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History

WLIR – A Brief History 

Thanks to Ken Kohl, Jim Cameron, Joel Moss, Fred Blue Fox, and Heather Schoen  for their conributions on the early years.

 

 When the FM band started gaining popularity in the late 60’s and early 70’s it became a place where experimentation and free form was the dominant format.  Almost every genre of music could be heard and there were virtually no restrictions. Eventually competition for listeners and advertising dollars lead to the use of consultants who would institute a format with set playlists, no personality, and no motivation to take chances.

 By the early ‘70’s most New York ”Progressive Rock” stations had already evolved into the safer “album oriented rock” format when WLIR-FM switched from “beautiful music” to rock in 1970.  Adelphi University student and part time announcer Michael Harrison convinced owner John Rieger to take a chance as the station wasn’t making money and no one was listening anyway.  He and Richard Neer created one of the nation’s legendary FM stations with a true free form format.  DJ’s played pretty much anything they liked and were not hampered by playlists, formats, corporations, sponsors, or arbitrons.

 WLIR is “World Famous” mostly for the 80’s and “New Wave” format.  ‘LIR was already adding cuts from Blondie, Talking Heads, and the Ramones to the latest Rolling Stones or Neil Young album cuts in the late ‘70’s  In early 1980 the Screamers of the Week (best new song as voted by the listeners) included new songs by the Kinks, Hall and Oats, Bruce Springsteen, and even Manfred Mann, along with emerging artists such as the Clash, Joan Jett, and Elvis Costello.

 It became apparent there was a new music scene and enough artists that were being ignored by traditional radio to build a new format. In 1982 program director Denis MacNamara decided WLIR would be the first station in the nation to be the outlet for all of this “new wave” of music. WLIR was the only place to hear the Police, the B-52’s, Duran Duran, the Cure, and many others. Listener response was sensational and WLIR became the birthplace of careers.

 Many of these artists, such as the Police, the Pretenders and U-2 eventually forced their way into the mainstream.  But the ‘LIR listener is familiar with so much more of their catalog that never became “hits”.  WLIR was even the first station to play Madonna, George Michael, and Prince, artists who went on to make their mark in other formats.

 Live broadcasts were also a hallmark of the radio station. From 1972 through 1987 over 2200 performances were broadcast from legendary clubs; My Father’s Place, Malibu, The Ritz, and many more. The list of performers, a veritable Who’s Who of the music business, includes the Allman Brothers, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, The Police, Elvis Costello, and so many more. For many artists these broadcasts were their first radio exposure in the U.S.

 During the 80’s as other new wave stations sprang up around the country WLIR became a force in the music industry as it was tracked by all the trades as the leader in discovering and breaking new music.  While a few other New York stations flirted with the format, none had the deep catalog or intimate knowledge of the music. You could only hear the Smiths, Depeche Mode, or the Clash on WLIR.

 In 1987, after a lengthy battle for the 92.7 license, under the new ownership of the Morey Organization, the call letters were changed to WDRE, but the air staff and the focus was the same; “New Music First”.

 In 1991 new program director Tom Calderone took “the Cutting Edge of Rock” in a different direction introducing Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, and a more guitar oriented sound. WDRE was still the leader in the alternative

format.

 The decision was made in 1996 to return to the WLIR call letters that mean so much to people who grew up in New York. Alternative was becoming a narrow format with an almost exclusive guitar edge. The new WLIR created a modern rock sound mixing established heritage and alternative music with current emerging artists.. Also revived at this time was a commitment to live music. The Morey Organization purchased the Vanderbilt concert hall and presented over 200 concerts and events featuring many of the heritage artists such as  Squeeze, The Cult, Midnight Oil, and upcoming new artists including Dido, Michele Branch, and Good Charlotte, to name a few.

 In the past few years artists such as Moby, William Orbit, and Fatboy Slim added an alternative dance edge as the format continued to evolve.

 Throughout the years, despite many changes, WLIR has had a tremendous effect on the artists, jocks, employees, and its loyal listeners. It is truly a phenomenon the effect one radio station has had on so many lives.

 On January 9th, 2004 at 12 noon Univision completed its purchase of the 92.7 frequency and began simulcasting its Spanish language station WCAA.  WLIR continues to broadcast on 107.1 in Hampton Bays on eastern Long Island.

 From the free form rock of the 70’s, the new wave of the 80’s, alternative grunge guitar 90’s, to the pop, electronica, and dance of today, 92.7 was always the frequency to find “Songs You Can’t Hear Anywhere Else”.

