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Goodbye Love. The passing of Ron Lundy.

032008_tube_radio77 WABC/New York was a powerhouse in top 40 radio in the 60s and one its stars was mid-day disc jockey Ron Lundy, who began each show with his trademark, “Hello Love”. He was a fixture at WABC for 17 years from 1965-1982 primarily sandwiched between morning man Harry Harrison and afternoon drive jock Dan Ingram. After WABC changed formats in 1982 to all-talk (a sad day in radio) Lundy went over to New York “Oldies” station WCBS-FM where again he was the mid-day jock from 1984 until his retirement in 1997. He passed away recently on March 15 at the age of 75.

Jocks of the 60s are obviously aging and many are in failing health and have died. What’s sadder than their death is the loss of a connection to a period where AM stations and their jocks were stars in their own right, and stations like powerhouse 77 WABC, were the portal to the hits of the era. The Beatles, Stones, Who, Beach Boys, et al all owed the Ron Lundys and the top 40 stations of the era their gratitude. Unlike today, AM radio made hits. Music broke on AM radio, and the children of the 60s (including yours truly) bought their 45s of the latest hits (PS I still have hundreds of 45s and don’t know what to do with them).

I admit that I actually kept my own personal list of top 20 songs, based on my own preferences,  and changed my own top 20 each Tuesday night because that’s when Cousin Brucie announced WABC’s new top 20.

This all seems so distant now, and hardly relevant to today’s music delivery. Radio is no longer the primary delivery mechanism for new music, nor do 45s even exist. And for the most part, with a few exceptions, the DJ is no longer the “star”.

Nothing stays the same in media and in life, but I am at least grateful for having heard Ron Lundy and WABC during the hey-day of top 40 radio. The group Everclear’s 2000 ode to the era called AM Radio, said it well, the first verse of which is as follows:

AM Radio by Everclear
The VCR and the DVD
There wasn’t none of that crap back in 1970
We didn’t know about a world wide web
It was a whole different game being played back when I was a kid
Wanna get down in a cool way
Picture yourself on a beautiful day
Big bell bottoms and groovy long hair
Just walkin’ in style with a portable cd player
No, you would listen to the music on the AM radio
Yeah, you could hear the music on a AM radio.

Thanks for bringing us the hits, Ron.

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