What’s New?

* A brand new composite from 1979 as the station transitions to 99-XLO!

PLUS! We’ve returned a number of older airchecks including Jay Thomas’s morning show from 1978 now upgraded to our new player and extended to a full hour!

Got tapes of 99x? Please, we hope you’ll consider donating a copy to our site!

We are proud to announce that the 99X New York tribute site is now officially a part of Airchexx.com! We’ll be working on the site in the coming days and weeks to upgrade the audio to our new player. You should see other improvements as well.

I welcome your suggestions for improvements! Send an email with your ideas, I’d love to hear from you.

We’re also looking for any 99X WXLO Alumni – we’d like to tell your story about your time at 99X.

Posted by Steve West | General | 2 comments

The Beginning: WOR-FM Becomes WXLO 99X | 1967-1974 (11:09) Scoped

In the beginning there was …. static…

Well that’s the way this aircheck starts out. How appropriate, then, that we should have a crisp & clean audio history lesson of the late WXLO – 99X from the Big Apple! From the free-form rock of the mid-60s to the Drake Top 40 era, then to the WXLO years, this aircheck explains it all – far better than any words I could write in tribute to this great station.

Lets head back in time, to 1967. And start the greatest history lesson you’ll ever learn!

Please note: This selection is NOT WORKING at present.  We are working on locating the original tape from our files and will have it restored shortly.

Posted by Steve West | WOR-FM Freeform Rock Era, WOR-FM Drake Era | 5 comments

Lee Roberts, Saturday Morning on 99X – December 17, 1978

“99X…. Rockin the Apple in Stereo with a world of Odessey…”

The late 70s was a particularly good time for Lee Roberts, who was heard at 13 WAVZ New Haven, 96 TIC-FM Hartford AND 99X all in the same general time period!

Lee, IMHO, is an incredible talent whose delivery, while it didn’t particularly stand out like Bill Lee’s, was very smooth and polished. I don’t think I ever heard an on air mistake from Roberts.

That said, lets enjoy a bit of this Connecticut native on 99X from a few days before Christmas ‘78.

Posted by Steve West | General, Lee Roberts, Bill James | no comments

The Return of Beaver Cleaver to 99X!

He’s back! Actually, given that Beaver was already working for RKO General out west, this was no big deal to do a sohw in NY. But… he sounds even better here than the first appearance a year earlier!

Posted by Steve West | Matt Seinberg, Beaver Cleaver | no comments

Second “Cookin’” Composite – June 1 & 2, 1979

“…This is only a test…. I know your dog is listening!”

This compliments the first “Cookin’ Composite” that we have from ‘78 thanks to Matt at Big Apple Airchecks!

It starts out right where it should, with the Jay Thomas morning show and moves right along through what apparently is a full broadcast day (and then some).

Here’s an aircheck of a station in transition. What had been Top 40 99X is now Top 40 99-XLO, as the station starts to search for new ways to captivate an ever-fragmenting audience, having lost most of the Disco listeners to newly-hatched 92 WKTU and feeling pressure from other stations like rocker 95.5 WPLJ and AC 97 WYNY. Trying to find that niche in mid ‘79 eventually led to an AC version of WXLO called simply FM 99 in October, which turned out to be a ratings disaster. It all came crashing down in 1981 when RKO General decided to take the station Urban to take on crosstown WBLS… at that time ditching the WXLO calls in favor of WRKS and a new name, Kiss-FM.

And so as to confuse you guys even more, here are some interesting facts about that evolution. The Kiss-FM monikker was NOT a creation of Clear Channel Communications (which at that time was a tiny little company in Texas using a different name), rather, the name was taken from BOSTON’S WXKS-FM, Ritchie Balsbaugh’s incredibly successful Disco-turned-CHR Kiss 108. And, three years after the WXLO call letters were tossed to the wind (January 1984), Robin Martin’s Montachusett Broadcasting picked them up for use on his then WFMP 104.5 Fitchburg as part of it’s transition to Worcester, Mass…. where they sit today!

I explained all that just to explain what the 99-XLO jingles and name actually meant to listeners in mid-1979 – more Oldies, more Recurrents, album cuts and a station beginning to lose its way. Still…. it hasn’t changed all that much at this point, as you’ll hear in this long composite and WXLO still sounds incredible with lots of personality and new jingles.

