Musicradio WABC: Those Great DJ's!

Musicradio WABC had one the most stable group of disc jockeys of any Top 40 radio station. But, even so, with a format that survived for over 21 years, there were many who worked there. Here is as much information as I have been able to gather about these very talented radio disc jockeys. Anyone who has additional information, please e mail me and I will update this list. 

 

Mornings:

1960-1968: Herb Oscar Anderson

From the Midwest and Chicago's WBBM, Herb was at WABC in the late fifties, then switched to WMCA before returning to WABC as "The Morning Mayor of New York" in 1960. In 1968 he left WABC over a dispute over whether or not he was to get a television show on ABC television. He moved to Minnesota but returned to New York City in 1970 and did mornings for WHN (1050 AM). In 1972 he moved to WOR for a brief time doing afternoons. He currently lives in upstate New York and Florida.

1968-1979: Harry Harrison

Originally from Chicago, Harry first worked at educational station WBEZ and then as a temporary disc jockey at WCFL. His next stop was as program director of WPEO in Peoria, IL. He moved to New York in 1959 first as a "good guy" in middays on rival WMCA and moved to WABC in 1968 after Rick Sklar offered him mornings. The story goes that Rick was on the warpath about getting time and temperature checks, especially in AM drive. During a staff meeting, he happened to turn on the radio which was tuned to WMCA. There was Harry, checking the time and temp. Rick called 'MCA that morning to offer him the job. Harry stayed at WABC for eleven years until November 1979. In March of 1980 he started at WCBS-FM (oldies) and has remained until March 2003. Known for his "Good Morning Mom" family type show, Harry was a fixture in New York morning radio for over 40 years! For more information about Harry, check the New York Radio Personality Harry Harrison Remembers section full of memorabilia that Harry donated to this website!

1979-1981: Dan Ingram

Yes, Dan did do mornings for a short time before moving back to afternoons. See below.

1981-1982: Ross and Wilson

Coming from WZGC Atlanta, Brian Wilson and Ross Brittain were the last morning disc jockeys with WABC as a music station and remained with WABC after the switch to Talkradio in 1982. The duo broke up with Ross going to mornings with Scott Shannon at cross town WHTZ-FM (Z-100) in 1983. Both have since held numerous jobs including a brief reunion at WHTZ in 1989. Ross is at WOGL/Philadelphia. Brian operated a business called VRINK (an acronym of sorts for Vacation Relief, Inc.) where he provided on-air fill-in services for stations all over the country, in both talk and music formats.

Midday's:

1960-1962 and Aug-Dec 1965: Charlie Greer

Charlie did midday's but is best remembered for overnights. See below.

1963-1965: Bob Dayton

Hired from WIL in St. Louis where he had worked with Dan Ingram under the air name of "Rockin' Robin Scott", Bob arrived at WABC in 1963. He was known for his acerbic wit which ultimately resulted in his firing on August 6, 1965 after his "Happy Birthday Hiroshima" introduction to the Crests "16 Candles" (you can hear it under the Musicradio WABC Bloopers and Parodies section). Bob might have gotten away with that comment had not the wife of ABC Chairman Leonard Goldenson been listening while she was in her office receiving the "Hiroshima Maidens" who were ladies horribly burned in the bombing. Needless to say, she was furious and that was it for Bob Dayton on WABC; he was fired immediately after his show that day. He shifted to Los Angeles' KBLA. Bob later returned to New York and worked at two New York radio stations; WPIX-FM and WCBS-FM. In an ironic twist, Bob was supposed to be part of ABC's "SuperRadio" satellite format which was initiated by Rick Sklar (who, along with General Manager Wally Schwartz, was forced to fire Bob from WABC). However, SuperRadio never debuted so, unfortunately, Bob was never reunited with his old WABC boss. Died April 28, 1995.

