Its Still Rock N Roll To Me – The Beginnning Of The End

July 30, 2008

It was a Sunday afternoon when I knew the end was VERY close for WKTU.  WKTU went through several changes, and became more mainsteam in the early 80s to pick up more listeners must have been sometime around 1984 when I was in my basement apartment and all the sudden out of the radio comes the beginnings of BILLY JOEL’s It’s Still Rock N Roll To Me.  As Billy started to sing ever so wonderfully, I knew.. even though I was a teenager and not IN the radio business at the time…. that this was THE END.  This station played a song with “rock N Roll” in the title.

When WKTU came on the air, there was much polarization between the ROCK people and the DISCO people.  You were one or another.

Now, the disco station, or the former disco station as they had dropped using DISCO 92 long ago by then, was playing a “rock” song.

It was one time one day, but I will never forget it.  It didn’t take anything more than common sense to figure out that the rhythmic disco or whatever you want to call it radio station that garnered an 11+ share in New York was going to be no more.

It was a bit later as the station because a rhythmic type CHR, before the full move to KROCK happened.

Sorry Howie

July 28, 2008

One thing I have learned over the years is how important it is to be honest and true to your word.  Any “fib” will eventually catch up to you, and will put a bad mark on your character.  I have known many people who changed over the years, for better or for worse, but seeing and dealing with people such as friends and co workers day in and day out means your character is the one thing that is part of you.  When you see someone coming that you know, there is always that first spark of brain activity.  It is nicer to have that spark say “Oh here is so and so.. its great to see them” instead of “Oh Boy here’s so and so again.”

So, honesty is important.  I have made enough mistakes over the years to know this and not only that, now I despise people who are immature enough to “fib.”  I do tell many people “jokes” that are not LIES.  Just fin things to take advantage of a vulnerability for 10 seconds, and then everyone laughs including them.  But outright fecisious lies are not for me.

Why is this written here?  Well for the first time right now, I am apologizing to someone I have known for 32 years.  We haven’t spoken a great deal over that time.  But we did go to summer camp as children together on some occasions.

What does this have to do with Disco 92?  It was a summer day in 1979 or 1980.  I don’t recall.  I was visiting this friend on Staten Island where he lived.  At this time, we were both in our younger teens.

Disco 92 had a grasp on the city that nobody can image a radio station havving today.  I was obsessed with it, as someone who loved radio, and the energy of the music.

Disco 92 was to appear at seabreeze park in Brooklyn, not far from where I was living at the time.  The van was to be there, the DJs… a big street festival.  These type of festivals are mentioned elsewhere in this blog.

That day however, I was visiting my friend, Howie, on Staten Island.  While visiting, although we were having a good time, i REALLY wanted to go see this disco mobile.  It wasn’t often that it would come to my area and I didn’t have a car.

I told Howie I was sick, and his dad drove me to the Staten Island Rapid Transit stop (now part of the MTA) where I took the train a ferry and the subway home to see the van and the excietment.

I wasn’t sick.  It was a lie.  But WKTU Disco 92 was THAT big of a deal.  There were THOUSANDS of people around, and I mde my way up front.

I never before told Howie about this “lie.”  It is so long ago, that he probably doesn’t remember any of this.  I just do because it involved Disco 92, and made an impact.

So after all thse years… Sorry Howie.  WKTU had a power that radio just doesn’t have today.  When radio stations hold movie premeires, often when they ask the audience to give prizes away, a questionj like “what DJ is on at night” nobody knows.

Different times.

Again, Howie… sorry.  It won’t happen again. 🙂

Heck…with radio the way it is today, it couldn’t anyway….

30 Years Ago Today – WKTU Signs On

July 24, 2008

Happy Birthday WKTU!

 It was 30 years ago today. at 6 PM Eastern Time, that WKTU signed on the air in New York.


Disco was a huge “fad” at the time.  I have to quote the word “fad” because fads don’t last 30 years.  But as time went on it was billed as a fad, although there are many people who love disco as there was in 1978.

