ve stirred a million memories and some incredible stories. Thanks for giving it a home, and thanks for the kind words.
I am looking for the current whereabouts of Cliff Kenyon. I am trying to reconnect with him from the ’70’s from WCCC in Hartford.
Any info or lead you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
HI BOB….YOU CAN CONNECT WITH ME AT //WWW.COASTFM.COM…..GNARLY CHARLIE,AKA CLIFF TRUCKIN KENYON,AKA SMOKIN WILLIE B.GOODE….97.3 THE COAST.MIAMI…..
I really miss the old WFIF and they played some great music!!! Luckily I listened to the station when it was around back in the day.
Hi Carl..Thanks for the kind words. Hard to believe this aircheck was from 34 summers ago from the bicentennial summer of 1976.It was fun working for Randy West and the late Tom Shovan and these memories will stay with me forever.Happy Birthday America….Cliff Truckin Kenyon……….
Hi Cliff,you are very welcome. You are right-really hard to believe that was 34 summers ago!!!!! Sad to say,time does fly. I remember listening to you back when I was in high school(Masuk) back then. I’ll never forget the WFIF “machine gun” radio jingle that you guys always played.It truly sounded great and you guys always sounded very professional. You still are not forgotten around here in Connecticut,Cliff.
I would have given a body part to work for the legendary Tom Shovan. one of the true nice guys in the business who was taken from us way too soon. I have to laugh at hearing those old “safety campaign” live spots we all had to deal with at one station or another. the only bad thing about WFIF was that it was on 1500 WTOP’s frequency so they had to sign off at sunset.
Is the date of this confirmed to be July 20, 1976? When I heard the news report at position 12:25 on the missing children, I decided to do a Google search and see what that was about 40 years ago. That lead to an article at //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1976_Chowchilla_kidnapping that states the children disappeared on July 15, 1976. The news story says the disappearance happened “yesterday” which would lead me to believe this aircheck dates to July 16, 1976.
I was born and raised in L.A., where 93 KHJ was ubiquitous. Upon graduating high school in 1977, I traveled “back east” for the first time; while staying with relatives in New Haven, CT I enjoyed listening to WFIF, where I won my first ‘W station’ contest: an assortment of shampoos or something similar, which I gave to my cousin. I had correctly guessed CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising” after hearing a snippet of the song.
I also remember enjoying the manic “96 TICs” FM station during that time. I had never heard DJs – or a radio station – move that fast, before or since that time.
Seems like yesterday…