THE DOWNFALL OF 

" THE WMCA GOOD GUYS"

 

The unofficial demise of the WMCA "Good Guys" started on Wednesday,9/18/68, (though underlining rumblings were already there with the change in management. In early August 1968, Terrell Methrney Jr. was named program director, replacing Ruth Ann Meyer who had programmed WMCA since 1961)when after 3 & years, Gary Stevens left WMCA to go to Europe. Gary had been a WMCA Good Guy since 4/8/65, which made him the longest nighttime personality since the WMCA "Good Guys" began. On the surface, that may have not have been so bad, because B. Mitchell Reed, who was an evening Good Guy for 2 years prior to Gary Stevens arrival from Detroit, left (3/25/65)- and the Good Guys survived. Music industry executives and recording artists got together for a going away party for Gary Stevens at the Americana Hotel. Tickets were $20 and were available through Joe Bogart or Frank Costa at WMCA. All proceeds from the luncheon went go to the Westchester County youth organization.

ONLY THREE DAYS later(9/21/68), Harry Harrison left WMCA only to start at, of all places, RIVAL WABC that following Monday(9/23/68). Harry had perceived a change happening at WMCA months before with the new management. So, even though he had a year left on his contract, he asked WMCA management if he could be released from his contract, and they reluctantly obliged. At this point, it seemed like things were changing every week. The very next survey to come out, (9/25/68),no longer had the "Sure-Shot" or the "Long-Shot". "Sure-Shot's" were now classified as "Pick Hits. Then the week after (10/2/68), The phrase "Heard first on WMCA" was no longer being used,and the survey title was changed from the "Fabulous 57" to the "Famous 57". By the end of November(11/27/68), the survey was reduced from 57 to 25 songs, with an additional "Five More Heavies", and a pick hit called the WMCace. The sweatshirts were gone at this point too. WMCA program director Terrell Metheny Jr made changes to the sound of WMCA. No longer did "Benny" appear with Joe O'Brien and the WMCA disc jockeys no longer voted on new records added to the playlist. In fact, the weekly WMCA music meetings disappeared all together. Metheny picked the music with Bogart and Costa. Metheny also dumped the "Good Guys" schtick and moved out all the sweat shirts left-over from years of promotion. Interestingly, Metheny also dumped the "Good Guys" while PD at another station - WKLO in Louisville. About the music, Metheny said the DJ's were to have more freedom in pacing records through their shows. In the past, Bogart and Costa would program each show. Metheny stated- "We're playing the same music, more or less, except that we're trying to make the station a little faster in reflecting the popularity of individual records. WMCA was late going on some records and late going off others. We're going to try to be more immediate." WMCA's playlist was shortened considerably. The station also brought in Murray the K(11/2/68) to do 6PM-11PM on Saturday and 2PM-7PM Sunday. To make matters worse, Joe O'Brien left WMCA sometime late that November also. Dean Anthony (who did 1-6 AM)'s contract was not renewed. His last show was 12/31/68. So, by the beginning of January 1969, four of your seven core Good Guys(Gary Stevens, Harry Harrison, Joe O'Brien and Dean Anthony the ones who were pictured on the 9/10/68 survey) were gone. The station no longer called themselves the "Good Guys" Dean Anthony was replaced by Ed Baer and Ed Baer was replaced by the assistant program director, Buzz Bennett. As for Joe O'Brien, he started with WNBC at the beginning of the new year in 1969(1/6/69). He stayed doing the 5-9AM morning show from that time until November of 71 when Imus was brought in to replace him(11/29/71). He remained with the station for several months thereafter doing weekends. The revised line up was as follows: Dandy Dan did 6-10 AM, Chuck(the Chucker)Browning did 10AM-1PM, Jack Spector did 1PM-4PM, Lee Gray 4PM-7PM and Frankie Crocker did 7PM-11PM. There were so many things happening at the station that fall it was hard to keep track.

