WELCOME TO WRKL.ORG The WRKL Radio tribute website
'Keep it on the R'
This is the WRKL Tribute Site, but... First, a word about WRCR radio. WRCR is fighting for its life. WRCR is the only remaining local radio station in Rockland County. If you don't know the story, read Robert Brum's article in the Journal News, from November 21, 2018.
The Great WRKL Tower Collapse is now on its own page, here.
Nice pictures. Hey! Farmer's Insurance... ever seen anything like this?
WRKL's 50th Anniversary was in 2014. In case you missed it, there's a special 50th anniversary page. It includes the 1969 WRKL album, "The Impossible Dream".
Whatever happened to WRKL?
From July 4, 1964 until March 18, 1999, WRKL was Rockland County, New York's community radio station. Locally owned for over 30 years, the station was sold to Odyssey Communications at the end of 1994. The new owners phased out the station's MOR music programming and replaced it with a combination of local and syndicated talk programs. When the company decided it would rather build an empire of small FM stations than run WRKL, the station was put up for sale. A buyer was found in September 1998, and Polnet Communications took over ownership of WRKL on March 19,1999. Their programming was in Polish, and still is today. These pages celebrate what was WRKL for its first (almost) 35 years.
On August 7, 2018, Steve Possell did some reminiscing with a couple of his fellow alumni from WRKL on his wrcr.com morning show. Here's Steve with Bob Marshall, Dave Saviet and Mark Hanok (honestly, how do you get rid of that guy??). Check out "The Bad Old Days at WRKL". Thanks to Jeff Lewis for the audio.
On this page are the SOUNDS OF WRKL. Links to R other pages, with pictures, archives and more R at the bottom of this page.
Most files are now mp3's.
Let's begin at the beginning, with WRKL's First Broadcast from July 4, 1964 at 9:10 AM. What you hear is the voice of WRKL founder Al Spiro, as recorded in New York City. The original recording made at the station that day was destroyed in the fire of July 22, 1967. Presumably the WRKL "theme" preceeded Al's opening remarks.
After the station's trailers were burned to the ground in that 7/22/67 arson fire, the station returned to the air on July 27, 1967. Here are Spiro's comments opening that day's Hotline program. (above 2 excerpts taken from the WRKL "Impossible Dream" LP)
All good things come to an end, and WRKL as we knew it did too, on March 18, 1999 at 3:00 PM. Norman Garfield delivered the closing remarks that day, and gave the final station I.D. (courtesy of Neil Richter)
Listen to the WRKL Theme, heard on the station at sign-on and sign-off for its first 30 years.
MISCELLANEOUS SPOTS, PROMOS, I.D.'s & WHATEVER
Freddy Mertz--a very entertaining guy who's probably worked at more radio stations than you've ever listened to--had a run on WRKL in the mid-1990's. Here are a couple of clips from September 1996, furnished by Scott Salotto. Freddy & Bagels Freddy & Suffern Mayor George Parness talking after a water main break in that village
From Andy Blecher, this aircheck from a Saturday morning in 1995. Andy does a lot of crosstalk with news anchor Melissa Exelberth, something the program director told him to stop doing, after hearing this broadcast. Andy says that didn't stop him, and in fact he used this aircheck to help land a radio job in Phoenix. Take that, Phil! Andy & Melissa - 1995
Here are a couple of old sound files, recently contributed by Mike DeMeo.
A WRKL Signoff from the summer of 1966, as best as we can figure. The voice is that of Bob Fitzsimmons. Bob reads the signoff, talks about a dance that evening at Letchworth Village's Kirkbride Hall, and goes over the station lineup for the next day.
He mentions Pete Brooks, Frank Wallace, Al Spiro, Big Daddy (aka George Dacre), Lance Lovely, and Hotsy Totsy. According to ex-WRKL-er Steve Possell, on summer evenings when the station didn't sign off until 8:30, Bob would play Broadway showtunes from 6:30 to 7 PM, hosting under the name Lance Lovely. Bob talks up the intro to the station theme, and then the transmitter is turned off just before the theme finishes!
Also from sometime in 1966 comes another file, the WRRC Signoff. WRRC/1300 was the competition. Their signoff this night was read by Dick Thomas, and includes a generic jingle.