 Now your old friends are back keeping the spirit alive here on WLIR.FM.

 

In the Beginning...

 

WLIR 1970-1979:   By Ken Kohl
 
I
was driving to California in a Volkswagen bus full of a whole lot of California Dreamin’ and buzzing with a Rocky Mountain High. Boxes filled with air checks and audition tapes for a radio gig out west always at the ready.  We pulled into Bozeman Montana bound for Truckee California and a little known underground station;  KSNL- Secret Mountain Laboratory run by certifiable crazy man and underground radio pioneer Larry Yurdin.  I called back to NY to my college radio station pal Joel Moss who immediately told me about something going on at 92.7 on the FM dial right there on Long Island. Joel advised that they had heard something about our work at NYIT’s Station and they wanted me to come in for an audition.
 
I rented a garage for the VW van, left my dog Tripper at a vet’s for boarding and FLEW back to NY to meet Mike Harrison. I passed the audition.
 
God bless Mike Harrison. John and Dory Reiger epitomized ma and pa radio owners of the day. Long on a passion for radio and short on cash and resonance with the sea change going on around them.  They were struggling to compete in the world’s largest media market with a suburban FM prior to Long Island becoming an imbedded Arbitron  market and long before LI was more than just a series of bedroom communities.
 
Remember the time…Viet Nam war was running at full steam while opposition raged on campuses and streets across America. Woodstock changed the world giving voice to a new rock and roll yet there was nowhere on the radio to hear Jimmy Hendrix, Crosby Still and Nash, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Richie Havens, Doors et al. There were new media consumers to feed a whole new kind of radio. Not your father’s AM Full Service Frank Sinatra and news station but a whole new sound…a lifestyle really… on a whole new medium…FM Radio…no static at all and stereo!  Radio usage was almost entirely on the AM band in 1970. FM certainly wasn’t new just ignored bandwidth for over a half century. Many broadcasters gave their FM licenses to local Colleges thinking nothing would ever become of the other band.
 
WLIR staff announcers Mike Harrison and Richard Near sensed something in the air. Armed with the early buzz coming from underground station in LA, San Francisco and Boston Harrison pitched the Riegers  on “Progressive Rock”. The owners agreed to a partial format change initially and gave birth to the LIR of the 70’s 80’s and 90’s. It was a valiant effort. Harrison kept most of the air staff in place. Unlike the underground air staffs at KMET in LA and WBCN in Boston, Harrison’s LIR was populated by suburban Middle of the Road announcers now doing or trying to do a hip new underground station. Don K. Reed was (is) one of the best jocks EVER to sit in behind a microphone but he had no connection to the music, the counter culture, the anti war movement or the lifestyle. Harrison and Near gave birth to it but it was the likes of Harrison PD successor Ken Kohl, Music Director Chris Feder , Joel Moss jock and production master, Canadian transplant Jim Cameron with a voice like Yukon gold, George Taylor Morris an iconic FM Rock talent, now long time Philly radio fixture Joe Bonadonna and so many others that put LIR on the map. Ego? No. Bragging?  Well, maybe just a little.
 
We were not trained staff announcers or top 40 jocks or voice of god newsmen. We were hippies. Recent college grads who cut our teeth on inventing free form shows on our college stations with a love of music and a desire to be there…be there for folks just like us. A place to go. A place all our own. One that our Long Island parents would surly hate. This new sound and sensibility was ignored by mainstream media.  We were the outsiders, trouble makers, disruptors of the American way of life and radio.  All true by the way. And we loved it.
 
LIR was about the music and the alienation of being 20 years old on long Island in the 70’s. The station came to represent all of the aspects and trappings of the burgeoning Long Island counter culture and custom made for music fans dying to hear the stuff no one else played on the radio. We invented a new kind of news and public affairs along the way as well. But LIR was about hearing music you wouldn’t hear anywhere else. We had an attitude and sensibility and a family groove that resonated throughout everything LIR did. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. Anything was possible.
 
Certainly the crowning glory of my years at LIR was the Tuesday Night Ultra Sonic Dr. Pepper Concert Series. Radio was born playing LIVE music and it there was no reason to not bring it back for a whole new generation. It worked and was a mainstay of the NY music scene for 10 years. We introduced Long Island to Bruce Springsteen, Hall and Oats, Charlie Daniels, Jackson Browne broadcasting over 200 LIVE radio concert. The word no was not in this staff’s vocabulary. We added more live music. Regular concerts from My Father’s Place in Roslyn and 48 hours of live music from multiple stages at Eisenhower Park, Ultra Sonic, My Father’s Place and the LIR studios. The 4th of July Jamboree; Nonstop live music for 48 hours! This was LIR.
 
