70s FM Radio.

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

  1. d.s.l.

    d.s.l. Forum Resident ^O;O^

    London, England
    No cell phones... No Internet... Radio was my constant companion growing up. The DJs felt like friends & they played the songs they wanted to play & I needed to hear.

    "Sitting around the glow of the radio campfire, hungry for the sound of the tribal drum.” - Jim Ladd

    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  2. NickDanger

    NickDanger Forum Resident

    Lancaster PA
    I was fortunate to have a good tuner that could pull in WMMR & WYSP both great FM stations in the 70's. I couldn't wait to get to home from school and tune into one or the other.
  3. There was quite a difference between the early 70s and the late ones, with CHOM-FM in Montreal. At first it was very "heady", even with a somewhat spiritual orientation, gurus invited to speak on the air, etc. They had some money behind them and could afford to be picky about their sponsors (liberal politics).

    Real DJs, whom on a whim would play the long, live Benny Goodman version of "Sing, Sing, Sing" (dynamic range!), then switch to Gentle Giant or Shawn Phillips...

    Prog Rock fought a little while with Glitter Rock for air time, then lost for good...

    Then it turned into Corpo Rock, and things were never the same...

    I also have very fond memories of classical FM stations. When they would still respect a normal pacing between the pieces played, and before the host started talking. There would be silences, like it ought to be...

    And the night jazz shows with live DJs. See the front cover of Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly" for a taste (even if it's not the same timeframe)... Remember that cool lady on CBC Montreal: Nighthawk? When I worked night shifts in my student job, I never missed tuning in on her show! At one other time, CBC also had a night show where they alternated one classical piece, one jazz one... :love:
  4. DaveinMA

    DaveinMA Forum Resident

    Another good thing back then was the fact that they wouldn't talk over the beginnings and endings of songs.
    They also played the album versions of things that were released in edited-down form as singles.
    Unfortunately I only caught a few years of this due to my age before they all got taken over by corporations that used consultants and playlists.
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Well-Known Member

    Of course the sound was a big part! AM is subject to atmospheric conditions, fading, bandwidth limiting etc.

    AOR - "album oriented rock" - and the ability for DJs to let their hair down so to speak.
  6. egebamyasi

    egebamyasi Forum Resident

    Worcester, MA
    In the late 70's WAAF in Worcester (not yet Boston) would play an entire album at midnight. Sometimes it was a new release (Johnny Winter - White, Hot and Blue) and sometimes an older one (Kinks - Soap Opera). Often time it was bands I never heard before and never heard from again. Those were the days. WBCN in the mid 80's was still playing anything from local favorites (Nervous Eaters - Loretta) to Let's Pretend We're Married by Prince in between the more popular rock songs of the day.
    Shvartze Shabbos and Jarvius like this.
  7. PsychGuy

    PsychGuy Forum Resident

    Yeah, can't forget all that late-night jazz goodness on FM -- for me the great China Valles with his "music for mushrooms and night people" in South Florida, notably WBUS (both DJ and station sadly gone).
    ParloFax likes this.
  8. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the Bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    What was special about 70's FM radio?

    In a very general sense, listening to the radio, you felt "connected".

    Of course, some DJs were better than others. But, just like your friends, they had their own unique personalities, which you could sense through the speakers.

    Whatever was the topic of the day, the hour, of your city, of the Nation - the DJ seemed to be "in tune" , and spoke to that. They would spin a song about that subject, seriously, humorously, irreverently.
    Playlists were not the norm. Commercial breaks were delayed, to take calls on air, to finish a story, or deliver a message.
    It felt natural.... As if after school, you dropped by a buddie's house, and his older brother played records for you.

    The emphasis wasn't on the sound quality; the discs may have pops and scratches. But, no matter, he'd play that song you were waiting to hear - and you'd close your bedroom door, and turn up the volume.