Posted by Steve West | Matt Seinberg | no comments

Tony Taylor on WOR-FM: The Bill Drake sound from 1969, Continued

This one is short, only about 2 minutes scoped but thanks again to Bill James for this excellent look at WOR-FM, the PRE-99X sound of 98.7!

WOR-FM, 1969

Posted by Steve West | WOR-FM Drake Era, Bill James | no comments

Tony Taylor on WOR-FM: The Bill Drake sound from 1969

Tony Taylor now, on WOR-FM from the Drake days.

After the success of RKO General O&O stations KHJ, CKLW and WRKO, the format was imported to New York City on the first FM outlet in the RKO Chain. In this, the first Top 40 incarnation of 98.7 FM, the standard Drake formatics are in place, as are the Johnny Mann jingles.

This would last for two more years before the Drake sound would run it’s eventual course, but the stage was set for future success with the “Q” format as WXLO 99X would emerge by 1972. Here is the genesis of that transformation…

WOR-FM, 1969

This is part one of a scoped two part series. Original commercials included!

Posted by Steve West | WOR-FM Drake Era, Tony Taylor, Bill James | one comment

Beaver Cleaver on 99X – ONE NIGHT ONLY! | June 10, 1978

Hurry, for a limited time Beaver Clearver is on 99x! Well, not really for one night, although that’s what they billed it as. He’d return a year later, almost to the day for a one show encore.

Cleaver was an RKO West Coast jock schooled in the art of talking fast and curt one-liners. Steve ‘Smokin’ Weed couldn’t have done better!

Posted by Steve West | Matt Seinberg | no comments

Jay Thomas, Charlie Steiner News and Flash Flood Weather – The 99X Morning Show | 1979

Thanks to Martin Hardee for providing this SUPERB hour long Jay Thomas morning show! This is a re-post of an earlier gem which then was only a half hour, but now we’ve included the entire one hour scope!

There’s not much music, or any semblence of a ‘Top 40′ format – but this IS the morning show. The competition during this time was not necessarilly WABC. Thomas makes an offhand remark to newsman Charlie Steiner about WKTU – the ‘new’ all-Disco station in town.

You’ll hear three different consecutive segments. I tightened up the source tape audio so the pauses are gone and this flows like a continuous aircheck – which it is except for a couple of songs which are scoped out.

In each segment, you hear opening banter between Thomas and Steiner, then the news – this is the historic nature of this aircheck. Anything you wanted to know about New York City at this point in 1979 you’ll hear. Then the commercial break (edited), and Flash Flood – the weatherguy.

Content: NOAA Weather Radio is going to computerized digitized voices (wow… was it that long ago???), Steiner & Mark Smith (now AP Correspondent) start a series on Discos (I’d assume this is BEFORE WLS/Steve Dahl’s “Disco Destruction” at Chicago’s Wrigley Field), and some assorted NYC political stuff and the usual murders. There is *some* music, but really only enough to serve as bookmarks. Note to ASCAP/BMI: There are no songs! Gotta keep reminding them of that.

Posted by Steve West | Jay Thomas, Charlie Steiner, Martin Hardee | 2 comments

Big Ron O’Brien on 99x | May 4, 1974

Brand new for Independence Day 2006 is this 45 minute glimpse of “Big” Ron O’Brien’s show from the Spring of ‘74. While this is a reasonably low-quality recording, O’Brien sounds great and very much fits the sound of mid-70s WXLO.

Posted by Steve West | Matt Seinberg, Big Ron O’Brien | no comments

Bobby Rich, the Top 99 of 1978 and New Year’s Eve Party with staff – December 31, 1978

It’s New Year’s in July as we return a classic aircheck to 99x New York!

Now hear here, for your listening pleasure, a hi-fi scoped recording of one of the best New Year’s Eve parties you’ll ever hear (because radio doesn’t care to do them anymore) from all our friends at 99x!

Dual number one songs – yea, guess what group was hotter than a firecracker in ‘78? And no, the number two song WASN’T John Congos – “She’s Gonna Step On You Again”, although the mere mention of that one is downright scary!! Neither is the Number one tune “Pennies For Your Thoughts, although Sue O’Neal probably would have taken the money haha.

This is a positively WONDERFUL aircheck, lots of fun from the jocks we all know and love dearly… and with a forecast of highs in the 40s…. well, it’s COOL fun for a blistering hot Independence Day in America! So… Happy July 4th, and Happy New Year from 99x New York.

