Composite, WXLO 99X New York | December, 1974

“…99X, WXLO New York, Giving Away 1974!…”

Walt Baby Love has always been one of our favorites and this end-of-year ‘check of the old WXLO doesn’t disappoint! Neither does Big Ron O’Brien, who follows Walt… This is the “Q” format perfected for the east and on FM. 99X is legendary, and while it’s been gone for about 30 years now, the memories linger on.

Ron O'Brien
Donated this year by Contributor Frank Davis, this recording is another in our series of 99X-Chexx, and we’re impressed! Listen to the wide variety of music that the Funky X (as Walt Baby Love likes to say) is playing at this time… Led Zeppelin into Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes is a great example… and when was the last time anyone heard Elton John’s “Carmelita”? Compare what WXLO was playing here with a sample playlist of WABC and you’ll find that 99X was really doing a much wider playlist. Plenty of “X-Packs” being given away on this particular day, along with ‘1974’ (you gotta listen to understand), and a live promo for the “Top 99 of 1974” to be aired on New Year’s Eve, leading us to believe this was recorded either December 29 or 30, 1974, as the “X-Packs were being given away ‘all weekend long’.

This is partially scoped with commercials and jock breaks, of course, left in. We had to seriously speed the tape up as it tended to drag, and the audio is a ‘little‘ muddy, but not bad considering the age of the recording. This appears to be the original, recorded on an early “Scotch” brand cassette. The audio on many of these old cassettes didn’t hold up as well as stuff transferred from reels but it’s useable. You will hear some wow and audio fading on this but it shouldn’t impact your listening experience too much.

It was very surprising to hear Big Ron O’Brien on this tape, which was simply labelled ‘Walt Baby Love WXLO’ Its an excellent aircheck which 99X fans will truly enjoy!

Compare this with one of Lee Roberts on 99X from 2/4/78.


  1. mike hotaling

    if this station was a 50,000 watt AM station I would not have payed any attention to either WABC or WNBC.

    • Remember, this was RKO General. RKO could have taken the AM side Top 40 and done a format similar to KHJ or KFRC, but I think that upper brass figured that the amount of cash and energy required to beat WABC was too great. It probably could have been done had WOR 710 gone with Drake in 1965, but even then it would have been very difficult to take on ABC. Other markets where RKO owned stations had Top 40 stations, but none with the immense popularity of WABC. So they took it to the FM side. It was a successful experiment given the limited audience on FM at the time. And yes, I probably also would have ignored WABC and WNBC in favor of this. The energy level was much higher at 99X and the music was hotter.

      • Limited audience? As mentioned in my comment earlier WE BEAT 50,000 watt powerhouses like WABC straight up in the day!

        • Tony

          Steve stated that FM, not 99X, had a limited audience which was true everywhere in 1974 because many cars still did not have FM.

          So, for 99X to beat WABC in the mid 70’s was quite an achievement.

    • Mike,

      We actually beat 50,000 watt WABC back in the day and the Chief Engineer detuned the FM Stereo signal to make it sound like AM so traditional AM listeners would feel more at home.

      Gary McKenzie
      News Director
      99X 1974-75

    • Gary McKenzie

      Why? When we had massive power on FM.

  2. Walt

    I seem to remember hearing Walt “Baby” Love in the late 70`s or 80`s on the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS).

  3. Steve Bleecker

    With all due respect…THIS is NOT the “Q” format….if that were true….Paul Drew invented the “Q” format ! This is Paul
    Drew executed !

  4. Nick

    You’re right that this is technically not the “Q” format, but it begs the question. Was RKO trying to copy Q after it cut ties with Drake? How were Paul Drew and Jerry Clifton’s philosophy and formatics different from Buz Bennet?

  5. Maria Keller

    The Elton John song is “Harmony” and the dedication is to Carmenita, who made the request. This was back when radio was really radio!

  6. swami

    Walt Love moved to wNbc the following year, as I recall. Imus used to refer to him as “Walt Baby Bwana Love.”
    Never get away with that today!

    • Steven Green

      The “Bwana” tag may have been a humorous reference to Bwana Johnny from 97(AM)WWDJ. Bwana Johnny did PM drive on WWDJ around 1973 then went to WFUN in Miami.

  7. Calradiopd

    Nick: Paul Drew allowed his PDs to use elements of the Q format when he replaced Drake at RKO. 99X and KHJ under PD Gerry Petersen in 1974 were the most blatant examples. Michael Spears at KFRC played with it a bit in nights for about 6 months.

    They were markets without Buzz Bennett-consulted Q stations, so it made sense on paper, but it never really worked and by 1975 Drew’s push was for polished mass-appeal that would play to adults as well as teens.

    • Never really worked? Better polish up on your radio history. 99X was neither an experiment or a lack luster performer. We beat 50,000 watt AM powerhouses like WABC in the mid 70s with the red hot jocks and high energy airplay.

      Gary McKenzie
      News Director, 1974-75
      New York

  8. Liz Kiley

    i remember listening to the station, just a radio loving kid during this time period–it was so amazing!

  9. Tony

    Comparing Bill Drake to Paul Drew is not comparing apples to oranges.

    It’s like comparing apples to … weeds.

  10. Gary McKenzie

    Beating WABC was a great feat, but Steve only said FM had a limited audience. Obviously we were an exception.

  11. This radio station would make most music stations in New York or San Francisco bite nails today. I don’t see the harm in trying to bring back the top 40 hit format radio like this nothing to lose no one listens to music radio the way it is now anyway.

  12. Gary McKenzie

    Thanks for the compliment Lee!

    • Maria Keller

      Gary, I lived out in Suffolk County and LOVED this station. Just loved it. It was great! If you were involved in the station, I appreciate you!

  13. Gary McKenzie

    I am honored. Great to hear people still remember the Super X!

  14. Kurt

    Hi Gary,

    I remember your newscasts on 99X. I used to listen to that station regularly every night and after school from 1973-1975. Every day you guys gave away money for the phrase that pays: “99X is my radio station” and it worked. Those were the good old days!


  15. Don Johnson

    99X…..jeez! That station was great back in the day! I remember a few names like Jay Thomas, Glen Morgan, Al Bandiero and Paulie! That format of what iz now known as Classic Rock & 70’s Pop and Soul is sorely missed on NY radio today….Thank you for bringing back some great memories our way….
    (by the way…did your station really send Paulie to Australia or was that just a gag back in the mid 70’s?)

  16. Alberto Roveta

    99 x is my radio station from New York. Such was to listen that voice on the radio while I was visiting my brother living at New York. Surprising by melodies such feelings , all by my self, Eric Carmen or marvelous Evil woman from Electric light orchestra. Winter of 1976. And now from Mar del Plata Argentina. Alberto Roveta.

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