For the Fanilows

Today is Barry Manilow’s birthday.  Back in the 1970s, his songs were all over the radio.  Nowadays, you’re likely to hear him on stations like WLIX.  I can’t think of a more fitting way to honor this occasion than to share this song by a man who sang about streaking in the 1970s.

Ray Stevens – “I Need Your Help, Barry Manilow”

To “B” or not to “B”

If this is the question, the answer is not to “B” for 103.1 FM, as they turned into Max FM last Friday:
Connoisseur Media Classic Hits “B103” WBZO Bay Shore, NY rebranded this morning as “103.1 Max-FM“.
Keeping its previous positioning as “Classic Hits Of The 70s, 80s And More”, WBZO is adding two hours of commercial-free music at 9:00am daily. The station will completely revamp its airstaff with Jim Douglas, most recently in mornings at CBS’ “Fresh 102.7” WWFS New York joining Kelly Dyson in mornings. Cluster OM Patrick Shea will take middays. Ralph Tortora, most recently hosting weekends at iHeartMedia’s “Q104.3” WAXQ New York fills the afternoon slot and takes on Program Director duties. Tortora previously spent many years working on Long Island at 102.3 WBAB and 103.9 WRCN.

This rebranding is something they should have done back when they shifted WBZO into the 70’s and 80’s.  They’ve alienated the older listeners by dropping the 50’s and 60’s eras.  It will be an uphill climb to capture newer listeners now.  WBAB is the classic rock juggernaut around these parts, so lotsa luck trying to grabbing listeners who have made 102.3 a decades-old habit.

Douglas Adams’ Last TV Interview

While cleaning out my links in Instapaper, I came across this interview with Douglas Adams in 2001.  Not sure what book he was promoting at the time, but if you stick around for the full recording you’ll hear him talk about his days in radio.  Back when he was in radio, it was an inexpensive medium and one where people took chances.  Things are a bit different now, aren’t they?

Casey Kasem: Gateway to Discovery

Before we get any deeper into 2015, there’s one item from 2014 I’d like to address: Casey Kasem.

Casey died in June 2014.  His funeral, and many tributes to him, followed soon afterward, but his body was not buried until December 2014 in Norway.  In all that time, Casey’s family argued how he should be treated, both before and after his death.  The arguments continued over his final resting place, and after the burial there are still many unresolved issues.  It’s certainly been a tumultuous end to one of radio’s premiere icons.

For me, Casey was a gateway to discovery, of both music and radio.  As a youth in the early 1980s, the only media I was able to consume easily were print, radio, and television.  Billboard magazine was not easy to get a hold of, as the subscription price was pretty high (I think it still is), so listening to American Top 40 was the next best thing.  Casey’s stories and trivia were what I looked forward to most.  I soon discovered that most of the songs I liked were most often at the beginning of the show (the lower/less popular end of the chart) rather than at the end.  The show was on WNBC-AM radio at the time, which led me to the likes of Don Imus and Howard Stern.  Shortly thereafter, Casey moved to WPLJ-FM, which opened up another avenue of discovery.  I then shifted to the new music of WLIR and the rock icons of WNEW-FM.  Then there were the laid back interviews of Rockline, and the crazy antics of Dr. Demento.

I’m still discovering new music now, but in a manner that’s similar to the way Chrissie Hynde describes it in this Q&A:

Are there other bands you’re listening to that you’re excited about? I listen to the radio, and I hear things. But it’s not like when I was 16, and I would call my friends and say, “You’ve got to hear this record I just got!” There isn’t a unified scene anymore. Everything I loved about music, it seems like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has destroyed.

While it’s true that times have changed, and the quest for discovery is different from I was young, the quest is still there.  Thank you, Casey, for helping me get started on my quest.

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for Dr. Chuck’s Corner.  Are these really the topics I wrote about? Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Rockline Hangs It Up

Me and my Rockline t-shirt, circa 1990.
Me and my Rockline t-shirt, circa 1990.

It’s been many years since I’ve listened to Rockline.  It’s been even longer since I worked on their AOL presence (and unofficial web site).  Recently, I found out that Rockline will be ending its run after 33 1/2 years:

[Bob] Coburn, longtime Rockline host as well as owner of the show, stated “The world has changed from an innovative, unique idea back in 1981 to a one of near constant exposure for artists in 2014. With the Internet, Twitter accounts, hundreds of television channels and a more sophisticated press, artists are now literally at the fingertips of their fans. Rockline is no longer the invaluable tool to connect fans with their Rock & Roll heroes, it has become but one of many.”

The last shows will be broadcast on Wednesday, December 17 for the classic rock edition, and Monday, December 22 for the active rock edition.  33 1/2 years is a long time (some might call it an eternity), but I guess all good things do come to an end.

Back in 1981, there was a greater “distance” between performer and audience.  While it is true that social networks and other present day media (both social and traditional) have shortened that distance through speedy communication, there’s still something special about actually talking to an artist you admire.  It’s one thing to read what Alice Cooper has to say on Twitter, and it’s another to ask him what inspired him to write “Billion Dollar Babies” and hear his answer in his own voice.

I never got through the phones successfully, but I still have happy memories of listening to the show throughout the years.  You didn’t have access to everybody’s personal news feed back then, so it really was essential listening.

Good night and good luck, Rockline, wherever you may go.

Twenty Years and Counting

Weezer (Blue Album)
A number of things happened since the first Weezer album came out (photo credit: Wikipedia).

The other day, I realized that it’s been 20 years since I created my first website. That’s quite a milestone when you think about it, and in terms of the internet, it’s ancient history!  I don’t know exactly what it looked like back then, but if you hit this link you can see how it was back in March 1997.

Did you look? Yikes, that was so… Web 1.0.

That got me to thinking of the many events that happened between now and then. Some things are still around, and some things didn’t quite last.  This list doesn’t show everything that happened, so if I missed something you think I should have mentioned, let me know in the comments.


  • Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web goes online. Three months later, it is renamed Yahoo!
  • Dave Winer, creator of the Scripting News, begins blogging.
  • Netscape Navigator is released.




  • The first DVD movies are released in the United States.
  • Netflix is founded.


  • The DMCA is signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin begin a research project at Stanford University that would shortly become Google.
  • Microsoft releases Windows 98.











  • Hulu launches for public access.







  • U2 releases their album Songs of Innocence for free on the iTunes Store for all iTunes users. Many users do not appreciate this “gift” and want to return it. Bono says “sorry about that.”

I write things down, and you sometimes read them.


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