I often think about what it may have been like in the WKTU offices and studios at 655 Madison Avenue on that day of change.  Those who are fans of WKTU may know the story, which appears from email verifications at is true… Michael Ellis, the music Director used a credit card and bought a bunch of records.  The rest is histroy.

Was there champage?  Was there fanfare?  Was there just 3 people sitting there as the first disco song, LAST DANCE by Donna Summer was cued up and playe don the turntable?  I fyou were there.. if you know… well the commen section is available here…

In any case, WKTU went on to be number one station anywhere on FM.  To this day, never beaten.

WKTU: The Longest Known Call Letters In New York Radio

July 17, 2008

WKTUhas been around for 30 years this month on July 24th.

No, it isn’t “today’s” WKTU which is a shell of a clone of itself compared to THE WKTU that is remembered by millions of New Yorkers…. although I am under the belief that “today’s” WKTU still gets some ratings bumps from people writing down WKTU as they just have been for so long if they like dance music.

What was it like on the July 24 evening in 1978 when WKTU signed on?  30 Years ago.. .and here.. is 30 things that people did NOT have then….

  1. Cell Phones
  2. Ipods
  3. Walkmans.. or ANY portable music
  4. Fax machines
  5. Beepers/Pagers
  6. Traction Control in cars
  7. Email
  8. The Web
  9. Digital Watches
  10. Affordable Microwave Ovens
  11. Modern Ways to Control Diabetes
  12. Affordable and Available MRIs
  13. Texting
  14. Blu Ray Disks
  15. DVDs
  16. CDs
  17. Home Computers at all
  18. Books On Tape
  19. All Sports Radio Stations
  20. Cable TV
  21. All News TV Stations
  22. Starbucks (Chock Full O Nuts was the thing)
  23. 4 Different Types of Pizza Crust
  24. Air conditioning standard on cars
  25. Newspapers with Color Pictures
  26. Universal Remotes
  27. Cordless Phones
  28. MetroCard
  29. PDAs
  30. Luggage with handles and good wheels

The list can go on and on.  But when the most legendary NY call letters became part of everyone’s lives on that summer evening, as a phenomenon that lasts until today and beyond was born, we didn’t need those things.

I am sure on a regular basis, most people have used each of those things above today or within a week.  They are just part of people’s lives.

What was part of people’s lives 30 years ago?

What did people in NY do while WKTU was being born?

  1. Rode with the windows open in cars
  2. Sat outside and TALKED to friends and neighbors… not instant messaged and texted.
  3. Went on family BarB Ques… to Valley Stream State Park or somewhere else away from the asphalt
  4. Made plans.. and kept them.., because you couldn’t call someone on a cell to make a change.
  5. Worked hard during the week.
  6. Didn’t work at night
  7. Had weekends for family.  Without distractions from work or emails.
  8. On vacation meant “Sorry wait til next week to talk to me.”  This was YOUR time and people respected it.
  9. Went to discos.. and danced with people that were a total 180 from them.
  10. Saw family in “Jersey.”
  11. Opened the fire hydrant and playe din the streets.
  12. Knew the names of everyone on the block.
  13. Kids were playing outside… until calle din for “supper.”
  14. Little League
  15. Stickball

And then there were these things which we lost… which WKTU provided…..