1975 took me back to the west Rockin the Rockies at KBPI Denver Colorado. George Taylor Morris and Jim Cameron took the helm and kept the good ship LIR FM sailing through both rough and calm. Mostly rough on the business side of the shop. But that drama never came out of the speakers.
 
 There is simply no question that while LIR had a great run 1970-78; these were the GLORY DAYS. It was the music;  the stations’ uncanny ability to connect with a unique and ever-changing audience that set WLIR’s place in broadcast history.  We take nothing away from the Harrison years or the McNamara years but it was the Glory Days that put LIR on the map and set the bar for the rest of time.
 
I was at a wedding on the Island last weekend visiting with many of our LIR boomer fans and buddies singing along to the cover band’s versions of all of that great music. Except for the tuxedos and evening gowns it could have been Ultra Sonic circa 1973. On Long Island there never was a day the music died. Thanks at least in part to WILR 92.7 and the Glory Days!

 

 

After Ken Kohl:  By Jim Cameron
 

 When Kenny moved West, George and I battled on.  Among our stalwart band… 
“George Taylor Morris” was our PD and morning drive host.  The man was amazing… looked like everything an FM DJ should looks like (unlike most of us trolls) and was always gracious and kind.  He managed with a light touch and had an on-air style envied by all.  This was the first station that GTM and I worked at… but we ended up hiring each other for years.  He died of throat cancer in 2009.
 
“The Wrench”, aka “Dave Scott” (but really Dave Friedman) was our genius at radio production and a man of too many voices.  How many different club or bar spots can one radio station run and still sound professional?  The Wrench made it happen.  With a touch of Firesign Theater and just two two-track reel to reel machines, he produced some of the most creative radio ever.  On air he was a great DJ.  He even did news under the more serious “David Scott” persona.  “The Wrench” moved on to Hartford, Texas and Seattle, eventually leaving radio.  He now works as a Police / Fire dispatcher.
 
“Malcolm Davis” was our answer to Peter Frampton.  He did 2 – 6 pm and looked every bit the part of the 70’s rock star.  He managed something of a British accent, but was a home-grown boy for sure.  No idea where he ended up.
 
“Jim Cameron” (c’est moi) did 6 – 10 pm in his first gig out of College Radio (WLVR – Lehigh University).  I was also snared by The Wrench for voice-work on spots, by Heather and Joel for “Public Watermelon” hosting, was lucky to MC a few concerts from UltraSonic and My Fathers Place.  By title, I was “Operations Director” and held down the running of the station in the hours that George Taylor Morris wasn’t on site.  Cameron left ‘LIR in ’79 to join the ill-fated WQIV in NYC where he did AM-drive.  From there he moved into radio news at WHCN, WCOZ/WHDH and NBC News’ “The Source” young adult network where he received a Peabody Award.  In 1982 he launched his own consultancy, Cameron Communications Inc.
 
“Joel Moss” was 10 pm – 2 am host and production czar at the Watermelon.  He ended up working (briefly) at WNEW-FM and is still in radio at WEBN Cincinnatti.
 
“Bob Morgan”  (real name ???) was one of the youngest members of the staff, but one of the most talented.  He ended up doing voices for cartoon characters on TV.
 
“Joe Bonadonna”  had a name I suggested he change.  Who knew?  He left ‘LIR and ended up as Program Director of WMMR in Philadelphia and is still there decades later.
 
Keeping WLIR on the air was always a battle as the owners were being bled dry with legal bills as they fought to save their FCC license.  The DJ staff was making nothing.  If I remember correctly, a six day air shift netted me $79 a week.  Mind you, gas was 34 cents a gallon.
 
One day we called a staff meeting and invited General Manager / Owner John Reiger.  We locked the door and told him we all got raises to a living wage, or we walked.  He freaked, pleading poverty. 
But one of the Music Directors (who must remain nameless) said “NO!  I only want to be paid on the books what you’re paying me now in cash… $100 a week.”   Reiger did some quick math and said “That’s crazy.  You’ll only take home $68 a week.”  “No problem,” said the Music Director.  “I will then qualify for food stamps!” 
Clearly, it was more for love than money that we worked at ‘LIR.  It was one of the craziest but happiest times in my radio career.  I will always cherish the memories…. Especially now that the statute of limitations has passed.

