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Author Topic: 30th Anniversary of WFAN (and the birth of Sports Radio)  (Read 1984 times)

Offline Ct Yankee

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Today (July 1) is the 30th anniversary of WFAN and the birth of a brand new radio format - sports radio. Ironically (due to the male domination of sports callers, professional players, and media), the very first voice heard on WFAN was a woman sports update  anchor (which I heard live) - Suzyn Waldman.  Waldman is a musical actress turned sportscaster.  She is now the NY Yankee radio color analyst and eyeballs for partner Jon Sterling (listen to a game sometime, he broadcasts and she corrects).  They have been playing the clip of her first words throughout the day.

WFAN began on 1050 am, the former country music station known as WHN - a 50,000 watt station with limited coverage area, now an ESPN Spanish language affiliate.  On October 7, 1988, during the Mets playoff run, WFAN switched frequencies live (once again, I listened) to the former WNBC on 660 am with a much larger propagation region.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 1742 UTC by Ct Yankee »
Tecsun H501x (broadcast received on this unless noted), Zenith T/O G500, Zenith T/O Royal 7000, Emerson AR-176, Zenith 8S154, T/O 7G605 (Bomber), Tecsun PL-600, Tecsun PL-880, Zenith 5S320, Realistic DX 160 using 40 feet of copper wire.  With apologies to Senator Gramm for his thoughts on firearms, "I have more radios than I need but not as many as I want."
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Offline ThaDood

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Re: 30th Anniversary of WFAN (and the birth of Sports Radio)
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2017, 0215 UTC »
Well, I for one didn't like the WFAN change from 66 WNBC. I still miss that. I do have to give WFAN credit, where credit is due. They have lasted the test of time. Albeit, I certainly didn't see this as a bright moment in radio history at that time.
Recently, a co-worker quizzed me on, "What would happen if you were to apply reverse polarity to the Energizer Bunny?". Having no idea, I asked, "What would happen?". The answer is he'd keep coming and coming and coming...

Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: 30th Anniversary of WFAN (and the birth of Sports Radio)
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2017, 0937 UTC »
Hooray for Sports Radio -- keeping the AM band viable commercially (along with brokered religion and ethnic minority formats). There's not much else that can make a lot of money on the AM band anymore. And as FM is full in most major metros, it will probably stay this way for a while.

I sometimes listen to sports radio when I get bored with political talk, hearing the same tracks repeated on the local and regional South Asian stations, and get weary of the same stuff on FM I heard last week a gazillion times.
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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: 30th Anniversary of WFAN (and the birth of Sports Radio)
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2017, 1325 UTC »
I suspect it was done in part in response to watching Conn. based ESPN's huge success starting as no-name regional cable network in late '79 to sports dominance carrying NFL and MLB games nationally by '87. The late 80's were lean times for AM. Running sports 24/7 was becoming a viable money making route, as were the syndicated right-wing ranters that started popping up in '89/'90.

Offline Ct Yankee

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Re: 30th Anniversary of WFAN (and the birth of Sports Radio)
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2017, 2240 UTC »


Pigmeat you got it right.  However, WFAN was on life support until one significant addition - "Imus in the Morning" was added to their line up when they switched to 660am, the frequency he was already occupying weekday mornings.  That generated the necessary cash flow to keep them afloat until other revenue streams were secured.

While I preferred the old WNBC format to WFAN (though I'm a frequent listener), they started programming which only helped keep radio alive.
Tecsun H501x (broadcast received on this unless noted), Zenith T/O G500, Zenith T/O Royal 7000, Emerson AR-176, Zenith 8S154, T/O 7G605 (Bomber), Tecsun PL-600, Tecsun PL-880, Zenith 5S320, Realistic DX 160 using 40 feet of copper wire.  With apologies to Senator Gramm for his thoughts on firearms, "I have more radios than I need but not as many as I want."
QTH:  Durham, Connecticut (rural setting, 15 miles north of Long Island Sound)
qsl please to:  jamcanner@comcast.net  (Thank you)

 

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