life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hello, luuuvvv, from the greatest city in the world

Ron Lundy died Monday.

Anyone who grew up in the NYC area in the 60's and 70's knows that Bruce Morrow is everyone's cousin, that Dan Ingram will remind you to "roll your bod" while you're at Jones Beach, that Harry Harrison (the morning mayor) wants you to "unwrap each day like a precious gift." And that Ron Lundy will greet you with a big "hello love" as he broadcasts from "New York, the greatest city in the world."

ah, the heyday of WABC, so successfully recreated on the oldies staiton, CBS-FM.

another piece of my childhood died Monday.

thank you, ron, for all the pleasure you gave your listeners.

Here's the article from the New York Daily News:

Ron Lundy was never one of the flashy boys of radio. But it's no accident he was an anchor on two of the most successful radio stations of the last 50 years.

Lundy died Monday of a heart attack, several weeks after suffering heart failure and a series of strokes. He was 75 and had been retired at his home in Bruce, Miss., since he left WCBS-FM in September 1997.

He had been at WCBS-FM since 1984. Before that, he was the longtime midday jock at the most successful Top 40 radio station ever, WABC, from 1965 until the music died on May 10, 1982.

When he came to New York from St. Louis alongside his pal Dan Ingram, he was one of those transitional radio people who grew up on "announcers" and were now inventing the modern rock jock.

The cowboy style of the early jocks, the Alan Freeds and Dr. Jives, had been reined in by then. With tighter playlists and more managerial "direction," the early 1960s jocks were figuring out how to still have fun and style.

Lundy's first shift at WABC was overnights, where he was "The Swingin' Nightwalker." A February 1966 aircheck available on the New York Radio Message Board shows his style then, and it may surprise some fans of the later Lundy. It's looser, and when he gets to "Baby, Scratch My Back," hilariously suggestive.

But it's the same approach, he said in 1997, that he was taking the day he retired.

"It had to be fun for me," he said. "If it wasn't, how could it be fun for the people listening?"

When he moved to middays on WABC a few months later, he was playing to a different crowd - an earlier version of what today are known as "workplace listeners," who some programmers think just want 45 minutes of nonstop music.

Hosts like Lundy accommodated that smoother pace while trying to keep it fun - a style continued today by jocks like Bob Shannon of WCBS-FM, a Lundy colleague who yesterday did a lovely hour-long tribute.

WCBS-FM built itself into the country's definitive oldies station in the '80s and '90s by capturing much of the WABC lineup and sound.

But at the same time, going back to the late '60s, another style of rock jocking was also emerging - not just Imus and Stern, but free-formers and the ancestors of today's morning shows.

Lundy alluded to that when he retired in 1997. Nothing against it, he said, but it just wasn't his style. Time to let the young'uns take the microphone.

But what he did wasn't forgotten.

"What you heard on the air was just who Ron was," said colleague Bruce Morrow yesterday. "He was nice, he was gentle, he was a professional. There aren't enough people like that, and I will miss him."




2 comments:

Suzanne said...

My fellow radio brethren from the college station were inspired by those jocks on WABC to the point that we made similarly styled drop ins with our names.

Ron Lundy was one of those who made radio broadcasting seem like the coolest job in the world.

What a sad day.

songbird's crazy world said...

Suzanne, i knew you'd respond to this....it is so sad, isn't it?

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