 

WLIR- An Experiment in “Conscious Radio” 1970-72
Fred Blue Fox

 

I came to WLIR in 1970 with the help of Ken Kohl.  As the need for more DJ’s came up, Ken was tapping the resources of his former college station at the NY Institute of Technology at Old Westbury, where he had served as program director before he graduated.  Joel Moss, David Scott, myself an then later Joe Bonnadonna all came from that little closed circuit (NY Tech was never able to secure an FM frequency of its own because of the overcrowded FM band in the tri-state area).  college station (Mike Harrison and Dick Neer ran the station at the time and Ken had told me to make a demo tape imitating Mike Harrison and Harrison (who sure liked himself alot) would give me a job.  I did just that, and Ken was right, Harrison liked the audition and I was given the job!

 

Just a short time after I began working at the station, Harrison and Neer gathered the staff one day to announce that they had been hired by WNEW-FM in NYC, and that they were leaving in a week’s time. At first, it was a shock to most of us, for one, because we were afraid that the station format might change, and two because we could hardly believe that WNEW, a pioneer in the “progressive rock” format would hire them!  Things changed, but for the better. 

WLIR owner, John Reiger, (a very conservative elderly gentleman who denied belonging to the extreme right wing John Birch Society, but definitely received their magazine each month, for we would find it around the office with his address on it), made his now famous deal. “leasing,” the station to a man named Zalyet, without informing the FCC of the deal (this would later make  Reiger lose the WLIR license and the station altogether).  Zalyet brought up Lou Hertz  from the sales staff to be general sales manager.  Lou was a small, portly man who was always chomping on a cigar.  In his own brusque manner, he was actually an affable guy.  He shortened our air shift hours from 6 to 4 hours per shift, and raised our salaries several dollars above what we were being paid.  He also allowed us to program the station ourselves, since “youze guys know what you are doin’!” But after a time, he wanted us to select a program director from amongst the staff. 

 

The air staff had decided that we wanted to run things as a collective, with no one person in charge.  We realized that we would still need to pick a figurehead PD, so we picked the innocuous Mel Rosen who had brought his popular (?) talk/music show from the CW Post radio station, WCWP-FM to WLIR. We asked him to take the position and he agreed to accept representing the collective direction of the staff to management, acting more like a union rep than a manager. 

 

That gave us the freedom to put our experiment into play.  Each of us had been reared on progressive radio, which was about more than playing a variety of songs in some order based on things like “recommended rotations,” and chart placement in Billboard Magazine, as in 95% of today’s rock radio. In today’s radio each song gets a certain number of “spins” a day or a week, and in most cases this is controlled through the music director by the record companies, often based on favors. 

 

In our version of progressive radio, we played a truly diverse selection of music, from original Delta Blues artists like Robert Johnson, to the folk of Joni Mitchell, Tom Paxton, Judy Collins and Joan Baez; to the San Francisco and psychedelic scene which included the Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Hendrix, the Jefferson Airplane, and Moby Grape; to Southern Rock including the Allmans, Marshall Tucker and the Charlie Daniels Band;  the English Bands, Fleetwood Mac, the Who, Blodwyn Pig, Clapton; hard rockers Led Zeppelin, Blue Oyster Cult and Blue Cheer and even some comedy, George Carlin, Firesign Theatre….we played it all….And  more!  But…If you were going to play a set of songs there had damned better be an aesthetic reason why these songs were played together!  It could be the meaning or the theme of the lyrics, it could be that the rhythm was similar or the melody went well together, or, one song’s ending matched, in some way, the beginning of the next, etc, etc. It had to connect.  We found that when it connected it always sounded good. 

 

I remember my own radio guru, a man by the name of  Tom Lane, who used to do a show as an alumni at my first college station, WRBB-FM,  at Northeastern University in Boston, Ma.  One night, Tom actally connected together hree hours of music to form a love/adventure story. It was done live, ad lib, and with no written preparation. It was genius.

 

Oh… That was the other key to progressive radio.  We put our shows together on the fly, ad lib, no playlists to follow!  Sometimes we would pick the artists and perhaps the albums we wanted to play in advance, but I. for one, never knew exactly how I was going to put them all together.  Somehow, and more often than not, a sense of intuition led to many synchronistic segues.  Many times it felt as if there was some kind of rock ‘n’ roll “muse” programming, and not me!  That was an absolutely magical experience. 