LIVE FROM MT. IVY, IT'S SATURDAY MORNING!!(1980-1983)
NYC had Saturday Night Live. Mt. Ivy had SATURDAY MORNING. Steve Roy started it in 1980; taking a looser, more humorous approach than the station's usually old-fashioned presentation. Here, Christopher Cross opens up the first half-hour of 2/13/82. The very next half hour, it's back to the 60's with Jan & Dean. In spite of the liberties which were taken with the station's format on Saturday mornings, one staple remained, the award-winning WRKL newscasts. A full 1/2 hour of news at 7AM, as teased by Jeff Baker, subbing for Steve Roy that morning. Also from that 2/13/82 aircheck are a Nanuet Mall spot and a Welcome Wagon spot. That Nanuet Mall spot, besides having too much copy for the donut, shouldn't have run that morning; it promoted a show which had ended the day before! Tim Scheld is heard with the news following the spot. Tim's now with WCBS Radio. You've gotta love the inclusion of the "Celsius" temperature reading!! Neil Mazur is the voice at the end of the Welcome Wagon spot. Neil is currently Chief Engineer at Fox5 in Atlanta, WAGA-TV. Everybody got into SATURDAY MORNING, including newsman Scheld. Here, it's time for the latest weather, with the special Saturday morning weather announcer introducing meterologist Mark Hanok (heard these days on WRCR-AM1700). In a 1981 clip, Steve Roy goes a round with the latest weather announcer. Later, as newsman Rich Komonchak closes out an exhaustive 35 minute newscast, Roy realizes he forgot something. That's right, the latest weather announcer, again. This became a regular occurance. Here's another . The latest weather announcer was just one of the "regulars" on Steve's Saturday morning show. Another was Lyle Dean, the former ABC Radio newsman with the 3-ball voice, heard here as a pitch man for Suffern's Good Samaritan Hospital, in this Useful Message. What do you do when a pre-recorded liner doesn't know when to quit? Roy handles it with his usual diplomacy. As for how the "Keep It On The R" was woven into the format, Roy gives an example. Here Steve weaves in several of the Saturday Morning regulars, including one of the "hoots" (don't ask) and Bob Marvin, as he heads towards the news. In another Steve Roy clip, Steve has difficulty with a Farenheit-to-Celsius conversion. Dan Duprey voices the WRKL Christmas Appeal promo, as heard on Saturday morning 12/5/81. Also included is a sponsor testimonial. Roy plugs the upcoming 35-minute Saturday morning 7 AM news. And here, a familiar-sounding intern is given an on the air tryout.
FROM THE RKL NEWSROOM
Not much remains in the way of audio from the award-winning WRKL news department, but here are a few clips. First, an excerpt from what was probably the 1975 "Year End Report", by news director John Russell. And here's a wrap by reporter Rich Mendelson on East Ramapo school lunches, from early 1976. Fast-forward to January 1980. This is the opening of an 11 AM newscast with Lori Siegel. The top story is the economy. 13.3% inflation, a 15% prime rate. Ahh, the good old days.
Sean Adams found this recording of the top of the WRKL 5 PM Evening News from Novemeber 27, 1996. It fades after about 4 minutes, and the commercials were taken out but here it is. Scott Salotto dug up some of his work from 1997. Here's a composite of at least 2 morning newscasts from August '97. In the news, a county corrections officer sentenced, the Palisades Center Mall under construction, Medicare premiums, plus Cliff Cole's traffic & Mark Hanok's weather. Jared Kindestin checked in with this audio from '98. First, he's topping a noon newscast live on the scene of a daylight bank robbery in Nanuet. Next he wraps St. Anthony's 100th anniversary, then anchors an afternoon cast. Note that in its final days, WRKL was Rockland 910.
BOB MARVIN MATERIAL
Bob Marvin coined the phrase, "This land is Rock-land" back in 1977. Off the air, he was none other than General Manager Mort Siegel. He ran WRKL for over 18 years.
A brief dissertation we call Selling Radio. Required listening for all radio sales wannabes.
Here at the MAIN PAGE of the KIOTR website we feature the sounds of WRKL. But you ain't seen nothin' yet. Make your visit complete by stopping by the rest of the KIOTR pages:
Photos of the R: equipment & people A look at the construction and additional equipment necessary to make WRKL a 24 hour facility Things of historical significance; licenses, logs, newspaper r-ticles, more The WRKL Alumni page. Can you help fill in some of the blanks? The rise and fall of the R Whether you were a listener or an employee, share your WRKL memories, and see who's checking in Note: The Message Board is hosted at another site, unaffiliated with wrkl.org. We are simply providing the link. Clicking the link will open the Message Board in a new browser page.
But wait, there's more. While on the web, visit:
The New York Radio Memories website, a treasure trove of N.Y. area radio memorabilia and links # indicates material provided by Scott Salotto. We're always posting additional files, but for now, Bob Marvin has THE LAST WORD
HELP!! We're looking for additional material for the site. Got an audio tidbit? Printed material? Pictures? Write us!