Harry Harrison's Good-Bye From The Bergen Record


The Times They Are A Changing

A Good Guy Signs Off

The day the music died—again. That could be what CBS-FM Radio listeners thought of when the station, after 33 years, abruptly changed formats on June 3. It was a move that shocked their audience, the radio community and all of us who worked there.

“101.1” was their station, with pleasant, friendly air personalities. Management apparently didn’t want the listeners who grew up with the WMCA Good Guys and the WABC All-Americans. They wanted “Jack,”, the name of a new format with no deejays, no news, no weather, no sports. It’s an iPod-like mix of music that they feel will appeal to a younger audience.

However, Motown, Elvis, Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys and all the other great artists who were heard on 101.1 were loved an appreciated by all our loyal listeners, including young people.

And what about today’s kids? There certainly are enough stations playing modern and recent hits. But if teenagers today must live in a radio universe where there is no longer a place where they can discover the harmonies and rhythms of The Beatles, Dion and the Belmonts, The Temptations, The Shirelles, it will be a sadder and lonelier place. And they will be missing a world of music that has not only touched so many of us for so many years but that is timeless as well.

I’m proud to say that I was a “Good Guy” on WMCA and an All-American on WABC during those great Sixties and Seventies music years. Then I was the CBS “Morning Mayor” for 23 more years. I left in 2003 when I was told changes were on the way. I came back late last year for a Saturday morning show.

The music we played at CBS was very personal to our listeners. They often describe it as the music of their lives. I don’t think that Infinity, which owns CBS, realized the gem it had – or the backlash the switch would create. Stories in newspapers, on the radio, television, and the Internet are reporting the change and controversy. It’s not going away soon.

It’s sad to think that the New York City-Northern Bergen County region doesn’t have a single oldies station with popular personalities where you can always “Come and get those memories” as Martha and the Vandellas sang on their first hit in 1963.

I thank all our listeners whom I call my friends, for keeping me on the air so long and allowing us to be a part of their lives for so many years. I always appreciated you.

Remember, every brand new day should be unwrapped like a precious gift.

This is Harry Harrison, wishing you all the very best, because that’s exactly what you deserve.

[John F. Porcaro's Radio History Pages]