1968-1969: Roby Yonge (midday's originally and, later, overnights)

Born in Fort Jackson, S.C., Roby grew up in Ocala, Fla. and got his first radio job when he was 15 years old. Roby's first Miami Florida job was covering the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and hurricanes as a newsman at WIOD, which was then WCKR. Roby then moved to Miami's WQAM and became a disc jockey (where he worked with another Miami radio legend, Rick Shaw). He evolved into a character created out of a cartoon in the back of Playboy magazine. In the "Little Annie Fannie" cartoon, the "Big Kahuna" was a muscular surfer with a deep tan and all the girls. It was a joke because Roby was really the opposite, but the name stuck and he used his "surfer" image to great success in South Florida. He was not terribly athletic but the music he played was for the surfer crowd. At 25, Yonge left Miami for WABC. His first shows on WABC were December 30 and 31, 1967 . He filled in for Ron Lundy before starting his own show on January 1, 1968 with the song "Devil With a Blue Dress On" by Mitch Ryder. His 1-3 p.m. show was short-lived, however. He was shifted to weekends when Bob-a-Loo (Bob Lewis) went over to WABC-FM (now WPLJ) full-time. He was then shifted to overnights replacing Charlie Greer. Then, unfortunately, Roby went on the air with the Paul McCartney "death" rumor on October 21, 1969 and was immediately taken off the air and fired (you can hear it under the Musicradio WABC Bloopers and Parodies section). He showed up a few months later at WCBS-FM (where he started his show with the Golden Slumbers Suite from The Beatles' Abbey Road album). He stayed at WCBS-FM for a while and actually introduced oldies to the format the station was then using. But, WCBS-FM didn't work out for him either, so he moved back to Florida and did some television commercials. In 1987, he did a morning show at WKAT/Miami. The station changed formats, and Roby went home to Ocala for a while, then returned to Miami in '93 to do a music/talk show on 790 WMRZ, which also lasted a short while. Roby died on July 18, 1997 of an apparent heart attack. He was broke and practically destitute living out of an old motel room. He would have turned 55 a week later on July 25.

1965-1982: Ron Lundy

Born June 25, 1934, Ron started as a record librarian in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee at radio station WHMM. One night when a disc jockey failed to come to work, he was put on the air. The owner of WDDT in Greenville Mississippi heard him and immediately offered him a job as a full time disc jockey the next day! Ron then worked at WLCS in Baton Rouge Louisiana before moving to WIL in St. Louis where he was know as the WIL "Wile Child". Ron met Dan Ingram at WIL and it was on Dan's recommendation that he was hired at WABC in September, 1965. Ron briefly handled overnights before becoming Musicradio WABC's midday fixture in 1966. It was Ron's voice that was heard in the movie "Midnight Cowboy" when Dustin Hoffman and John Voight arrive in New York City. Ron remained at WABC up until its switch to Talkradio in May, 1982. After WABC, Ron was supposed to be a part of a satellite Top 40 format produced by ABC and spearheaded by Rick Sklar called "SuperRadio". But, the project was scrapped just before its intended debut. Ron then did some voice-over work for WABC-TV in New York. In February 1984, he joined WCBS-FM in midday's. In June of 1997 his CBS-FM show was awarded the 1997 "BronzeWorld Medal" at the New York Festivals Radio Programming Awards for the "best local personality". This competition included more than 1300 entries from 33 countries! Best known for his "Hello Luv... this is Ron Lundy from the Greatest City in the World" announcement, Ron retired from radio on September 18, 1997. You can hear his last show in the Ron Lundy Retires From Radio section.  Ron passed away at the age of 75 in Mississippi on May 15, 2010.

1972-1982: Johnny Donovan

Started at WOR-FM in New York in 1968 before moving to WABC in 1972, Johnny did fill in work and an early afternoon (1-3PM) show. As of July 2013, Johnny is still at Talkradio WABC as production director and is the studio announcer for Rush Limbaugh's "E.I.B." radio network.

Afternoons:

1960-1962: Farrell Smith (1-3 PM)

A holdover from the previous WABC MOR format; Left WABC and went to WAVZ in New Haven CT.

1961-1963: Sam Holman

Sam was both a DJ and part time Program Director before Rick Sklar and left the station shortly after they dropped the "Good Guys" to become the "All Americans". Sam replaced Farrell Smith in the 1-3 PM shift when Smith left in 1962. Sam died in 1986.