  1. Outlet to bring the HOTTEST club music to your home and car
  2. DJs you knew.  You could relate to.  DJs of every flavor of New Yorker… Black, White, Italian, Latin… someone on WKTU you could relate to.
  3. A common bond.  Something everyone was a part of TOGETHER.  Individuality is a part of life now.  As wonderful as that is, doing something together and being a part of something together is part of what makes life exciting.  We all go to movies together.. a shared experience… we don’t ALWAYS watch DVDs
  4. A local flavor.  This was a New York radio station.  It talked about a street festival in The Bronx…. a block party in Brooklyn… where people were hanging out.. It was ALL there…
  5. A place to go.  The DISCO MOBILE was always on the street somewhere… making parties out of common street corners.
  6. Entertainment.  Not for the sake of money or commercials.  Commercials paid the bills.  Commercials weren’t the primary reason for existence.  Yes it was the RADIO BUSINESS.  But the word RADIO actually DID come first.  8 minutes of spots an hour was allot.  And they were all about clubs and lifestyle.
  7. Information.  You didn’t have to GO someplace to find out what was going on.  There was news “92 second updates” that kept you informed.  Just enough so you didn’t feel like a moron.  But it was ever so important, as it gave the station SUBSTANCE… locally.
  8. A connection.  Disco was the last true across the board music PHENOMENON.  It could actually be the catalyst that took us from the early GENERATION GAPS to GENRE GAPS which we have today.  It united young and old, black and white, urban and suburban.  It didn’t matter WHO you were or where you came from.  Previously, old people would listen to OLD music.  Young people would look for the newest thing.  This was the first time everyone could agree.  Yes, great radio stations like WABC united people as stations like WABC were FOR everyone.  But this was the first time this was done, based around a musical theory and format.

So for all the things we have today, some of the things we had yesterday let us enjoy life even MORE.  Disco 92 was part of that era.

Thanks for reading today’s blog… Sorry I got to go… I have to catch up on some emails, send a text message, and play Xbox.  If I get around to it, I’ll turn on the radio. Ah, why bother when everything I want to hear is on my computer anyway….

The Day The Disco Died – July 13, 1985

July 12, 2008

While the beginning of Disco 92 WKTU is this month, as it all started on July 24, 1978, the END also happebed in July… July 13, 1985.. .23 years ago today. That is when it all came to a close. When WKTU left the air, and KROCK was born.

WKTU at the time was just a shadow of what it was during it’s heyday. But a large shadow it was, still garnishing a 5 plus share of the audience in New York, something that any station in NY today would be thrilled to have.

But back then, it just meant the station wasn’t in the 8, 9 and 11 shares it once enjoyed. The station changed over the years. When the word “disco” became taboo, the station became just 92 KTU with the slogan “The Hot One” and “Where Every Second Sizzles.” While it still leaned dance, it later became a Top 40 radio station, albeit dance leaning, but also extremely unfocused. This was at a time when New York was host to 3 other Top 4 stations. Was there really room for 4? Obviously not.

KTU was the 1st to go. In its final days, the WKTU call letters were not use don the air, I would assume because the change to NEW call letters was near. The station was only known as the generic name of “92 FM.”

Someone I went to college with was the board operator for Dan Ingram, who KTU brought on board a few months earlier in a vein attempt to save the dying station. Dan didn’t fit in at all. WKTU was a music machine like most FM stations were. Dan was a personality. And with Dan’s wit, you could hear his frustration on the air. (In one of his first breaks he says, mighty sarcastic sounding… “They sure play a lot of music here on WKTU…”) Since Dan never ran his own controls, after being at WABC for years, he was the only one with a board operator. This person told me, and I remember the call, that the station was to change format at midnight. It was July 12th, and the next day was the amazing two continent Live Aid event that had been promoted to be broasdcast live on WKTU. I didn’t think they would flip woth this event coming. But it was apparent they were going to.

Dan’s last break (as well as his last break as well on the Dan Ingram Satellite Survey, a weekly countdown show NOW deleivered by satellite, which failed) said “I’m going on vacation for a few weeks.” In reality, it was just his last show. That was it. It was hardly a pinnacle for him. No need for the tearful closing show that WABC offfered when he left there.

After hearing this, I knew it was over. I got my radio and tape recorder ready for midnight to change this format flip. At the time, it didn’t seem like a real big deal.

When radio strations changed bacl then, it wasn’t with some big hoopla or stunting. It usually took place late in the day or night, to no big fanfare, which has become the norm today.

Rosko, who I have spoken about several times here, was on the air for his last show. Runor has it that he was KEPT on board with the new format, BUT he COULD NOT say his name. Rosko was a rock jock from back in the day on WNEW. The new format was a rock format. Why this was told to Rosko (if it was) remains a mystery to me. However, Rosko had too much dignity to put up with that.

