70s FM Radio.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Jarvius, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Jarvius

    Jarvius Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I've become obsessed with 70s radio broadcasts, and I've been reading about FM in the 70s. What was it like? Did the sound quality make it special or was it just the music? I've been trying to locate radio shows from that period. If you guys can, explain what made FM so amazing.
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  2. beep

    beep Forum Resident

    It was the music. It was the chance to hear newly released albums in their entirety, and not just big names but acts you never heard of. Your friends were probably listening to the same broadcasts and you discussed it the next day. Sound quality in my case was limited to hearing music in stereo and much better fidelity than AM radio.
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  3. Jarvius

    Jarvius Forum Resident Thread Starter

    So it was the music and not the sound quality. I always thought it was mostly the sound. That's good information. Fleetwood Mac was made for FM in that case.
  4. PsychGuy

    PsychGuy Forum Resident

    I grew up with really good Top 40 (South Florida), so FM was a different animal but not necessarily a deliverance from bad radio and playlists. Free form was cool, though.

    The "underground" FM radio I was addicted to through maybe 1974 offered 1) Good sound quality/stereo 2) hip bands and album tracks and 3) sense of community.

    Not only did you get global music news (not widely available back then), but also updates on upcoming concerts, gatherings of the tribes, midnight movies, that sort of thing. They would play entire new albums and let you know when that was going to happen, so it was appointment listening.

    I remember with fondness free-form WMUM the Mother out of Palm Beach. Now "hot" adult contemporary, too sad for words.

    Of course, not all FM was underground. When FM was new, most of it was classical and MOR, as I recall.

    Things had already gone south when they made the movie "FM." Classic rock is the bastard child of late '70s FM formatting.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  5. Terry

    Terry Forum Resident

    1971 was gold. Hawkwind, Bob, King Crimson, John Lennon=heaven.
  6. CybrKhatru

    CybrKhatru Forum Resident

    Los Angeles
    I am always on the lookout for FM airchecks (radio broadcasts) from the late 60s-early 80s.
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  7. rockclassics

    rockclassics Forum Resident

    Arkansas, USA
    FM radio definitely had great sound quality in the 70s .... especially the stations that played albums. The sound was not compressed like it is on every station today. A few Top 40 FM stations obviously used compression but for the most part most stations sounded great and not the loud compressed mess that they are today.
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  8. Having been around back then, outside of classical and elevator music, FM radio in the 70's had an alternative format and harder rock. At first I viewed it as , 'hey, they're playing the wrong side of the record'! We heard a lot of album oriented rock and longer tracks. FM, instead of say, playing the short 3 minute version of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" like AM did, FM played the 5:33 LP version.
    Other common formats were adult contemporary and even some Top 40.
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  9. strummer101

    strummer101 Forum Resident

    Lakewood OH
    In the 70s "classic rock" didn't exist. Instead, it was the current music. They played entire records, deep cuts, multiple genres, new music, older music...it was great.

    You could tune in to a single station and hear Bowie, Dylan, Sly and the Family Stone, The Kinks, Funkadelic, War, Roxy Music, James Brown, Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy, Aerosmith, Joni Mitchell, Todd Rundgren, Kraftwerk, Patti Smith, The New York Dolls, Alex Harvey, etc. etc. etc.

    Of course they played some crap, too. Don't they always?
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  10. Spruce

    Spruce Forum Resident

    Brigg, England
    Don't think you will get a better answer than this, especially the opening paragraph. Great post!
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  11. driverdrummer

    driverdrummer Forum Resident

    Irmo, SC
    The Legends:Get it On compilation reminds me a lot of GOOD 70s FM radio.
  12. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Member Of The Midnight Society

    Greater St. Louis
    I was pretty young back then, but one song I remember hearing was AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. From that point forward I loved the band.
  13. William Abely

    William Abely Well-Known Member

    The best thing about FM radio was the unpredictability. I was lucky to be in Boston where we had two great stations (until the consultants killed one).

    You would get deep cuts, concerts and DJ's that would program differently than other DJ's on the same station.

    And then it ended.
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  14. strummer101

    strummer101 Forum Resident

    Lakewood OH
    Yeah that's a good point. The DJs played what they felt like playing and they all had different tastes and personalities. You would look forward to hearing your favorite DJ's show on any given day/night. Good times!
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  15. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    clifton park,ny
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  16. Michael P

    Michael P Forum Resident

    Parma, Ohio
    I grew up in Cleveland where we had WNCR and WMMS. WNCR would do a "newscast" with Jefferson Airplane's "Embryonic Journey" playing. Then one day the entire WNCR staff took over WMMS and the rest was history. You can thank WMMS for Bowie & Springsteen becoming superstars. It's why "Cleveland Rocks" (the song was originally recorded as "England Rocks", Mick Ronson dissed his own country).
  17. Jarvius

    Jarvius Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Really?! So at a house party for example, you guys would let the radio play instead of records? Seeing how FM was very varied.
    JoeF. likes this.
  18. Jarvius

    Jarvius Forum Resident Thread Starter

  19. Galley

    Galley Forum Resident

    I often think that many compilations of music from that time period are lame because they are missing songs I heard on the radio, but then I remember that ours was an AOR station, so they were album cuts.
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  20. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    San Diego, CA, USA
    I remember as a teenager in the 70's that FM quality was good with a good tuner.

    FM Rock Radio was the way to stay in touch with the rock scene, new releases were given special status and excitement, you heard about upcoming concerts, there were special segments, sometimes they would play whole albums, the King Biscuit Flower Hour was a must stay up show, DJs had 'character' - and from my recollections there was much more variety.
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  21. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    clifton park,ny
    Not sure but it's a pretty good chunk. Give it a listen and let us know what you think.
    Jarvius likes this.
  22. Jarvius

    Jarvius Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Was there a certain release that you were most excited about?
  23. rjp

    rjp Forum Resident

    you literally never knew what you were going to hear next.........very few repeats, if ever. all the bands got played, no plaaylists.

    and all the DJ's sounded like they had the bass on 10 and were talking through a yawn.

    it was magical.
  24. RickH

    RickH Forum Resident

    Raleigh, NC
    My fond recollections of FM in the 70's are much like the comments made in posts 9 & 13 and I'll add that the AOR stations in my area would play long sets of cool new music, most of which you were likely hearing for the first time, then the dj would "backsell" the songs & artists at the end of the sets. Great songflow was a big part of the magic of these stations back then as well. I SO miss radio like that today.
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  25. milankey

    milankey Forum Resident

    Kent, Ohio, USA
    Springsteen "Born To Run" album was a biggie.
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