Harry Harrison was one of the all-time greatest morning DeeJays of the AM Top-40 era. In a time when one-man morning shows were the norm before shock jocks became all the rage, Harrison commanded the highest morning ratings in New York City.
Harrison began his radio career in the midwest. His first major market radio station was WCFL Chicago, wherein 1953 he worked as a fill-in deejay when the station’s full-time personalities were out. For the next five years after leaving WCFL, Harrison was the Program Director and Morning personality of WPEO in Peoria, Illinois. That was the first station where Harrison referred to himself as the “Morning Mayor”.
Harrison arrived in New York City in 1959. He joined the staff of WMCA, home of the “Good Guys”. Harrison became the new mid-day personality, joining an air staff which would become legendary during its heyday. Other WMCA personalities at this time were Jack Spector, Dan Daniel, B. Mitchell Reed and Johnny Dark (WCAO Baltimore). Harry Harrison remained there until being lured away in 1968 by WABC Program Director Rick Sklar to take over the morning show. He replaced Herb Oscar Anderson who had just left the station.
There were several reasons that Rick Sklar wanted Harrison for the morning show. The main reason turned out to be correct. Harrison was able to relate to young people while appealing to the adult audience sought by advertisers in Morning Drive. Harry Harrison was a friend to many housewives all over the Tri-State region.
By 1974, Harry Harrison was by far the most popular Morning Drive Host in New York. Even crosstown Don Imus at WNBC couldn’t compete. Caught on tape here, a few days before Christmas, Harrison sounds happy and upbeat.
This aircheck aged pretty well. Overall, the quality is good. At least, for an old AM station recording. I had to do some light noise reduction because this arrived with lots of tape hiss. The hiss may have been heard when the recording was new. Sometimes that happens because either the station’s signal is weak and you’re hearing the AM carrier from a distance, or because the source volume is low, so to compensate, boosting the audio level of the recording also boosts the sound of the tape going across the play heads. Regardless, I managed to get rid of most of the hiss while maintaining most of the audio quality.
This is a Friday morning. The $25,000 button contest is underway and Harrison says he hasn’t awarded a winner yet. Listen to TWO complete newscasts hosted by News Anchor John Maher. Some of the news items of the day include: Rockefeller is sworn in as President Ford’s Vice President. NJ Legislators are trying to reduce property taxes. Sports… The Rangers lost to the Boston Bruins the night before, 11-3 and the Knicks beat the Kansas City/Omaha Kings 117-113. You’ll hear a couple of different stories in the second newscast.
This recording arrived unscoped. Once again, because copyright claims are becoming ever more common and being done for posting as little as one or two seconds of ‘music’, this was scoped down *very* tightly. You will hear enough to know what song it is (and that means so will the various AI robots looking for violations), but not enough even to sing a bar of it. If you’d like that changed so you can hear these songs, then you need to DONATE to Airchexx, so that we can obtain legal streaming rights to broadcast through the various licensing agencies. Otherwise, everything gets removed to keep this site out of hot water. You may make a donation to Airchexx using the PayPal link below:
Another, in a series dedicated to the memory of WABC and WCBS-FM’s “Morning Mayor” Harry Harrison!