1960-1961: Jack Carney

Also a holdover from the earlier WABC MOR format, Jack went to KSFO in San Francisco, then became famous in St. Louis at KMOX in the 70's and 80's. He died in 1984.

July 3, 1961-May 10, 1982: Dan Ingram

The DJ's DJ, Dan was born September 7, 1934 and grew up in Flushing, NY and Malverne Long Island NY. He started his radio career as a teenager at WNRC (now WVOX) in New Rochelle, NY, moved to WALK in Patchogue (Long Island), NY then to WICC in Bridgeport CT (under the name Rae Tayler... that really IS the spelling) then to WNHC in New Haven CT. From there went to Dallas' legendary KBOX in 1959, then WIL in St. Louis in 1960 and then to WABC. The story goes that Dan got the job at WABC by editing out the DJ who was then doing afternoons at WABC and splicing himself into the aircheck. WABC general manager Hal Neal thought enough of Dan's approach and sound that he hired him! Dan stayed until the end of Musicradio WABC, and along with Ron Lundy, was supposed to work an ABC produced satellite Top 40 radio format spearheaded by Rick Sklar called "SuperRadio" in 1982. But, the project was scrapped shortly before its intended debut. Dan then did a CBS syndicated radio countdown show heard on many stations across the country in the mid 80's and worked briefly in afternoons at WKTU-FM in New York for 6 months beginning on January 14, 1985. In 1989 he did the recorded promos for WNEW-AM in New York. On October 19, 1991 Dan started at WCBS-FM doing weekends until June, 2003. Dan was also frequently heard as a voice-over artist on many television and radio commercials and has been the station voice for other radio stations around the country.  Today he's retired  and living in Florida.

From the Trivia Department: Dan's official start date at WABC was Monday, July 3, 1961. But, he did actually go on the air twice prior to that Monday when he filled in for Chuck Dunaway, to get acclimated, on the evenings of Friday, 6/30/61 and Saturday, 7/1/61. Dan only recently revealed this, adding that WABC didn't want him to use his name before Monday so he announced: "This is the Chuck Dunaway Show -- but this isn't Chuck!"

Evenings:

1960-1961: Chuck Dunaway

Chuck came to WABC (at the age of 24) from WKY, Oklahoma City. As one of the original "Swingin' Seven from Seventy Seven", Chuck originally handled the 7:15 to 10PM time slot. Unhappy with the long play list that Mike Joseph was using to program the station in 1961, Chuck turned in his notice to leave. While searching for Chuck's replacement, the station switched his and Scott Muni's time slot and Chuck did the 10 to Midnight shift during his last two months on the station. When Chuck left in August of 1961 he went back to WKY in Oklahoma City. Later he worked at KLIF in Dallas and also in Houston. From 1967 to 1974, Chuck was program director for WIXY Cleveland and its sister station WIXZ in Pittsburgh. In 1974 he returned to Houston where he helped put KILT-FM on the air. This was followed by program director jobs at KHFI and KLBJ in Austin. Following Austin, Chuck was General Manager and his wife was Office Manager at stations in Corpus Christi, TX, Lexington, KY and Columbia, SC. In 1994, Chuck and his wife along with her father and cousin bought a radio station in Joplin, MO. Over the next two years they bought three more stations in Joplin and they became the top four rated stations in the market under Chuck's leadership. Chuck sold the stations in 1997 and after staying with the new owners for a one year transition period, retired to Houston, TX.
(Thanks to Richard Warrick for this info on Chuck!)

1960-1964: Scott Muni

From New Orleans LA, Scott "Scottso" Muni was the evening DJ on WMCA in 1959 and wrote a syndicated high school newspaper music column before moving to WABC in 1960. He first did late evenings and then settled into the early evening shift where he remained until 1965. Becoming increasingly frustrated with WABC’s ever shrinking playlist he moved to WOR-FM in 1966 and then in January 1968 (after Bill Drake took control of WOR-FM) to WNEW-FM playing Progressive Rock. He left WNEW-FM in November of 1998 and shifted to New York's WAXQ in December 1998. Scott passed away on September 28, 2004 after suffering a stroke.