It was about 11:30 PM and Rosko stopped the music. He went into talking about change and the radio stration. I wish I had an aircheck of it all. I do have one of the ONLY remaining audio clips of part of it however. As I was ready to tape the format change, when I heard Rosko talking I immediately went to my cassette recorder and started recording what he said and the last half hour of station station.

In his speech, he insiuated the station was changing for “racial” reasons. It WAS going from a more ethnically rich dance and urban slanted format to a rock format. However, after being in the business for many years, I realize that everything is a business decision. Things don’t happen for reasons of pure racial merits.

In his speech, Rosko mentions Infinity Broadcasting (CBS Radio) who bought WKTU, and the changes that insued thereafter. He spoke of Mel Karmizan, former president of CBS radio, now CEO of Sirius XM Radio. He made a very passionate speech.

I never heard anything like this on the radio prior to this. As I said earlier, I have seen changes like this before, and like most things, it is based not upon black, white, or brown, but upon green. Moves are made to make the station the most profitable ti can be. Personallty, I do not believe the station’s change to a rock format was based on someone’s “racial” agenda. But I will say, the emotion put forth by Rosko in this closing speech on July 12, 1985 at about 11:30 PM was strong. Even as I listen to the audio to properly transcribe the above, which I have listened to many times over the past 23 years, I can’t help feeling the emotion of what was going on at that radio station.. Once the most successful radio station in the country.. .now ready to change to a totally opposite direction.

There have been timed I have tried to picture what must have been going on at the station at this time. A format change less than a half hour away. I have been in those situations, and there is usually a lot of last minute preparations, especially in the early days before compouters. There is an electricity and excitment in the air, at the birth of something new. When a new radio station comes on, it has a totally clean slate. No baggage, no predisposed notions of what it is. Gerber makes baby food. Gerber sells life insuramce. If someone says “what does gerber do” you will say baby food, no matter how many life insurance commercials they try to use to inform you. Things take on an identity that can not be reformed easily later. With a clean slate, you can only do one thing wrong. Screw it up from the start.

So, getting back to the last half hour of Disco 92, before the call letters land in Atlantic City and are brought back to New York to much fanfare in the mid 90s, as I said, Rosko plays Expose’s song “Pojnt Of No Return.”

The next song is Evelyn King’s “Love Comes Down.” There is no ID into the song.

I would assume Rosko is being escorted out of the building at 655 Madison Avenue at this point. he is probably alone and going down the fancy mirrored elevators to the lobby, by himself, in the New York midweek night.

Then a “New York’s best varity of music” production piece plays.. into “Rasberry Beret” by Prince.

After the piece, you hear Rosko say “92 FM. New York’s Best Variety Of Music.” I would think this was recorded, as I couldn’t see him being allowed back on the air live after his speech.

Then the next song starts “When The Rain Begins To Fall” by Pia Zodora and Jermaine Jackson.

Then there is a quick 92 FM production piece

Then the next song starts “Who’s Holding Donna Now” by DeBarge.

Then the next song starts “Lady (You Bring Me Up)” by The Commodores.

Finally a voice is heard… It is Jim Harlan. After being an air personality, Jim stays on as a production person for the New rock format.

He Says the following…; ” 92 FM… at 11:35… Jim Harlan in for a good friend… Rosko”.. and then reads a promo announcement for the next days Live Aid show.

Weather Rosko was right or wrong, I always felt that jim Harlan had a lot of class to at least honor him by that small statement. “In for a good friend… Rosko.” Today, he would have also been escorted out for mentioning the name of someone who said something so bad on the air. But weather everyone was busy readying themselves for the rock format coming in 25 minutes., or it didn’t matter at the time, Jim was able to pay that last respect to one of WKTUs longest and honoed DJs. Jim Harlan has passed out since then. Jim, wheever you are.. you had class.

