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This telescoped aircheck really doesn’t do WPLJ justice. It’s somewhat difficult to convey the sound of the station with all the music taken out, except for a few segues.

Most people remember WPLJ as one of three album rock (AOR) formatted stations in the New York City area. The audio image most think of when one mentions AOR, is usually the hard rock arena bands of the 1970s, such as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Heart and others. But here in this just over 9-minute aircheck, you’ll notice that WPLJ sounds a lot more like a soft rock station than a traditional AOR – or even a Classic Rock station today. Earth Wind & Fire, James Taylor, The Bee Gees… that’s what was on the WPLJ playlist this particular August afternoon.

View this aircheck from our Official “AIRCHEXX CLASSIC RADIO” YouTube Channel


Matt at BAA suggested that perhaps WPLJ was dayparted, meaning perhaps certain hours of the day the station played harder edged music than others, and that’s certainly a possibility. It’s more likely, however, that WPLJ evolved into the harder Rock station that most remember over the course of time. And in 1983, the station would ditch Album Rock for CHR and then AC in the 90s – and never return to the original format.

Aircheck courtesy of Big Apple Airchecks – //bigappleairchecks.com

By Steve West

Steve West is a 41 year veteran of broadcasting. His air work as a Jock and News Anchor includes six radio markets and over two-dozen radio stations. Steve is the founder of Airchexx.com and Hitoldies.net - All the BIG Hits!

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