1961-1974: Bruce Morrow

From Brooklyn, NY Cousin Brucie started at New York University's student radio station WCAG in 1953 playing classical music! His first professional radio job was at ZBM in Hamilton, Bermuda in 1957. In 1958 he moved to WINS New York as a producer where he met Rick Sklar, and got a chance to do an airshift during an AFTRA strike that kept the regular WINS DJ's off the air. Edged out of WINS by Murray "the K" Kaufman, Bruce moved to WINZ Miami in 1960, then back to New York to WABC in 1961 starting first in the late evening shift. With the departure of Scott Muni, he moved to the early evening "teen" shift in 1965 where he became a legend and remained in early evenings at WABC until moving to rival WNBC in 1974. After leaving WNBC in 1977 he became the owner/operator of a group of 8 radio stations (and one TV station) where he did some on air work at WALL in Middletown NY and WRAN in Dover, NJ. He hosted a CBS produced syndicated show "Cruisin' America" in the late 80's heard on many stations around the country. Coaxed back to the New York City airwaves by WCBS-FM Program Director Joe McCoy in 1982, he remained with the station until June 2005.  In July 2005, be began a satellite radio show on Sirius/XM where he remains (as of July, 2013).

1965-1979: Chuck Leonard

Chuck majored in journalism at the University of Illinois, but became interested in radio and TV setup on campus. He also worked on the campus radio station as program director. After college, he worked at a newspaper, the Washington Evening Star, and part time at WEBB Baltimore. Soon he was making more from his radio job than his newspaper job. In June 1965, he left to join R&B formatted WWRL in New York. Upon Dan Ingram's recommendation to WABC General Manager Wally Schwartz, Chuck was hired away from WWRL after only being at 'RL for 7 weeks! Both Dan and Wally were so impressed by Chuck's smooth style that WABC hired him after simply listening to him on the air. In an era when black disc jockeys rarely found work at stations like WABC, Chuck became an institution. He handled late evenings, weekends and some fill in work. Chuck was also the voice for American Contemporary Radio's "Sneak Preview" carried locally on WABC at 8:25pm. Known for having an extremely smooth and personable he sound he moved to WXLO/WRKS-FM in New York after leaving WABC in 1979. He also worked at WBLS-FM in New York and WQEW. He passed away at the age of 67 on August 12, 2004.

1974-1979: George Michael

From evenings at WFIL in Philadelphia, George replaced Bruce Morrow in 1974. A stickler for precision, he was known to throw tape carts against the wall when engineers missed his cues! Not only could he "talk up" a record (meaning speaking over the instrumental intro before the singing starts), but he could hit the vocal with perfect intonation for the particular song. George’s true ambition was to become a sports announcer and filled in doing sportscasts on WABC television (Channel 7) and doing color for New York Islanders hockey while still at WABC radio. After leaving WABC in 1979, he moved to Washington D.C. in 1980 and was the Sports Director and lead sports anchor at WRC-TV, until March 1, 2007. He also hosted a Sunday evening sports wrap up show called "The George Michael Sports Machine" produced by WRC and distributed to many affiliates around the country until March 25, 2007.  George Michael passed away at the age of 70 on December 24, 2009 from Leukemia.

1979-1980: Howard Hoffman

The last personality evening disc jockey at Musicradio WABC, Howard came from a long list of radio stations, including WALL in Middletown NY (before Bruce Morrow owned it), and WPIX-FM in New York. Howard is an incredible talent and is famous for many things in radio circles including the famous "Nine Tape" which is a hysterical parody of "tight" Top 40 radio (which was actually inspired by a WABC competitor from the mid 70's, WWDJ). After leaving WABC, Howard worked for various major market radio stations around the country including WQHT-FM in New York, KMEL San Francisco, WBBM Chicago and he was Production Director for 790 KABC and 710 KDIS (Radio Disney) in Los Angeles.  

1979-1982: Sturgis Griffin

Sturgis did evenings at WABC right before the shift to an evening sports talk show (the first move WABC made toward Talkradio). Came from, and then returned to WBLS-FM in New York. He also used the name "Sergio Dean" on WBLS.