 

I remember that Dave Scott, before coming to WLIR had worked for Muzak, the “elevator music” programmers.  Muzak had done very intensive research into the aesthetics of programming music.  Now their music consisted of Montovanis and the Tijuana Brass playing early Beatles favorites and Antonio Carlos Jobim hits like “the Girl from Ipanema,” but, what they learned, when applied to ANY music, and especially the rock, folk and blues music of the late 60’s and the early 70’s, worked like a charm!  An example of a rule would be always to build the tempo of set upwards.  Never play a slower song after a moderate or fast song.  We used these rules of thumb and it added to the sound of the station immensely. Kudos to Dave!

 

The closest example to the way we put together music that I can point to in current time is the way good dance dj’s put their music together, although that is mostly centered on beat. Radio today, for the most part, is mostly a juke box of music in one genre with no aesthetic rhyme or reason to the way the music is put together.  There are no good segues, nor are good segues even considered to be something desired. 

 

Then there was the WLIR Live Concert Series originally produced by My Father’s Place owner, and soon to be Long Island R’n’R Hall of Fame inductee, Michael “Eppy” Epstein!  The first concerts were produced live from the Ultrasonic Recording Studios in Hempstead (around the corner from the station).  Then the concerts went live from the stage at My Father’s Place in Roslyn. After a time there was a live radio concert every week from the club!  Artists ranged from Bruce Springsteen to Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band!

 

Another element of the LIR “Avant Garde Radio” format was our involvement of the politics of the time.  The Vietnam War was raging, many young men from Long Island were coming home in body bags, while others came home psychologically scarred by a war that should never have been waged.  Most of the music of the time spoke about the war and our strong desire for a more peaceful society and world. 

 

When the first draft lottery happened, we played it live on the air, but with sound effects of machine guns and bombs, and anti-war songs fading in and out.

Then there was our news department, consisting of late (and great) George Taylor Morris and former ABC-FM Newsman Bill Royster.  After a time it was decided that there would not be any scheduled newscasts.  If a story pertinent to our audience came over the wire, the news department would coordinate with the DJ on the air, so he/she could pull appropriate music to play before and after the report, and after reading the story there was always a time for the DJ to talk about it with the news guys.  This was an innovation in the presentation of news that I have not seen at any other radio station except perhaps Pacifica’s listener sponsored, WBAI in NYC.

 

We had a group consciousness going at the station.  Newsman Bill Royster once brought inn a Yogi and some of his followers who led us in a group meditation and spoke to us about building that consciousness.  The station was a great place to be.  DJ’s used to hang out at the station for hours just because of the energy and excitement, even if their shift was over or it was a day they weren’t on the air at all.  It was quite an experience.

 

Then things fell apart.  John Reiger had enough of the lease arrangement, and all of a sudden he was back.  He lengthened our shifts, reduced our salaries, and it was obvious that the dream, at least for that time, was over.  The DJ’s, as a group, staged a walkout. 

 

I went to work at My Father’s Place as Stage manager for 8 years.  I later went on to become the Program Director of Woodstock, NY’s very progressive WDST FM, where we became the #1 station in Ulster County (circa 1993) and was recognized as a new music pioneer across the country.  Other DJ’s went to other radio stations and a few of the crew went back to WLIR when there was an interim manager. 

 

The next era at the station was when Ken Kohl became PD and more excitement and changes took place.  But it all got it’s start with a bunch of idealistic college hippies (and other hangers on) who took a fantastic journey into new realms of rock radio possibilities. 

 

SOME OTHER INTERESTING FACTS

 

Until the station went to Elton Spitzer, there were no cart machines in the studios.  We had to cue up commercials on reel to reel machines.  They weren't even professional machines, but home quality 1/4 track stereo models.  One had to be a really decent board op to keep the continuity.  It was hard work. 

Each DJ used to carry around a "segue book,"  a little spira bound note pad where we would record segues that worked well.  These came both from segues we did on the fly or, from what we heard atother stations and such.  One of my favorites was a mix I heard at "The Boston Tea Party,"  A Fillmore West styled concert venue (not like the theater that was the Fillmore East) in Boston, circa 1969.  It was a great mix using the Beatles, "A Day in the Life,"  ad Led Zeppelin's, "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You.".  The songs crossfaded into each other in teach songs"buildup" and it was seamless. 

