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Radio Days - 60's & 70's
Jump back in time thanks to 
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WHK Cleveland 1962
WJJD Chicago 1962 
WLS Chicago 1968
WCAO Baltimore 1972
 
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WLS History and Memories
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Scott Childers WLS Time Capsule
Jeff Roteman's WLS Tribute

Radio Daily News
WLS 75th Anniversary
WLS - The Big 89 Tribute 

An update on my former 'LS colleagues these days.  I caught up with some of them and have a full report on Dex Card, Don Phillips, Clark Weber, Mort Crim, Ray Van Steen and Bob Hale ...  (click)
"We Get Letters...."   
Hey, I gotta say thanks for all of the emails. It's really amazing to me what people remember about those 'LS days.  Jogs my memory, too!  I try to answer 'em all personally and, as space permits, I put a few here on the site.  If you write please be sure to tell me where you're from and where you were in those days when you listened and what you were up to then and now if you care to.  There are lots of great stories out there!  Of course if we put your letter on site we'll only put in your first name & state to maintain privacy.  Thanks, RR
HERE ARE A FEW EMAIL EXCERPTS FROM FORMER "RILEY REBAL RAIDERS" 
 
RON - LOVED YOUR SHOW - THE MUSIC - THE STATION.  IT WAS GREAT TIMES  LISTENING ON THE FAR SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO.  THANKS FOR THE GOOD MEMORIES.  I'VE BECOME A "RILEY REACTIVATED FLASHBACK MYSELF!  THANKS FOR THE GOOD MEMORIES.  PS YOU SHOULD COME BACK TO CHICAGO FOR AN APPEARANCE ON BOB SIROTT'S SHOW ON PBS..  HE HAD GREAT INTERVIEWS WITH LUJACK AND BRITAIN.    MICHAEL, ILLINOIS
 
Great to hear from you Mike. Bob has asked me several times to appear on the show, and I'd love to, but just haven't gotten out to Chicago in some time.  I'll do it one of these days.   Bet you're happy to hear Lujack and Britain back on the AM radio Chicago also understand that Biondi and Fred Winston are doing internet shows at 3PM and 8PM on www.wjmk.com
 
RON..I WAS LISTENING TO OLDIES ON MY CAR RADIO AND GOT TO THINKING ABOUT THE OLD DAYS.  I USED TO LISTEN TO YOU AT NIGHT ON WLS FROM HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA.  THOSE DAYS OF THE LIVE VISITS WITH  SIMON AND GARFUNKLE AND CHAD AND JEREMY AND OTHERS WERE GREAT.   CAROL, PENNSYLVANIA
 
Hey Carol.  Although playing all the hits was great fun and doing the Bruce Lovely and Riley Rebel Raiders stuff was great fun, I've got to tell you I really enjoyed the impromptu on air  visits with the hot artists.  I also remember Mama Cass coming by (she was forever chasing after Graham Nash - who was trying to duck her - she usually managed to show up everytime the Hollies stopped by)  Then there were the Byrds, Buckinghams, Cryan Shames, Paul Revere, Tommy James. All great people and very excited about their music success.  And you know, of all the show tapes that I have and others that website visitors have sent, I still don't have even one that contains any of those interviews.  
 
RON, JUST A LINE TO SAY THANKS FOR THE EVENING ENTERTAINMENT BACK IN THE 60S ON THE GREAT WLS.  I ESPECIALLY REMEMBER YOUR BANTER WITH CLARK WEBER.  GREAT FUN.   LARRY
 
Clark and I still "banter" via email but nothing like the days when he was my "boss" and I kicked him around on the air. It was a lot of laughs for us, believe me.
 
I GREW UP IN VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI IN THE 60'S AND LISTENED TO WLS EVERY NIGHT.  IT WAS ALMOST MAGICAL HOW THE SIGNAL WOULD APPEAR WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN.  THERE WASN'T MUCH TO DO IN MISSISSIPPI IN THOSE DAYS.  WE WOULD PILE INTO A CAR AND HEAD FOR THE BURGER/BEER DRIVE IN, TALKING SPORTS AND FLIRTING WITH GIRLS, FALLING IN AND OUT OF LOVE.  ALWAYS WITH WLS PROVIDING THE BACKGRUND OF OUR LIVES.  Y'ALL TOOK ME FROM "HEY PAULA" TO "THE BEATLES" AND THEN SOME. I CHERISH THAT TIME AND THANK ALL OF YOU WHO WERE THERE WITH ME.  KELLY
 
Ditto for me Kelly.  I thank all of you where were there with me as well.  It was a wonderful trip which has certainly been supplimented now, so many years later, by  hearing back from website visitors like yourself and sharing those memories.  Rock on!
 
