nyradionews.com Introduction

Close-up of a radio dial

A B O U T   T H I S   D O C U M E N T A R Y

December 1978 - The late 1970s is a golden time in New York radio news.  

All news radio is at its prime, with hard news stations WCBS (880 AM) and WINS (1010 AM) competing head-to-head, 24 hours a day.

Pop music stations, effectively required by FCC guidelines to run news as part their programming, are working hard to prevent news from being a "tune out" for their young audiences. Just sample the increasingly creative and diverse news programming approaches from stations like 99X WXLO (98.7 FM), WPIX (101.9 FM), and WNBC (660 AM), WNEW (AM 1130) among others.

And, change is in the air: There is an uneasy tension between traditionalists who view news as education and information and a new breed of programmers who think as news as part of their stations' overall entertainment programming. And, there is an increasing push among the broadcast business community to scale back FCC news requirements, which some view as an expensive drain on profits.

For the past two months, during this Fall of 1978, I have been priviledged to get a unique behind-the-scenes view of  a dozen top radio news rooms in New York, the world's largest radio market. I've interviewed their anchors, reporters, engineers and news directors; sat in the studio during on their broadcasts; traveled with reporters on assignment; and reviewed and edited dozens of hours of taped "air checks" of New York stations.

This resulting documentary is part of an independent study project at the University of Florida School of Journalism and Communications. [Orginally produced in 1978 as a written report and a two-hour audio documentary, it has now been transcribed to the medium of the web to provide an accessible historical record of New York radio news in the late 1970s.]

Why New York?

Why New York? The audio clips below, from the 1978 New York Market Radio campaign, say it all...

"Crazy Eddie"
"Crazy Eddie -- NY market radio works like crazy for us."

"NY market radio reaches the largest consumer market in the country."

"Blue Nun"
"Radio goes everywhere you go, and so does Blue Nun."

"NY market radio reaches 88% more consumers than Los Angeles, and 120% more than Chicago. In fact, more new yorkers listen to the radio than CA and Chicago put together."

"Barnes & Noble"
"Barnes & Noble... New York Market Radio... Of Course, Of Course."

"NY market radio reaches the largest concentrated population in the country, and every day most of them listen to the radio."

We'll be adding more to this documentary regularly, so tune in again! If you have comments or remembrances, please leave your comments in the guest log.


Martin Hardee

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About this report
This research documentary is Copyright 1979, 2002  Martin Hardee - All Rights Reserved. (read more...) Material may be quoted or excerpted for non-profit research purposes without additional special permission. For additional information email martin @ hardee.net.