Being in the Penthouse of the Imperial Square Building, we could walk out onto the

roof.  We used to go there to smoke some "roofers." as we used to call them.  We

would always ask each other if we had any, "roofing materials."  Im sure the tradition lasted many years, I guess, until the drug of choice in the music business became the harder and whiter one, that came later.  We were mostly "Roofers."

It a shame that there were no airchecks from those early days.  Some amazing

programming.  I still maintain that a station operating in the same way today would be a great success and a relief from voice-tracked cimputerized formats. 

 

 

 

“Here’s a slice:  The Public Watermelon”.  - Joel Moss
What public affairs programming sounded like on WLIR, circa 1971.


If audio editing is considered an art-form, my earliest experience cutting tape at WLIR would be my finger-painting period.  Editing quarter-inch strips of magnetic tape (with a precious mylar backing that preserved the recording for decades) on a cheap consumer grade tape recorder (not even a tape deck).  I can’t recall what kind of machine it was, but it resided in a small “production room” (not even a studio), which is where I learned to cut sound: music first, and then words;  sylabbles really.  Either simply editing for ‘time’, or warping context and creating different sentences.  Early influences included the creator of WBAI’s “Short Cuts”, Peter Bochan.  Peter’s blade was, and remains, wicked. 
Ben Manilla’s (Progressive News Network) syndicated “News Blimps”, were similarly
complex and fresh.  Of course, there was Firesign Theatre and other’s that revealed how powerful sounds and words could be when crafted by genius.  Considering that everything came from analog sources, the sheer labor and tedium involved in producing content was daunting.

The recording process;  then, while using less than professional equipment to dub and mix, transferring that original audio from cassette-tape attempting to preserve sonic quality (second and third generation recording tend to increase noise).  The interviews; logging of those sessions...the hours of listening, again and again; and the writing to bring it all together.  Looking back over nearly four decades, it was the long-form public affairs programming at WLIR that provided the foundation for all that would follow. 

For my ears in the early seventies, other than NPR and Pacifica, there just wasn’t a whole lot of interesting and compelling pa programming.  Under Ken Kohl’s

programming direction at WLIR came The Public Watermelon.  Ken wanted

something beyond the FCC’s “public interest” mandate; (programs of non-interest that only a “public” listening overnight Sunday might hear). 

Public Watermelon was to be an ambitious bi-monthly three-hour audio montage, with live and pre-produced segments.  Airing Sunday night at 9, and driven by Executive Producer Heather Schoen.  With the multi-talented Jim Cameron, and George Taylor Morris as hosts and contributors, it was my job to turn Heather’s imaginative concepts into actual program content.

Among them:
“Up all Night” (spending overnights at JFK airport, in the tower and isolated off-limit
areas long before 9/11; shadowing fire and police departments capturing live sound while most of the city was dead asleep);
“The Kennedy Assasination: consipracy theory v. fact”;
“Who’s calling?” (when the term hackers referred only to those attacking the telephone
company, a.k.a. ‘Ma Bell’.
And programs that were simply experimental and free-form.  Game shows for radio. 
Music intensive rocumentaries, and the consuming Watergate affair were all in the mix.

In fact, the nine-hour Kennedy Assasination expose earned a prestigious Armstrong Award;  pretty impressive for a rogue troupe of renegades with barely enough splicing tape to hold it all together. 

It was from those few years, when so much happened, that effect  the way I design sound today, whether a pyro-musical soundtrack or an audio track supporting video, those hours of listening and combining multiple sources to

create a singular thematic piece are the same skills I employ in 2010.  Public Watermelon was among the first radio newsmagazines,  it’s mission simple:  important issues (and some less important) presented and produced in a compelling, entertaining way.

We were so young;  all in our twenties. We didn’t know what we didn’t know, which tends to make anything possible.  We had big dreams;  we wanted the ‘melon’ to be a national forum, interspersing calls with pre-produced segments.  The initial problem was we really couldn’t put local calls on WLIR’s air;  no delay system, and no real technical ability to put do it.  (Alligator clips, as I recall, was the eventual fix). 

So, if indeed editing audio is an art-form, the days of slicing with a single-edge blade evolved to a digital canvass.  With the same focus to create compelling content,  it’s still finger-painting, only with a mouse.

                                                               

Joel Moss (December, 2010)
Creative Services Director
WEBN FM