I LISTENED TO WLS IN THE 60'S AND HAD A QUESTION ABOUT A "START UP" FM STATION AT THAT TIME WHO PLAYED WHAT WAS CALLED "UNDERGROUND MUSIC"  (LED ZEPPELIN, JETHRO TULL, TRAFFIC, ETC.)  THE DJ WAS CALLED "SPOKE", THE WHEEL OF LIFE" AND HE TALK IN A REAL LOW VOICE WITH A LOT OF REVERB.     JOHN, FLORIDA
 
Hey John...that station was WLS's sister station (I've forgotten the call) and "Spoke" was a young guy named Gordon Anderson, who initially answered the phones at WLS89 taking requests at night. .  You'll recall there were not too many FM receivers or listeners out there  at that time, so they didn't mind giving Gordon a shot at a show when they began the new format.  Gordon later got into the record business - for Columbia/Sony I believe - has a family and lives in New York. 
 
 

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On the Air at WLS - Click photos for larger views


ON A PERSONAL NOTE
 
Thanks so much to everyone for your feedback - and for joining us on our WLS  1960's recreation Friday September 15th on XM Satellite Radio's 60's on 6 Channel
 
It's been 40 some years since I was on "the big 89" and about 25 years since I did any music radio at all. 
Gotta tell you I had my initial misgivings when they asked me to host it, but I actually suprised myself when I got behind the XM mike , put on the headphone - and suddenly it all came back.  It was great fun reliving such a great radio station of the time - the the fabulous music of the 1960s.  And beyond that - the knowledge that there were hundreds of thousands of people across the nation reliving that same period in their lives along with me.  It was absolutely awsome!
 
So much of the credit goes to the professionals at XM -   60's on 6 Program Director Pat Clarke - personalities Phlash Phillips and  Terry "Motor Mouth" Young.  Terrific people dedicated to their art! 
 
The old airchecks, the remastered jingles and "stuff"  came from a variety of sources including Clark Weber, Don Phillips, Ray (Peter Fugitive) Van Steen, Rob Hummel in Wisconsin who has collected just about everything that could possibly be collected  from WLS and shared it with me, and from Baltimore, Joe Evelius who a few years ago worked hard to improve many of those airchecks and then moved them from reel to reel to CD's   Also a special thanks to Larry Shannon at  the popular Radio Daily News  www.radiodailynews.com for the nice mentions, and for the great write up on www.dcrtv.org  the premier internet spot here in the WashingtonDC/Baltimore area that has all the media scoop all the time!
 
And a second thank you to Terry Young who conceived this Friday night feature on his show - produced the entire 5 hours in which I participated - and help keep me pumped up!  He was "the man" who made it all fit together.
 
Finally - my thanks to the  WLS fans of the 1960's  for being there with me and my colleagues - not only in good old Chicagoland and the Midwest but  60's music fans from across the XM Nation. 
 
Here's a note I received from Pat Clarke:  

It’s official.  We’ve NEVER gotten as much positive feedback as we have from our WLS salute last Friday! 

Pat Clarke
Program Director
XM Satellite Radio 60's on 6

Ron


BRUCE SPIZER a New Orleans tax attorney and long time Beatle author, historian and fan has done it again!  After a great success with the books  THE BEATLES' STORY ON CAPITOL RECORDS  part 1 and 2, he's come out with THE BEATLES ARE COMING.  This is a treasure!  About 250 pages absolutely loaded with pictures of their concerts, posters, album covers, and appearances which took place in hthe 60s during the "Birth of Beatlemania In America"  
 
 
Bruce also has a popular Beatles collectors site  www.beatle.net

HERE ARE A FEW EMAIL EXCERPTS FROM FORMER "RILEY REBEL RAIDERS" 

DEAR RON.  YOU WERE THE 60S TO ME.  MY BASIC LINK TO THE BIG WORLD.  ALL THOSE FUN THINGS FROM THE DAYS OF THE BEATLES.  I REMEMBER YOU CONGRATULATING THE WLS FAN CLUB (WLS - WE LOVE STARR) AND THE CORNY CLARK WEBER JOKES.   "WHY DID WEBER PUT A BANANA PEEL ON HIS HEAD?  HE WANTED TO KNOW IF BLONDES REALLY HAD MORE FUN"  GLAD I FOUND THIS WEBSITE.       KITTY, TUSCALOOSA, AL 

Wow, those were really some poor jokes weren't they Kitty.  But, it was all fun lovin' stuff

Do you recall the "swimming pool" with all the "down with Weber" shouters in the background.  Of course there were no real kids yelling or a swimming pool on the roof of our building - but I had quite a library of sound effect bites that we put together. 