Posted by Steve West | Sue O’Neil, Matt Seinberg, Bobby Rich | no comments

Al Bandiero – Nights | Early 1978

Thanks to Bill James (WEEX Easton PA), we have this excellent scope of the Al Bandiero night show on 99X. Bandiero is the one jock who turned your webmaster on to the radio business – the first jock that captivated me from his days on WKBW.

He owes me an apology!

Posted by Steve West | Al Bandiero, Bill James | 3 comments

Sue O’Neal with Bobby Rich and special guest Ace Frehley | December 31, 1978

Back by request (and because we need to upgrade the old audio to the new player), here’s a GREAT ‘check of Ace Frehley and his dog visiting 99x here on New Year’s Eve! For those who remember, Ace actually did quite well on the air – this was certainly not the first time the Kiss frontman had been on the radio, nor would it be his last… but it sure was memorable!

Posted by Steve West | Sue O’Neil, Ace Frehley, Bobby Rich | no comments

Walt Baby Love on 99X | May 17, 1974

Courtesy of Matt Seinberg, who has donated a lot of 99x material to this site, here’s what sounds like Walt Baby Love’s first show on WXLO. Now, while I can’t confirm it, he makes mention of how good it is to be back in the Big Apple. Nonetheless, this aircheck is less than what we’d expect from this legendary jock.

What you hear, is a whole show built around a promo for the ‘99X Game’. Apparently, the way it worked was that listeners would be called by 99x. The winners who were called would win, but those who submitted the person’s name that was called would win double. Actually, that’s a pretty good game I haven’t heard on the air in a while – any you PD’s wanna resurrect it?

The reason I say it’s less than we’d expect to hear from ol’ Baby Love was that this aircheck, recorded way back in ‘74, could sound like any station today – every mic break the jock mentioning a contest or liner. Not what you’d expect for a station built around screaming jocks and a west-coast “Q” format in the RKO chain. But… there are things you DON’T hear today. For instance, when was the last time anyone heard an FM music station play one song, then one commercial and a contest promo? After EVERY record?

Times have sure changed since 1974!

Posted by Steve West | Matt Seinberg, Walt Baby Love | 10 comments

“Cookin’” Composite | December 1978

Wanna know what a typical broadcast day sounded like on 99X? Here’s one. It starts with Bobby Rich in for Al Bandiero – it’s HOT Top 40 99X-FM Style!

A year later, it would all be over. This was obviously the climax of New York’s first FM success story.

For you closet disco freaks, there’s plenty on this aircheck!

Posted by Steve West | Sue O’Neil, Matt Seinberg, Bobby Rich | no comments

Full Day Composite – 1974

Just discovered in a box of tapes that Matt at Big Apple Airchecks sent me about 4 years ago…. Here’s an entire broadcast day including Jay Thomas, Dick Sloan, Steve “Smokin’” Weed, Paulie and MORE!

All the jocks you remember most, from the station that did it’s best to emulate the REST of RKO General – 99x!

Posted by Steve West | Matt Seinberg, Jay Thomas, Steve “Smokin” Weed, Lee Douglas, Paulie, Mike Wade | no comments

Glenn Morgan | March 1, 1978

Here’s another great aircheck courtesy of our good friend Matt at Big Apple Airchecks! From early ‘78, the disco sounds of 99X. There’s even a few commercials from night guy Al Bandiero here.

Morgan is one of the more subdued jocks on the air during this period, but still, the station is hot and giving WABC a serious run for it’s money.

* Listen! – CLICK HERE!

Posted by Steve West | Matt Seinberg, Glenn Morgan | no comments

Assorted Airchecks 1973-76 by Jerry D.

Here’s a reasonably low-fidelity representation of 99X during it’s heyday. You’ll hear a bit of everything here, including a few short clips of Walt “Baby” Love, the 99x Game and even Bill Drake from early ‘73! (at least it sounds like Drake, or an EARLY Robert W. Morgan promo read)

Click HERE to Listen!

Posted by Steve West | Jerry D | no comments

Mike Wade on FM 99 | June 6, 1980

Here’s Mike Wade playing Oldies on his weekend show. WXLO, by this time is no longer a hot Top 40 station, having flipped to AC in the fall of ‘79. What a difference between this and other airchecks on this site! It was the beginning of the end, as WXLO would be gone within a year in favor of Urban WRKS.

While this is scoped, I’ve left the commercials in. Thanks to Matt of Big Apple Airchecks for this New Year’s gift!

Click HERE to Listen!

