Recently, I was thinking of my old favorite radio station, 1560 WQEW, the home of American popular standards.
I'd wake up on Saturdays with Jonathan Schwartz (or was it Stan Martin?) on the alarm clock radio playing nothing but Frank Sinatra and not want to get out of bed. For Frank’s 80th birthday, they played a non-stop, weekend-long tribute. “Sinatra all the way and then some, from ‘A Baby Just Like You’ to ‘Zing Went the Strings of My Heart.’ Brought to you by Harvey's Bristol Cream.”
In the evenings, you might hear big bands or some gloomy thing by Peggy Lee to serenade you while you ironed your shirts or had a drink or just looked out the window at the snow coming down, which it always seemed to be doing in my memory of listening to WQEW.
Sometimes I'd tune in on my little 1959 Granco with the tubes you have to wait for to warm up, and that would enhance the mood.
The station didn't last long. It was sold to the Walt Disney Company for children's programming in 1998. I was heartbroken and enraged--it was happening at the same time that Disney was taking over Times Square and the world I loved felt like it was ending.
According to Rock Radio Scrapbook, "The last song played before Radio Disney format was 'Stardust' by Nat King Cole."
Somewhere I've got a bunch of cassettes from when I obsessively taped the last days of the broadcast so I could keep listening to it after it had vanished. I listened to those tapes for awhile, then I stopped. Jonathan Schwartz is over at WNYC now, but I don't listen to music on the radio anymore. My alarm clock is set to the news.
Go back in time as you spend 41 minutes with the vanished New York station here--who will recall Mason Williams' "Classical Gas"? And stay tuned for the depression medication-study advertisement (Do you constantly worry, feel guilty or hopeless? You might qualify!):