ORIGINAL LP COVER NOTES|
By Jerry Hopkins
It's 1960 and the CRUISIN' series goes to WKBW in Buffalo, New York, where Dick Biondi exercised one of the most powerful sets of lungs in pop radio. Good old screaming Dick Biondi "the wild Eye-trallan, the supersonic spaghetti slurper" (his own description), a man who could read at random from the real estate classifieds and make it sound like headlines for Armageddon. He went to Memphis and picked leaves from Elvis Presley's lawn, awarding them to his listeners. On holidays the "Big Noise from Buffalo" devoted three hours to telephone greetings from the top recording stars. Daily he joked with his radio pals and hollered at his listeners. He read commercials in a high-pitched shriek, dedicated songs to everybody's certaln someone in a breathless, lurching wail that traveled seventeen Eastern states. (Mail came from as far away as Havana and Greenland.) And he ate peanut butter and sauerkraut pizzas on the air and told knock-knock jokes so corny they made you suffer. Almost half of the Buffalo audience was his. It was listen to Biondi, or else.
In a way it was as if Biondi were trying to pump some enthusiasm and excitement into a scene that was sagging pitifully. In 1960 the Congressional payola probe continued; in Philadelphia alone twenty-eight disc jockeys were canned.
Historically the scene was equally mixed. (As usual.) The French joined the nuclear club by exploding an A-bomb in the Sahara, Francis Gary Powers and his U-2 reconnaissance plane went down in the Soviet Union. (President Eisenhower got caught in a lie when he said he didn't know anything about the U-2s.) Adolf Eichmann was captured in Argentina. Cuba began confiscating Amerlcan-owned factories on the Island. After spending twelve years on Death Row, Caryl Chessman was executed. The first sit-in was held in a Woolworth's in North Carolina. And John Kennedy was elected President.
Other events of the year (some headlined, some unrecognized publicly): Pittsburgh took the World Serles from the Yankees ... George Martin (who'd later produce records for the Beatles) was named to EMI's artist and repertoire staff ... Allen Drury's "Advise and Consent" was given a Pulitzer Prize ... "The Apartment" (starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray) got the Oscar for best picture ... and Bob Dylan was a freshman named Robert Zimmerman at the University of Minnesota.
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Dick Biondi - WKBW BUFFALO, CRUISIN' 1960 (42:14)
The original Cruisin series was conceived and produced by Ron Jacobs. The "airchecks" on CRUISIN' were not actual broadcasts, rather, they were masterful re-creations featuring legendary air talent.
Our thanks to RJ for making this classic material available to REELRADIO.
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Copyright 1970, 2008, 2009 Ronald H. Jacobs