Musical diversity exploded on the radio in the 60’s. In fact, 1960 ushered in a new programming format called ” Top 40 radio.” Quite simply, it was a format that featured the 40 most popular songs and artists based on various surveys, charts and, get this, the 40 most played tunes in those quaint ” Jukeboxes” that peppered every Bar, Diner and ” Malt Shop across America. For the first time in radio, you could tune into one station that played something for everyone, no matter the genre or generation. In a single hour you could hear The Beatles, The Stones followed by Sinatra, Elvis, Dean Martin, Streisand, Johnny Cash, The Drifters, Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix! Back to back,( sounds a little insane in retrospect, but it worked ) and like never before and never since, The Top 40 radio format provided ” The Soundtrack to our Lives ” no matter what your age or where you lived. Every city in America had a Top 40 station. In L.A. Where I grew up, it was KRLA 1110a.m. They played ” more music,” had the coolest disc jockeys and the best contests that gave away unbelievable amounts of money and prizes. I must admit, I won a few bucks, which kept me tuned in all the more. What was your local station and fave D.J, who you thought was the coolest guy you ever heard ? SMS wants to hear your 60’s Top 40 radio story. You know you have one !
Jimmy, remembering the radio stations and the disc jockey’s that commanded the music that molded our lives is such a kick. In Southern California ( where I grew up) we had two Top 40 outlets 93/ KHJ aka “Boss Radio” and 1110/ KRLA, aka “The Big 1110” Our Top D.J.’s included ( at KHJ) Sam Riddle, Robert W Morgan, “The Real Don Steele” and yes, Charlie Tuna. Charlie did indeed move west from WMEX to 93/ KHJ in 1967 and he ruled. He did eventually move to KRTH / 101 and rocked the oldies until we lost him in February of 2016. Over at KRLA we grooved to Bob Eubanks, Wink Martindale, Dave Hull and Reb Foster…..Eubanks and Foster actually mortgaged their homes to raise the money to promote The Beatles ’64 and ’65 Hollywood Bowl shows. Talk about Heros, these guys ruled and we worshiped them ! Meanwhile, sorry to hear you no longer have your WMEX T- Shirt. I’m certain there’d be a great E Bay opportunity for you !
You got it, Rick. Glad you enjoyed the video, lots of GREAT stuff indeed (including Sonny and Cher “I Got “WOO” Babe”) Yeah WMEX was really where it all happened for me,1510 WAAAY at the end of the AM dial. Charlie Tuna was another DJ there too, who I believe ended up working on the west coast. Was it KRTH? Maybe you know?
I remember one time where Arnie and WMEX hosted a screening of Clint Eastwood’s first movie “A Fistful of Dollars” one fine Saturday morning at The Music Hall in Boston (the same theatre that I saw Bowie “Ziggy Stardust Tour”years later, in 1972) anyway I was chosen to go onstage with another WMEX listener and we went back and forth to see who could name the most Beatle songs…I won. My prize, a COOL WMEX sweatshirt. Had that baby for many years! Man, that was a fun time in my life.
Thanks, Rick. Really takes me back to that most amazing time in my life. For me, it was 1510 WMEX in Boston and Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsberg. The Night Train. Here’s a little blast from the past. Enjoy:
Jimmy, Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsberg,”The Night Train” Ahh yes, although we couldn’t listen to him out here on the west coast, he was a legend along with other East Coast jocks like Cousin Brucey and Murray The K ( The true 5th Beatle) and, of course we can’t forget the indomitable Wolfman Jack I’m a bit envious, you grew up listening to the “Best of the Best” on Radio. And, thank you so much for that great clip of Arnie and WMEX. I so enjoyed the jingles, the commercials, the Jocks and of course, THE MUSIC ( never saw that clip of The Beatles before) Thank you Jimmy, an “amazing time” indeed