1979-1982: Mike McKay

Mike worked evenings and overnights in 1979, then moved to evenings and finally back to overnights until 1982. Stayed at WABC after the switch to talk as a staff announcer until 1984 when he left to host the RKO Networks show NIGHTTIME AMERICA. He then spent a couple of years as a Program Director in Salt Lake City, then moved to Indianapolis for seven years before working at Oldies 98.9 WKLX in Rochester, NY until 1997.  Today Mike oversees programming and creative development for Bravo Mic Communications in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Overnights:

1961-1962: Fred Hall

Fred Hall joined the "Swingin' 7" in mid 1961, taking Bill Owen's place. His first shift was Sundays 10AM-6PM and he also had mornings from 4-6AM. When "Big Joe" Rosenfeld's "Happiness Exchange" program ended its broker-time contract on WABC in September 1961, Fred then moved to the Midnight to 6AM spot called "The All-Nite Satellite." He left during WABC's Good Guy era for WNEW-TV, Channel 5. He was a puppeteer and starred in children's shows.

1962-1968: Bob Lewis

A Queens NY native, Bob started at WNHC in New Haven CT, then moved to WMGM (later WHN, now WFAN) in New York, then to WINS before following Rick Sklar to WABC. Bob-a-Loo later did weekends after demanding to be released from overnights. After WABC he worked at other New York radio stations including WABC-FM (now WPLJ), WCBS-FM (before Oldies) and WNEW-FM playing Progressive Rock at all three stations. Bob became a top voice over artist in the 70’s and 80’s and did the voice work for IBM, Volkswagen, Dreyfus and others. Died at age 49 on January, 23, 1987.

1960-1969: Charlie Greer

From WAKR in Akron Ohio, Charlie started at WABC on December 7, 1960. He was moved back and forth between overnights and midday's a couple of times. He was one of the original "Swingin’ Seven from Seventy Seven" . He moved to Philadelphia's WIP in 1969 and then back to the New York area to WRKL in New City for a short while before before returning to Akron. Was a frequent visitor to New York radio on WCBS-FM's "Rock and Roll Radio Greats Weekend". Died in October 1996.

1969: Roby Yonge (see above)

February 1970-February 1976: Jay Reynolds

From Indianapolis, Jay was the victim of the Dan Ingram/Bruce Morrow prank that kept him staring at two candles in the WABC control room to note the specific time they burned out (supposedly for a contest). Returned to Indianapolis after leaving WABC. Last worked at WGGR in Greenwood Indiana. Died of a heart attack at age 61 in March 1996.

1976-1981: Bob Cruz

From WLCY in Tampa Bay Florida where he used the air name "Bob Morgan", Bob was hired by Rick Sklar because he sounded so much like Dan Ingram. He sent Rick a tape just for the heck of it (like most every other hopeful air personality was doing during those years) and when Rick heard it, he could not believe his ears. So, Rick contacted a friend in Florida and had him record Bob "Morgan" directly off the air. Since Rick was always concerned about Dan Ingram being off WABC for one reason or another, he flew the astounded Bob Cruz to New York and hired him in 1976 as an "Ingram backup"! Even veteran Dan Ingram listeners had to listen carefully to figure out when Bob was filling in for Dan. It really was incredible how similar they sounded! While this aggravated Dan, it was Bob's ticket to stardom. And, to be fair, Bob had a great wit and a very personable sound. He may have been lucky to get the job because he sounded so much like Dan, but he was a terrific personality in his own right. He did overnights for 3 years and then moved to afternoons during Dan's year in mornings. After WABC, Bob worked for ABC television as the studio announcer for news programs (20/20) and sports events. He was also quite successful with commercial voiceovers. Died in 1995. Upon his death, ABC's 20/20 did a special tribute to him.

Weekends/Fill Ins:

1960-1961: Bill Owen

Bill was an ABC staff announcer who filled in at WABC for the first six months after it began its Top 40 format. He went back to other duties at WABC-AM -FM, -TV and the ABC networks. 