WMCA BECOMES POWER RADIO IN APRIL OF 1969


WMCA became Power Radio on Monday, 4/14/69.


This ad appeared in the Daily News 4/14/69

Ed Baer & Jack Spector were let go in April 69(Sunday 4/13/69 being their last shows). From 10pm-10am WMCA was talk & from 10am-10pm they played music. Talk shows included Dominic Quinn doing AM drive.  Alex Bennett & Leon Lewis were alternating the overnights. Barry Gray's late night show remained in tact. With WMCA being talk from 10PM to 10AM with Chuck Browning, Dan Daniel & Frankie Crocker playing music the remaining hours. Lee Gray switched back & forth from talk host to DJ.

POWER RADIO DIDN'T LAST LONG

Power Radio ended when WMCA decided to make one last run at the Good Guy format that summer. Slowly, the old format was being brought back. The survey for 7/2/69 was called "WMCA Radio 57" instead of "Radio WMCA Music Report". The survey during the week of 7/30/69 saw the return of the Top 57, along with "The Sure Shot" and "The Long Shot". The station began bringing back as many of the guys as they could.  Ed Baer was the first back and he was brought in to replace Chuck Browning. This occurred around mid July of 1969. The departure of Chuck Browning and return of Ed Baer was especially  interesting. Chuck disappeared one summer morning and they played music with no jock for about an hour and a half. Then Ed Baer appeared in the middle of the mid-day shift. The understanding is that he was a few blocks from the station when he somehow got the call that they needed him in a hurry. Jack Spector returned on September 6th. of 1969.


This ad appeared in the Daily News 9/11/69

The station dismissed Dominic Quinn who was hosting a 6-10AM morning show (which was a phone in talk show) during the first week of Sept.69, then Dandy Dan took over the morning show. The show was being billed as Dandy Dan with Newsman Michael O'Neill. Jack Spector was back, or so the promotion went, as Jack took over the 2-6 afternoon drive time slot. Jack had to get out of a commitment with WNBC which had started to list him as their early evening host. Alex Bennett did a music show on Saturday from 6-11 during the late 69, early 70 period. Later, Dean Anthony was added to their Sunday line-up and for a very brief period, Bill Beamish also returned doing the 6-10AM show on Sunday. Lee Gray left around this time too. Ed Baer did middays until July 11th. of 1970 when Dan Daniel left and then Ed Baer switched to mornings for the last two months of their music format. Johnny Michaels was brought in to replace Dan Daniel in the final days of WMCA as a music station. He took over the 10AM-2PM slot while Ed Baer was moved to 6AM- 10AM. This all happened in July of 70. To show you the way things have changed with respect to radio contests, WMCA ran a contest on the air to see if anyone could name the newest Good Guy, the prize was $5.70. Johnny was the next to last DJ on the station. The station played music through the early part of September 1970, though in August, it was announced that WMCA was going talk.


This article appeared in the N.Y. Times 8/25/70

WMCA SWITCHED TO TALK AS "DIAL-LOG RADIO57" SEPTEMBER 21st. 1970.

The switchover actually took place at 11PM on Sunday(9/20/70), right after the Frankie Crocker show. Johnny did the 2PM-7PM shift that day. Jack Spector stayed on to do a one hour sports show and Ed Baer remained with the station on a part time basis.

 


Acknowledgments:I'd like to thank the following people for contributing to this article: Bob Gale, Joseph M., Gary Liebish, John Belfi, Peter Kanze & Vince Santarelli. But most especially Allan Sniffen(who, if it was not for his New York Radio Message Board, & WMCA Surveys the accumulation of this information would not have been possible).
Most of this information is available on the WMCA web site in one form
or another, I just did some embellishments.


 

LONG LIVE THE MEMORY OF THE GOOD GUYS!

{Home} Page last updated 04/05/2019  First posted 9/18/1998

E-mail John at PORCAROCPU@Aol.com