Before I go on with the final few minutes of WKTU, here is some quick closure about Rosko. CBS sued him for what he did on the air. He sued CBS back from limiting his performance ability. After all was said and done, it was settled out of court. This made decent news in the newspaper at the time as well. People cared. Rosko went to WBAI, a non commercial station in New York, and later became the voice of CBS sports, until his death.

Back to the final hours of Disco 92 WKTU.. or 92 FM at this point.

After the Live Aid live commerciall “now billed as a history making ROCK AND ROLL event by Jim” a short production piece played, followed by “Into The Groove” by Madonna.

Then Jim comes in again, and just says “92 FM” and plays “One Night In Bangkok” by Murray Head.

After the next song, another live LIVE AID announcement is said by Jim.., followed by more commercials (starting with one for Crazy Eddie, whose success incidentally was made with a big help from a very low spot rate deal with WKTU).

Aftet the commercials, a quick “92 FM” production piece into “I Can Dream About You” by Dan Hartman.

Then, it was the last break heard on WKTU for about 10 years until the call letters returned again.

As I said earlier, things back then were done in the middle of the night. No fan fare. No people saying goodbye. WKTU was the highest rated FM radio station in the country, yet it went otu with a wimper, not a bang.

This is a transcript of the last break, said by Jim Harlan:

“… I’m Jim Harlan, and I think I can speak for everybody who works here at WKTU in New York… and we want to thank you for your support over the years… And we’ve made a lot of history in this town.. and we’ve been a part of many people’s lives over the years… and we’re very happy about that… and we’re very proud of it too… .But there’s a new day dawning… and there’s a new radio station ready to about hit New York .. with a brand new weekend on it’s way… and ahh at midnight… you’re in for a surprise… (you hear mic feedback in the headphones of Jim…, I would think he has pushed back from the mic to contemplate for a second, which caused a shift in his headphones and feedback) and just for the staff and the management of WKTU…. Thank You”

Then “Let’s Stay Together” by Tina Turner starts. This is the last song heard on WKTU at 92.3 FM.

Then, Ironically, the first peice of production comes in for the new rock format.. voiced by none ofther than Jim Harlan… it says…

“92-3.. WXRK.. New York… K-ROCK”

Then the song “Long Live Rock” plays… It is a long song…

I remember being shock when this was playing and listen to it… I knew it was coming, but now the radio station I listened to as a teen into my 20s.. after WABC.. was gone. Every great song, every great memory, every great evet, the reason I got into radio… was all brought to you by WKTU. And now, it was gone. it is radio.. there are no pictures. Radio lives with us in the now. In the present. Without it in the present, it becomes a memory… a mile marker on the road of life.

The next day, I went to Live Aid with a friend. WKTU broadcasted the event, Oh I mean KRock… sorry that really was a typo.

Krock has been on the air 23 years today. That is over 4 times the legnth of the original WKTU. In that time, it has changed from Album Rock to Classic Rock to Active Rock. It went away for become talk as Free-FM, another radio failure.

But the impact WKTU had is everlasting. So much to the point when another radio station in New York on 103.5 signed on with the WKTU call letters, it became instratnly number one in EVERY major demographic, which is unheard of. Even to this day, I still feel that radio station gets SOME rating somnly becxause of it’s 30 year old call letters, WKTU.

What happened 23 years ago today? The largest and first 2 continent concert was held, where for the first time people in a stadium in England felt as close to the people in a stadium in Philadelphia as if they were right next to them. Madonna had her cernterfold in playboy. A train I was in going to Live Aid became stranded in the middle of New Jersey in unbearable heat. Phil Collins appeared in both Philly and Wmebly stadium at the SAME Live AId Show… becuase he wanted to…. And the highest rated radio station in New York left the airwaves…. Good and Bad it seems.. the only thing they have in common is that they leave indeible memories forever.

92 Second News Update

July 7, 2008

WKTU had a news feature.  It aired during morning drive and also during afternoon drive once per hour, and was called the “92 Second Update”

In the morning, Janet Rose was the news person who did this update.  In the afternoon it was the late Nita Basin (who also did a feature called THE MIDNIGHT SPOTLIGHT which I will talk about later in the month).

