12/12/13 3:30pm
12/12/2013 3:30 PM
FLICKR PHOTO/cogdogblog

FLICKR PHOTO/cogdogblog

Personality. There used to be a lot of it in local radio. It wasn’t just about the music, but the jocks, the people between the tracks. They shopped at the same stores we did. Went to the same clubs. We drove by their offices. They were like pals. The “people” were what differentiated the stations from the mix tapes.

Michael White, editor

Michael White

There was plenty of news to be had as well. WGBB, for instance, was one of the biggest players in the Long Island news game, I’m told. Based in Merrick, the AM station had a packed newsroom in the 1970s, long before Channel 12 or the Internet.

“Election night was always a long haul,” recalled former WGBB newsman Gary Lewi. “We were logging 23-hour days but for us we were at the center of the action. The station only had 1,000 watts, but with the population density the way it was, you had an audience.”

Gary has fond memories of working with guys like Ed Grilli and Larry Barr. The three called their little news crew “Lewi’s Barr & Grilli.”

But something happened in the early 1980s that changed the landscape. Those in broadcasting know it as deregulation. (more…)

11/18/13 7:00am
11/18/2013 7:00 AM

The longtime East End classic rock station WRCN 103.9 FM is changing its format to Long Island news, the News-Review has learned.

The station, which has been in operation since 1962 and once broadcast from the old Flanders Drive-in on Flanders Road and the current Digger site on West Main Street, plans to rebrand as LI News Radio 103.9 FM Dec. 26. The format change was first reported Friday on several radio blog sites.

The news/talk station will focus on “local news, traffic and weather,” according to reports, but will also feature talk from local radio personalities Jay Oliver and John Gomez, former LIPA president Kevin Law and former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, according to multiple reports. Though it’s not local, the Sean Hannity Show will also be broadcast on the station, according to reports.

The frequency is currently broadcasting Christmas music and will jump straight to the Long Island news format the day after Christmas, according to John Caracciolo of JVC Media, which owns the station and several other popular Long Island radio stations, including the Spanish-language 98.5, Country 96.1 and Party 105.3.

“Long Islanders are starving for local news and information,”  Mr. Caracciolo wrote on his Facebook page this week. “Why should we have to wait 22 minutes to hear about the world when all we really want is Islip to Southampton?”

“We deserve a 24 hour, 7 day a week free source for local news and information,” his statement continues. “Let’s face it – If News 12 and Newsday don’t cover a local story from your community or report on an event that is important to you – where do you go to get that information? We need a media outlet dedicated to just us, all of us.”

Mr. Caracciolo said JVC Media decided on the format change after consulting with “partners, friends and clients.”

JVC Media, which signed a five-year agreement to manage and operate Brookhaven Town’s Pennysaver Amphitheater in March 2012, had previously  expressed an interest in moving back to downtown Riverhead in 2011.

gparpan@timesreview.com