1965-1969: Les Marshak

Les won a DJ contest at WABC while he was in pharmacy school which lead to an on air job! Les moved to WPIX-FM and also did voice-over commercials for WBLS-FM in New York and is now one of the premier voice-over artists in the country.

1969-1970: Jim Nettleton

Jim came to WABC from WFIL, Philadelphia. Jim was also voice for American Contemporary Radio's "Retro Rock" (carried locally on WABC weeknights at 10:25pm). He left WABC for WPIX-FM in New York and spent many years at WOGL in Philadelphia.  Jim passed away at age 69 in October, 2009.

1971-1974: Frank Kingston Smith

Frank originally came from Philadelphia and worked at may major market radio stations including WFIL Philadelphia (1966), WICE Providence (1967), WRKO Boston under the name "Bobby Mitchell" (1968-1970), and WIBG Philadelphia (1970) before arriving at WABC (1971-1974). Frank also took over as the voice for American Contemporary Radio's "Retro Rock" (carried locally on WABC weeknights at 10:25pm). Frank returned to Boston radio after leaving WABC and worked at WHDH (1974-1975), WVBF (1975-1978), WBZ (1978-1979), WROR (1979-1981), WRKO (1981-1985), WKKT (WZLX) (1985-1988) and WODS (1988-1993). Frank is not currently not working in radio but if you're lucky, you might find him announcing an air show near you! Be sure to check his section on this website; The Musicradio WABC Frank Kingston Smith Page as well as his own home page: FrankKingstonSmith.com.

1973: Jim Perry

After WABC, Jim moved to television, hosting game shows in Canada such as "Definition" and "I'll Bet." He's best known in the States as the host of "Card Sharks" (NBC, 1978-81) and "Sale of the Century" (NBC, 1983-89). Jim has also written a book. It is called "The Sleeper Awakes" and was published by Summit Publishing in 1991.

1975-1978: Steve O’Brien

Known as your "SOB", Steve worked at many radio stations around the country starting in Washington DC at WEAM. He also worked at WKFR/Battle Creek, WKNR/Detroit, WPOP/Harford, WIBG Philadelphia, CKFH Toronto, CKLW /Windsor-Detroit, WOR-FM/New York, WINZ/Miami, Y-100/Miami, WCBS-FM/New York, WPLJ/New York, KXYZ/Houston, KDWB/Minneapolis, and WNBC/New York. In New York, other than his years at WABC he is best known for his years at WYNY where he did afternoon drive after leaving WABC. Steve also works in television and his experience there includes announcer and warm up host for the "$25,000 Pyramid" (1980-81) and "To Tell the Truth". He was also television host for Miami's WPLG-TV's "Dialing for Dollars". He has done many radio and television voiceovers and television on camera commercials. Currently Steve continues to do voice-over work and hosts various syndicated television programs. About his years at WABC Steve comments "I started in radio in my home town of Washington, DC, and actually listened to Ingram, Brucie, etc, years before working with them at WABC. Talk about the grand adventure of having your dreams come true in your profession!"

1979: Liz Kiley

The only woman DJ to ever work at WABC, Liz came from WPGC in Washington D.C. She replaced Steve O'Brien and started on February 24, 1979 and remained approximately six months. After leaving WABC, Liz was briefly in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

1979-1982: Marc Sommers

Marc started as "Scotty Travis" at KNOE-FM, Monroe Louisiana in 1971, then moved to KNOE-AM. In 1972 he moved to WDDT-AM in Greenville Mississippi then to WTIX-AM in New Orleans in 1973. In 1976 he moved to WNOE in New Orleans and became its program director. In February of 1979 Marc moved to WABC and remanded until the switch to talk. He then went to WCBS-FM in New York doing fill-ins and weekends. Remained until 1995.

1981-1982: Peter Bush

From WINE and WKCI in Connecticut, Peter did weekends at WABC. After WABC he returned to WKCI (KC-101) in New Haven CT. In 1984-85 he did evenings at WPLJ in New York. Has since worked mornings at WEBE, WKHL, and WEFX all in Connecticut.

 

 

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