Today, any kind of stoppage for news on a contemporary radio station is pretty unheard of, outside of some markets in morning drive.  Really… why take away from the commercial airtime that could be sold, right?

But Disco 92 gave it’s listeners enough information so they knew a little about what was going on in the world.  The news wasn’t deep.  It wasn’t about murders.  It was just a minute and a half news update.

The station did play high energy disco.  But being the most listened to station anywhere meant making sure people didn’t tune out.  Today, it is assumed that news would do that.  Back then, it was obviously proven that having people in touch with the world meant they WOULDN’T have to go elsewhere and tune out in order to find out what was going on.

How quick we forget.

And rest in peace Nita Basin… you were a big part of the sound of Disco 92.

Disco 92 – The Start Of A Career

July 6, 2008

I really was interested in radio way before WKTU hit the air.  Another radio station, WABC, is what opened my mind to having a career in radio.  However, it wasn’t until WKTU hit the air that I felt like THAT was for me.  It was a new format and a new station.  And while WABC was “everybody’s” WKTU was “mine… at least at the start….

It was a hit August day in 1978.  I was just a young teenager in Brooklyn.  I didn’t know anything about WKTU, disco or anything.

The station was on the air three weeks.  That I remember.  My half cousin David visited us, and was outside the house with a friend and a “boombox” and they were listening and talking about WKTU.

I was curious and started listening myself, and got hooked.  It didn’t take long before EVERYONE got hooked, and by the next ratings book, WKTU was a solid number one in New York, the biggest and quickest success of a radio station.

A little bit after, I purchased a stereo.  Not the kind that everyone had with a receiver, and whatnot.  In fact, I didn’t buy or WANT a “receiver” as much as I was into radio.

I went with my dad, as I was only 13, to the city and bought from my uncle who was a manager at Crazy Eddie at the time, a Numark mixer, 2 Technics SLB-1 belt driven (eww) turntables, an AKAI Amplifier, and a pair of “audio spectrum” speakers… which I still use today.

Later, I got a cassette recorder.

I saved up the 450 dollars to buy all that… which was alot at the time.  I made tapes imitating WKTU.. tried to mix… imitated the radio station.  Before buying all this, I would do it using an old turntable desktop stereo from Radio Shack, and went from record to cassette into another cassette.  I had a playlist, liners, and all the radio stuff I didn’t know was radio stuff.

Here is a picture of that:


See that red Dymo label on the top of the bulletin board?  It said “Get Funky Man.”  There was the same Dymo label on the Disco 92 control board when I visited.

In any case, WKTU was the reason I got into the radio business.  When I go to visit it, as I have friends there as mentioned in other blog mentions, it still is amazing. I don’t SAY it to anyone, since nobody would understand.  Heck, hardly anyone there was BORN when the original station signed on.  Which is a travesty. Because July 24th will come and go, as WKTUs call letters turn 30.  Maybe there are still kids in their bedrooms someplace imitating WKTU today.  Or maybe they are too busy loading new music on their ipod.

I Work With BK Kirkland of WKTU

July 5, 2008

Awhile back when I got into radio, someone said always be nice to your interns, because you may end up working for one of them someday.  I heard stories of people that worked for other people, who later became the boss of those people.

When you are young and starting out, you don’t think about that.  You don’t think that stuff is really possible.

BK  Kirkland was a DJ on WKTU.  I remember listening to him.  I always thought he was this heavy set, dark skinned African American, and I was very wrong.  I never met BK then, but all of the sudden I am working at XM and BK has his desk right outside mine.

When I was 15 listening to him on the radio, I never dreamed or imagined I would be working with him.

BK has these great old school pictures at his desk.  We often talk about the old days he spent at WKTU and about disco music.  It is great that someone so knowledgeable who I respected for many years is right there.

He still wears his old school leather pants from time to time. (The interns don’t understand leather pants). I’m looking forward to spending a lot of timing talking more abut WKTU with him and looking through more memorabilia.

