Jim Collins, The “Time Machine”; 66 WNBC New York | September 5, 1987 8:50-10:20 AM

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The late Jim Collins WPGC Photo. Courtesy of amandfmmorningside.com


Join us now as we head back in time through the magic of Maxell UDS-II Chrome tape to 1987. It’s Labor Day weekend and WNBC, in it’s final year on the air (though they don’t know it yet) is in the middle of an extended “Time Machine” weekend. The station is counting down the top 66 hits of the 60s. This starts at #29 and runs through #17. While scoped, this still runs 43 minutes, through two beach reports and two full newscasts, including both local and NBC Network news.

Lots of 1987 commercials, reverb and PAMS jingles, resung for WNBC, to give this station an unmistakeable WABC sound – all WNBC needed was the WABC jocks to make it complete.

The Time Machine was one programming element of many which made up programming of WNBC during this time period. During the week, the lineup consisted of Don Imus (Imus in the Morning), Ray Dariano with Oldies during the Mid-day, Alan Colmes talk show afternoons, and sports from 6-12 midnight. WNBC ran Oldies overnights 12-6am. With this pot-pourri of programming, WNBC tried to be all things to all people – and it worked, at least to some extent. With much of the Rock & Roll audience moved to FM by this time, it was difficult for any AM station to program music, but WNBC kept some form of music programming on the air right up until it’s demise in August 1988.

This is an original recording made by our contributor. No copies exist anywhere else on the web or with collectors. Listen to the “WNBC Time Machine“, and remember why it was our favorite radio station, bar none in the late 80s. “The Fan” had nothing on this, baby!


As mentioned above, this was recorded on Maxell brand ‘chrome’ tape. Chrome tape for cassettes was a higher quality oxide coating which was better for high quality recordings. It shows in this aircheck. Recorded by the contributor, this was taped somewhere close to the WNBC transmitter. There is almost no tape hiss whatsoever, and WNBC is loud and clear. WNBC used its reverb for the WEEKEND version of Time Machine. During weekdays, there was no reverb whatsoever, and that included the noontime Time Machine. IMHO, WNBC was so well processed that it sounded great both with and without the WABC style reverb. Also, notice that the reverb is used on the entire audio chain, not just the microphones. The promos, commercials, live reads and the music all sound fantastic with a level of reverb used in the mid-1960s by their former rival, MusicRadio 77 WABC.


Frank Davis is one of our original contributors, sending in a few boxes of airchecks in the Summer of 2003. His contributions include dozens of recordings of the WNBC Time Machine. Thank you!