Mike Riccio On The 2014 Top 77
by Scott Benjamin


Musicradio77.com survey guy Mike Riccio says the popularity of countdown shows on the Sirius/XM satellite oldies channels and other Solid Gold outlets is a result of “the listeners having a nostalgia kick” for those programs since they grew up with them.

“When those songs were played years ago there were a lot of countdown survey shows,” said the moderator of OldiesBoard.com, who’s also overseeing the 17th annual Top 77 survey.

For years Musicradio77 WABC had a Tuesday night Top 20 countdown that was done by Cousin Brucie Morrow and then his successor, the late George Michael.

The syndicated American Top 40, with the late Kasey Kasem, began airing in 1970, for example, and over the recent year those shows have been rebroadcast on the weekends at Sirius/XM Channel 7. Since 2010 air personality Lou Simon has done a survey of the Top 40 songs from that week in one of the years in the 1960’s on Sirius/XM Channel 6.

The link for voting in this year’s Top 77 is posted at www.Musicradio77.com and www.oldiesboard.com. Balloting began in October and is slated to conclude Dec. 8.

“A lot of people look forward to it,” said Mike, who has been an air personality at WBLI, WLIX, WGLI and WCWP. “It recreates the WABC Top 100 of the Year, which always generated interest.”

WABC would air its Top 100 each year from the day after Christmas through New Year’s Day. Listeners were encouraged to send a self-addressed stamped envelope to get a copy of the survey. It was based on the results of the combined weekly surveys from January through early December.

Rewound Radio air personality Bob Radil, who also has done an oldies show for WUNH at the University of New Haven, Mike and fellow Musicradio77.com survey guy Tom Natoli will host the Top 77 countdown show Friday, Dec. 26, on Rewound Radio.

Mike and Tom are among the contributors who some years ago assembled each of the weekly WABC surveys from 1960 through 1982 for Musicradio77.com.

“We’re above where we were a year ago in the number of votes,” Mike said in a November 2, 2014 phone interview with Musicradio77.com. “This is our third full week and we’re already approaching 1,500 different songs that have been voted on.”

Voters choose up to seven songs, which are tabulated on a descending scale of 7 to 1 in which the top selection, for example, gets seven points and the next selection six points, etc.

Mike said over the 17 years the balloting has had between three and as many as 10 songs. He indicated that seven provides a wider selection and still allows him and his team to get their calculations completed in enough time so the Top 77 show can be developed.

Hey Jude, by the Beatles, the top song on WABC’s Top 100 of 1968, has been first in the rankings on the Top 77 every year except 2010, when Rag Doll, by the Four Seasons, annexed the top position. It had finished in seventh place in WABC’s Top 100 of 1964, which was the first year that the station had its end of the year survey.

Mike said the Top 77 usually attracts voters from 40 states and 12 to 20 countries. However, the said the bulk of them come from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania and some have an affinity for the Four Seasons, who were based in the Garden State, and their interest has been rekindled with the success of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys.

He said if WABC had been based on the West Coast, perhaps the Beach Boys, who are from California, would get even more attention in the Top 77.

Mike said that through this year’s early balloting, there has been a noted increase for some songs by the 1960’s British invasion bands, such as Herman’s Hermits, the Dave Clark Five, Manfred Mann and the Zombies.

Likewise, there have been more ballots for songs from such 1970’s stars as Three Dog Night, Jim Croce, Barry White and the Bee Gees. Additionally, he said there have been more ballots cast for Magic, the 1975 smash by Pilot.

The Top 77 will air on Rewound Radio from Christmas through New Year’s Day. 

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