He was a part of the whole exciting time back then.

BK doesn’t work for me.  But he works with me.. in the same place… If I went back in time and told myself that I would say I am nuts.

It is an honor working with BK.  It always reminds me to be fair and honest with the people around you at all times.  Older.. younger.. doesn’t matter.

So treat your interns well.

Remembering Rosko – “She”… Power To Be…

July 4, 2008

One of the noted DJs on Disco 92 was Rosko.  I have mentioned him in other places in this blog and on our site  He was a DJ who would have a very kind way about him, odd for a disco formatted station.  He had a “cool” sound, that made it feel as if you didn’t have any worries.  Perfect… who wants to be reminded of worries when they listen to disco on the radio anyway…

Today, is July 4th, and America celebrates having 232 years of Independence. 

In 1980, it was a few years after the ceremonius bicentennial celebration of 1976.  If you weren’t born or too young to remember this… Sorry, you probably won’t be around for the 2076 one….

In any case, there Rosko was a poet.  He would do poetry on the air. He recorded many albums as well.

One song, that was recorded on A&M records, was a song called She (Power To Be). If you were a KTU fan, you may remember it.  I am trying to secure it for upload in this blog.  I have the 7″ but no way to play it right now.

This song was about America, and always fit perfectly on July 4th.  I played it several times a day on XM 25 The Blend during that holiday before new management.

Whenever this day comes around, besides the thoughts of a nice barbecue, I always think of She… by the late Bill “Rosko” Mercer.  We need more poetry today,  It doesn’t need rhyme or reason, but just like in 1980, it broke up the monotony… and if anything was unexpected, soothing, and unique.  Three things that everyone from the music to movie industry has forgotten.  So on this 4th, listen to She (Power To Be) and remember the simpler times, when you lived in the moment… not texting what your plans later are every moment.

Kings Highway – Disco 92 In The Streets

July 3, 2008

Today, there are countless concerts.  You pay a great deal to see them, especially since the main avenue for artists to make money is shifting away from record sales to other areas.

However, the shows are big and interesting.  There are lots of effects, ways to text message the stage, and all sorts of things to keep our ADD world of today occupied.

There was a time, not too long ago that you may remember where radio stations did their own shows and concerts.  Granted some still do, but the ones I am talking about were FREE, or very cheap, as the artists were happy to promote themselves in order to increase record sales.  Working in Phoenix at Power 92, we did shows with a lineup of over a dozen groups.. and charged ONE DOLLAR.  We did other shows where we charged FIVE dollars.  These were promotions for the radio station, and the artists were being promoted as well, so the cost of the show was put against the radio stations promotions budget, and the artists were happily supplied by the label.

When Disco 92 hit the air, it was about dance music.  Track acts.  Not about all out concerts in venues.  Disco 92 was about going to the neighborhoods, and bringing the show TO YOU.  How odd!  Actually doing something RIGHT IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD of the listeners!  Sounds pretty foreign in today’s overly connected dis-connected world.

WKTU had what the called “The Disco Mobile.”  It was later renamed “The Dance Van” when “Disco” became a dirty word.  The Disco Mobile was a black panel truck that would go to the neighborhoods.  Block parties street fairs anywhere there was people.

But many times even the Disco Mobile was not enough.  Once of these events I recall was on Kings Highway in Brooklyn.  There was a huge panel truck. A large moving truck setup.  All the streets were closed, and mind you Kings Highway is a busy shopping street.

But for this, there were thousands of people watching track acts ON TOP of a moving truck. They were up there.  The DJs were there. Posters and “45s” were given away.  It was a fun tine in the streets.  The cost… nothing.  The investment to go to a venue someplace and spend gas money and park and go through hassles… non-existent.

Disco 92 came to you.  It was always existing when they did.  No crazy light show.  No effects.  Just the fact they were in YOUR neighborhood.  And in 1979 through 1981 they were.. always.

No wonder why they were number one by a large amount.  But hey.. today we don’t need that kind of fun and marketing.. .we can just look at banner ads.