WNBC, in 1977, was a very different radio station than it would be just two years later. First off, this is obviously several weeks before the big purge where Imus was sent to Cleveland (his so-called two year exile at the “sump pump of a mistake on a lake”). The station was all over the place, musically. At least it was on the Imus in the Morning show. Of the few songs we hear, perhaps only Pablo Cruise – What’cha Gonna Do is a real current hit. The rest… all bona-fide oldies. No offense to Imus devotees but on this aircheck, Imus sucks. He’s no better at all than any jock at a little thousand watt daytime station. No bits, no famous Imus rantings. Just this is, that was, blandly announcing records. Ok.. Enough of me ranting.
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The obvious draw of this aircheck is the news department. News features prominently in this nearly 18 minute long scope from the Summer of ’77. The first newscast you’ll hear in its entirety comes at about the 20 second mark. Imus comes out of David Ruffin into the Top Hour liner and into the 8:30am NBC (local edition) network news anchored by former WOR, RKO Radio, WYNY, WNBC and WQXR news veteran Sam Hall. This is the national report which does include New York local stories. Remember when oil drilling was first allowed off the East Coast? This newscast mentions it starting soon. ConEd is blamed for the big NYC blackout of 1977 just a month earlier. Son of Sam might be declared insane but probably will stand trial, according to this report. Those are just SOME of the stories you’ll hear. You’ll also hear a sports report where the Yankees are winning and the hot weather continues.
Sam Hall passed away in 2018. An online tribute to Hall is posted HERE at wqxr.org
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Imus returns in all his blandness at about 5 minutes into this aircheck.
The top of the hour news at 9am starts at 9:14 into this aircheck. Seriously. The time between newscasts on this recording is mainly the commercials left in for historical relevance. Imus didn’t do anything that is recognizable as Imus schtick.
Second newscast is reported by longitme Imus sidekick and news anchor Charles McCord. The first story is about Gary Berkowitz, aka “Son of Sam”. the whole newscast is very interesting for those interested in happenings in New York City during the time of Mayor Beam. The aircheck concludes after this newscast and two (scoped out) songs from Nazareth and Chicago. And a bit of Imus’ voice.
After hearing the AM Stereo first-generation tapes of 1980s WNBC we posted recently, this may be a bit of a disappointment in the sound quality department. This is a second-generation recording that, while quite listenable, has a discernable amount of tape noise associated with it. If that doesn’t detract you from the overall sound, the fidelity is a bit on the low side. Again, this is *NOT* in any way, shape or fashion a first generation aircheck and while I don’t know the original source, our contributor really gave us a very historical artifact with two newscasts intact. This arrived unscoped, and it was actually a happy task taking out the music that I have pristine original master copies of in super hi-fidelity stereo in my own library. You wouldn’t have cared for the muddy sound quality anyway. This aircheck really is of just good enough quality to make the news shine. And that’s what you came here for anyway, right?
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ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Ellis B. Feaster is our Contributing Editor and posts mainly from his Official Aircheck YouTube Channel. He has thousands of airchecks there, and is building his collection HERE.Ellis is a longtime aircheck collector, having recorded hundreds of airchecks himself and obtaining thousands more over the years!
Ellis is a career broadcaster, in the business well over 30 years. He is currently doing the Morning Show on Z88-3 in Orlando Florida.