New York City Blackout – Radio Coverage | July 13, 1977 – Reloaded


July… Heat, Humidity, Hot Dogs… you know the drill. Often, especially in the Northeast, one of those cool fronts brings relief but they also bring trouble. This particular night in 1977 is remembered by nearly every New Yorker around back then. It started off as a miserably hot day, then a BIG storm front blew in… but it was only one of a chain of events that would leave Big Apple residents in the dark.

Radio covered it well. Lots of audio from WABC, WCBS, WINS & others.



Steve West is a 39 year veteran of broadcasting. His air work as a Jock and News Anchor includes six radio markets and over two-dozen radio stations. Steve currently works on-air for the Super Radio USA media group out of Minnesota. Steve is the founder of the Airchexx Media Group and manages and Airchexx Live - the official station of Airchexx.


July 19, 2005 at 6:19 pm

I remember this quite well. I was 10 Years old. I lived in Jackson Heights. I do remember the WABC coverage, but mostly due to the booming reverb…That still worked? Gerorge Micheal.

Wow, the whole block was out..what a party. But I think it was mostly to protect the neighborhood. I remember going to bed and getting no relief from the heat…Son of Sam, The HeatWave, The Blackout, and NYC in the Summer of 77 at it’s worst..God I still miss it

October 21, 2005 at 8:56 am

If memory serves, the reverb was added at the transmitter in Lodi, NJ. Ergo, a power disruption in New York City would not have affected the reverb.

March 17, 2008 at 1:30 pm

I was watching TV in NJ and all of a sudden all the channels went out, found out the next morning what happened.

July 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm

The first big blackout I remember was November 1965 which involved most of the northeast including NYC and part of Canada.

WABC airchecks of that blackout also are available. It started about 5:30 p.m. Eastern time on Dan Ingram’s show.

1977 — First world championship for the Yankees with Reggie Jackson who had been signed in November 1976.

And the first world championship for young George Steinbrenner.


July 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm

While WABC’s George Michael did his best, he kept repeating the same information.

It’s obvious that the place to tune for information during the blackwout was WCBS-AM from what we could hear on this aircheck.

We really cannot tell from this tape what WINS’ coverage was like.


July 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I remember this day. I was 6 years old. It was so exciting. I lived in Marine Park Brooklyn, where there was looting all along Flatbush ave! Thanks for posting this.

July 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I was 18 and living in Connecticut. I was watching some network show when a bulletin cut in and informed us of the blackout.
I also remember the plague of burglaries that followed. Awful images.

February 11, 2015 at 10:35 pm

Many of the stations were hard to decipher, but WABC is and always be the most recognized and remarkable radio station ever!

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