HEY RON.  I'M A WASHINGTON DC AREA TRANSPLANT FROM "CORN COUNTRY USA".  WHEN I FIRST SAW YOU DOING TV WEATHER OUT HERE SOMETHING TRIGGERED MY MEMORY CELLS - "THE VOICE IS FAMILIAR" THEN I WENT TO YOUR WEBSITE FOR A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE.  WHAT A HOOT.  IT BROUGHT BACK TONS OF MEMORIES.  GUESS MY BIGGEST MEMORY WAS LISTENING THE NIGHT DICK BIONDI GOT KICKED OFF THE AIR.  THANKS FOR GIVING US "BABY BOOMERS" A CHANCE OF RECREATE IN OUR MINDS  SOME OF OUR COOLEST TIMES. MAKES ME FEEL I'M NOT REALLY OVER THE HILL!   KIM, VIRGINIA 

Kim, Thanks for the great email.  You know, in all these years I don't really think I got a straight answer to just "why" Biondi got fired. I wasn't working there at the time, although I filled in a year before on the all night show "East of Midnight" which came on right after Dick's show ended. Later, our program director Gene Taylor said it was because Dick continued to complain about the number of commercials on his show and made a lot of comments about it on the air - which ticked off the sales department, the general manager, and our owners ABC - and so they eventually let him go.  Other rumors had to do with some off color jokes, or whatever.  I never did get a straight answer from Dick himself.  (Of course anything seems to go on radio now days.)  Anyway, when Biondi left his night time slot was filled by Art Roberts, and to my great fortune, I was hired to for the early evening slot that Art vacated.  Who thought we'd still be talking about all of this so many years later?   

HEY RON, YOU AND JOHN "RECORDS" LANDECKER WERE MY 2 FAVORITES.  USED TO LISTEN TO THE BIG 89 AS A KID AND WAS SUITABLY ENTERTAINED AND AMAZED AT YOUR STYLE AND HOW YOU "DAZZLED THEM WITH YOUR FOOTWORK"  I'LL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU AND JOHN AS BEING THE BEST EVER.   AL 

Al, you put me in great company with Landecker.  I only met him once at a WLS anniversary party in the 1980s.  He was on the air a decade after I left WLS and an extremely good air personality.  I was never a Fred Astaire, but  have to admit doin' the stuff I did on the air really did keep me dancin'. 

HELLO RON.  I JUST CAME ACROSS YOUR WEBSITE - ANOTHER OF THOSE WLS LISTENERS WHO TUNED IN WHEN THE SUN WENT DOWN HERE IN CHATTANOOGA.

 I LISTENED TO WLS FROM 1961 TO THE MID 70S.  THE BEST RADIO STATION OF THE TIMES.  YOUR "FEUD WITH WEBER WAS HILARIOUS.         RON, TN 

Hi Ron.  Yes, all the Sundown listeners around the nation were especially happy during the Winter months when the sun set very early and they could pick up WLS after 5pm instead of after 8pm as in the Summer.  I used to get tons of mail - especially from the southern states; seems there were a lot of small town with even smaller radio stations that were required to sign off at sundown.  That was about the same time  we began blasting in on our clear channel frequency. It was great for all of us, believe me.   

DEAR RON.  I LIVED IN A SMALL MINNESOTA TOWN, POPULATION 7,000 BACK IN 1963.  I WAS 13  AND LISTENED  EVERY NIGHT.  YOU WERE IN A RAGING BATTLE WITH "EMPEROR WEBER" WHO LIKED THE DAVE CLARK 5 BUT NOT THE BEATLES.  OF COURSE, YOU WERE RIGHT AND HE WAS DEFINITELY WRONG.  ONE SUMMER I GOT A COPY OF "I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND" SUNG IN GERMAN AND SENT IT TO YOU - MY DJ HERO.  AFTER ABOUT A WEEK I BECAME DISCOURAGED AS I WAS HOPING YOU'D PLAY IT AND MENTION MY NAME.  THEN CAME THE NIGHT WHEN SURE ENOUGH YOU PLAYED IT AND  SAID "THANKS TO CHUCK IN MINNESOTA FOR SENDING IT "KOMM, GIB MIR DEINE HAND."  YOU  ALSO  SENT ME A LETTER AND AN AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO.  I WAS IN HEAVEN.   CHUCK, MN

Gotta tell you Chuck, I was thrilled to get that Odeon label single at the time.  It had a photo cover and as I recall Sie Liebt Dich (She Loves You) was on the other side.  I had a very large collection - of which that record was one of them - and after many years of carting them around, along with some gold record awards, t-shirts, autographed photos and record promotional "stuff" I finally sold most of it all to a guy who has an big 60's nostalgia store in the LA area.  I'm sure it will all make some collectors very happy.

See Ron Riley.  One of the personalities on News Channel 8 in DC, Maryland VA Hear Ron Riley - WLS Chicago 1967
Ron Riley -  WLS-The Music Radio Years
WLSHistory.com  Jeff Roteman's WLS Tribute WLS Radio 

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Ron Riley today on NewsChannel 8


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Book excerpt on Ron Riley
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Click here to hear Ron Riley and interviews with the Beatles!

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Ron's audio cuts!  
Click 'n Listen!

Ron interviews Beatles Paul McCartney
Beatles entering Shea Stadium

Interview with Ed Sullivan

Beatles manager denies Paul 
McCartney's rumored marriage