Posted by Steve West | Matt Seinberg, Mike Wade | 2 comments

Paulie’s Last Show | August 13, 1977

Brand new, courtesy of Matt Seinberg, here’s Paulie doing her final show on 99X from August of ‘77.

Click HERE to Listen!

Posted by Steve West | Matt Seinberg, Paulie | one comment

PAMS 99x Jingle Montage – 1974

Just in! The original 1974 PAMS 99x Jingles used for many years on WXLO!

Courtesy of Bill DeFelice, we received the entire 9mb package as recorded for 99x way back at the beginning – just after the call letters were changed from WOR-FM! But, rather than just encode the package and let you listen all the way through (it’s rather booooooring), your curator has taken the liberty of getting creative and turning this into a cool montage.

If listening to these cuts doesn’t remind you of WRKO, KHJ, KFRC or other RKO stations… well, you haven’t heard many of them! The RKO sound in New York. It really WAS great. Just dwarfed by WABC and that’s why West Coast top 40 sounded so much different than East Coast.

One important note: Many of these cuts were used in 1974, and it sounds like the station could have been referred to either way, as 98 point X or 99X, almost like station managers were on the fence as to what to do. PAMS included both slogans in this package. And, of course as everyone knows, after 1974, only the one shotgun “99X” cut was used – for about 4 years, ending in either late ‘77 or early ‘78.


Click HERE to Listen!

Posted by Steve West | Jingles | no comments

Jay Thomas with special guest Steve Martin | September 28, 1977 (43:40)

Back to 1977 now, to the Jay Thomas morning show, with Charlie Steiner news and special guest Steve Martin.

As always, your comments are invited by clicking the below link.

Posted by Steve West | Matt Seinberg, Jay Thomas, Steve Martin | one comment

Special Appearance: Elton John AKA “EJ the DJ” with Lee Douglas | 1974 (1:02:22) Scoped

In 1974, 99X welcomed a special guest DJ – Elton John. Apparently EJ the DJ was in the habit of appearing at various radio stations to do this. His lifelong ambition? Perhaps.

This is an absolutely hilarious aircheck. The jock on duty, Lee Douglas, does his best to maintain control – but once Sir Elton John arrives, things quickly disintegrate into one liners about drag queens and other … well you just have to consider the source.

It’s ‘clean’ radio by today’s standards, but the innuendos were VERY edgy for their day. And one wonders why folks like Steve “Smokin’ Weed populated the WXLO studios in the mid-70s. The ‘alphabet’ station had serious competition!


Click HERE to Listen!

Posted by Steve West | Elton John, Matt Seinberg, Lee Douglas | 4 comments

99X Memories: Dan Levine

Dan writes:

“I was in college at the time and home on break (mid to late 70’s) and was very much involved on the campus radio station at the University of Richmond. Stations like 99X and 97DJ were models of how I thought radio should sound: After all they were in New York not “Podunk.”

Anyway I was working with my dad in his stationery business early on a Sunday morning in NYC and was heading home back to Emerson NJ on the bus & train by myself when I decided to stop by 99X to see if I could get a tour of the station. (Early am on a Sunday???) I went up into the building at 1440 Broadway and rang the bell at WXLO. Someone came to the door and I explained that I was a college student involved in the campus radio station etc. and this fellow let me in.

The first thing I noticed was a set of ham radio call numbers on someone’s desk, ‘WB2XLO.’ Well that was music to my ears because I had been a Ham operator for several years or so at that time. What I got next was a full tour of 99X and met “Walt Baby Love!” who was on the air at the time. I left with some neat posters that became wallpaper in my college dorm room. I recently saw them in some photos I had taken.

I must have also been to the station at some other time because I met a DJ called “The Chucker.” I think it must have been his first day on the air: He was amazed that he was actually broadcasting in New York City! He said his previous station out in Iowa somewhere barely had a set of headphones that would work.

I also met newsman J. Paul McGregor who was from WLEE Radio in Richmond, where I went to school. (Small world.)

I worked in radio and TV for about 1 year after graduating from school in Virginia and will never forget my days on the air at WRNL News center 910 in Richmond. My career in broadcasting was cut short, however, for a (real job) which eventually took me back to the New York area but not in broadcasting. As far as radio goes, it’s been a hobby for more than 30 years now.”

– Dan is a ham radio operator, his call sign is WA2CLP. Thanks for your recollections, Dan!

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We welcome your memories of 99X! You can email your story to steve@airchexx.com.

Posted by Steve West | 99X Memories | no comments