    Just some thoughts...
  9. Archtop

    Archtop Forum Resident

    Greater Boston
    Boo Rad, jamesmaya and DaveinMA like this.
  10. DaveinMA

    DaveinMA Forum Resident

    jamesmaya likes this.
  11. DaveinMA

    DaveinMA Forum Resident

    Archtop, great minds think alike!`
    Archtop likes this.
  12. DaveinMA

    DaveinMA Forum Resident

    If you found the cat, call LA7-1584. If you found the dog, call 262-0019.
  13. Archtop

    Archtop Forum Resident

    Greater Boston
    Or, you know, fools seldom differ. ;)
  14. Elliottmarx

    Elliottmarx Always in the mood for Burt Bacharach

    Los Angeles
    There is an essential radio show that only plays airchecks. Open Mynd Excursion airs on Luxuriamusic.com Wednesday nights at 9PM pacific standard time. Better still, they are archived at the luxuria website. Luxuria has some amazing programming. Open Mynd will truly change the way you understand the function of radio in the 60s and 70s. A must listen.
    SuntoryTime, jamesmaya and Jarvius like this.
  15. Jarvius

    Jarvius Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I will start tonight! Can't wait.
    Elliottmarx likes this.
  16. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Forum Resident

    Those quotes summarise what I remember as well. The first half of the '70s was golden, FM hadn't been fully co-opted and corporatised, you got all kinds of independent play lists and coolness. Not to say there weren't islands of goodness that lasted into the '80s, but I remember wondering what went wrong with FM by about 1985 or so...it all started to sound so routine with its repeating playlists. I don't remember that from the early '70s. We got treated to lots of cool surprises as well as deep cuts, full albums, alt radio shows like the National Lampoon Radio Hour...all kinds of goodness. Sounding like an old fart here, but those were the days.
  17. Jarvius

    Jarvius Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I felt like I was living your post. Great writing man. You guys were lucky.
    John Adam, ParloFax and lightbulb like this.
  18. Spaghettiows

    Spaghettiows Forum Resident

    Silver Creek, NY
    They called the format "Progressive".

    The term had nothing to do with the musical genre that we now call "Prog", although the format had plenty of room for that. Here in the Buffalo, NY region, we had WYSL-FM 103.3, WBUF 92.9, WZIR 98.5 and one final stab in the early 80s with WUWU 107.7. The format fizzled out around 1983.
  19. ukrules

    ukrules Forum Resident

    Union, Kentucky
    OMG...those were the days! I loved radio in the 70s/80s since I was a poor kid. I used to stay up late to tape episodes of the King Biscuit Flour Hour concerts. Also, stations used to play entire albums commercial-free late at night. I taped those, as well. Radio quality stinks big time around here now. Poor programming and heavily distorted sound quality. I still believe in the power of radio so I've obtained an internet radio tuner. Now I can enjoy the last few good stations left on Earth. Sound quality is good enough at 128kbs mp3 and above.
    SuntoryTime and EdogawaRampo like this.
  20. maui jim

    maui jim Forum Resident

    I remember like it was yesterday when my father bought a receiver from Olsen Electronics that had FM for the basement
    This would be very early 70s. No FM in either car and wouldn't be til we would add a tuner for it.
    jamesmaya likes this.
  21. Remington Steele

    Remington Steele Forum Resident

    Saint George, Utah
    Have only heard the remnants of the format as I got into music in the 80s and 90s but it seems what made the FM rock format stations better was the freer track selection with stuff like "Francine" by ZZ Top, "Gone Dead Train" by Crazy Horse or "I Talk To The Wind" by King Crimson.
    Stuff long forgotten by today's rock stations.
    Best You Can hope for now is a good track by Triumph, Zebra or Saga as they have phased out the 60s and 70s.
    mlew likes this.
  22. PC31

    PC31 Forum Resident

    Ottawa, CAN
    As if all of the above weren't enough, there was also independent college/university radio.
    mlew likes this.
  23. Spaghettiows

    Spaghettiows Forum Resident

    Silver Creek, NY
    Yeah, but most of the college stations had a very limited broadcast radius. If you didn't live within about 2 miles of the college, it just wasn't happening.
  24. videoman

    videoman Forum Resident

    Lake Tahoe, NV
    70s FM radio really became special around 1997 or so
  25. PC31

    PC31 Forum Resident

    Ottawa, CAN
    Over here it was more like 50 miles.

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