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New York

105.1 WRFM flips from Beautiful Music to AC WNSR

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As we proceeded through the 1980’s the older targeting music formats weren’t cutting it anymore. The baby boomers were approaching their thirties and wouldn’t tolerate “Elevator Music” at work. WRFM’s ratings had taken a tumble from Adult Contemporary stations WYNY and WLTW along with fellow Easy Listening WPAT. In order to compensate, on April 15, 1986, WRFM gave way to “New York’s Soft Rock” WNSR. Achieving a solid niche in the AC marketplace, WNSR was partly responsible for driving WPIX and WYNY out of the format. As the 80’s turned into the 90’s, WNSR continued to evolve into a more contemporary station eventually changing its name to “Mix 105”.

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90 Comments


  1. Amen to that!

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  2. When I was a kid growing up in the late ’60s and ’70s, my dad always had WRFM playing on the hi-fi (Stereo 105!).. It was always in the background– Lush music: 101 Strings, Roger Williams, Jackie Gleason Orch, Living Strings, Sinatra, Bennett, Mantovani, Anita Kerr Singers, other vocal groups, an occasional jazz cut.. it was nice music for dinner/relaxation time, and it was part of the evening ritual. For the most part, it was the American Popular Songbook (songs from the ’30s thru the ’50s). It’s too bad there’s fewer and fewer of these radio stations left- people would do well to familiarize themselves with the classic standards. This was real music, unlike what’s on the air today, which I don’t understand and which I cannot tolerate for more than a minute or two before putting on a jazz CD or LP!

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    • It was always played in my parents car in the 70s and 80s. I like it and miss it now that I’m older.

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  3. Hi Everyone 🙂
    I can’t tell you what a joy it is to find this site. I’m 50, my late Mom listened to WRFM for years; it played from morning til night @ our house. I cried when I heard the WRFM segments on YouTube. It’s like my Mom being here with me. I truly wish I had some longer playing broadcasts to listen to, you all were a daily part of my life.

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    • Aww, This is why radio was very powerful back then, hearing the old youtube segments brought me back to before I was born. Your mom still loves you!

      -Rob

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  4. Mary Anne, I’m 47 and this was the radio station of my childhood, too. WPAT broadcasted from my hometown, but my mother preferred RFM, I think because of Jim Aylward’s morning show. I won’t claim I continued to be a fan of Ferrante and Teicher and the Living Strings for long- soon enough, car trips were all about begging Mom for WABC or 99X or PLJ or NEW instead of her “elevator music”- but hearing WRFM clips now brings back wonderful memories of our warm kitchen on cold mornings. I’m fortunate enough to have my mother with me still, and I need to let her know about these online reminiscences!

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    • You DO mean the late ‘NEW-FM, of course. WNEW-AM (which is no longer on the air, either [and I don’t know if your mom also listened to the latter of the two, but WNEW-AM]) was Middle of the Road (traditional pop) with a little Adult Contemporary (soft rock) thrown in and switched to what is now Adult Standards (’30’s and/or ’40’s Big Bands mixed with traditional-pop vocals from said era/eras through the then-present) when you were a teenager.

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  5. I do remember hearing Les Marshak during the transition from the block-programmed WRFM, immediately after its acquisition by its new owners around 1968. Les was on WRFM at least for several months to the best of my recollection. Once the new beautiful music format was installed, he may have left by that time. It was a long time ago and I was an impressionable young high school kid…………but I think I got some of it right.

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  6. Hi all you WRFM fans I just wrote to Wes Richards one of the great D.J.’s and Wes wrote back to me. It was great to hear from one of the WRFM D.J.’s [former}. Steve Farrell

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  7. Wasn’t WHUD known as WLNA Peekskill back in the day? I also remember WVOX 93.5 New Rochelle, not that I remember them doing any kind of BM/ EZ programming. Then there was WLIR Garden City 92.7, which was beautiful music-programmed before going underground rock, the latter programming of which made it a classic FM outlet. You may remember me, Steve…….we wrote years ago and you even sent me a photo of your mom and dad! I was WRFM all the way, but listened to TFM, VNJ and PAT just to poke some fun at them, Just think of it: a steakhouse that contained the studios with an announcer who sounded French but may have been from Brooklyn or Belgium……….take your pick! Charlie DuVal would beckon the ladies to meet “me in my casbah.” I thought the whole WTFM premise was tacky at best, even though they had a legitimate claim to being the first 24-hour stereo FM in 1961. Big whoop! I play loads of beautiful music at St. Thomas Aquinas here in Saint Cloud, and a couple of ladies started spreading the word that it sounded like ‘105.’ Now I took that as the highest compliment.

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  8. I grew up in Maryland, in the 80s and 90s and even though I was a kid I enjoyed listening to WLIF fm 102 in Baltimore and WGAY from Washington DC. Both were outstanding beautiful music stations. Unfortunately LIF has been soft rock/ AC since 1992. A year later we lost GAY to the same format, and WFRE Frederick MD went country. So did WWMD Hagerstown MD. I would like to see these stations return. They had beautiful relaxing soft music as well as 24/7 news and weather every half hour. The DJ’s were great as well. My favorite was Dick Ireland on WLIF. He was on the station 26 years in the mornings. Then the new program director Gary Balaban fired him, because he wanted to change the image of the station that served as Baltimore’s beautiful music station for decades. WGAY Washington DC is now today’s pop Hot 99.5 I hate it. The only beautiful music I can find now is Escape Sirius XM 69, if I have the number correct.

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  9. Yes WLIF was known as the beautiful place in your life. Great soft and relaxing beautiful music, as well as local news, and weather every half hour. Morning and afternoon drives included traffic reports?of course. WGAY fm 99.5 was very similar, but they had a program that ran on Sunday’s 1pm-2pm called matinee at one hosted by the late great Bob Chandler. Both the Baltimore and DC bm stations had excellent programing. I wish they would return, as well as stereo 104.7 WWMD Hagerstown MD, which could generally be heard anywhere in the state of Maryland and parts of Virginia and West Virginia, as well as parts of Pennsylvania with such an amazing signal.

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  10. Plus, you could say that later in its AC era, “Soft Rock 105” (later “FM 105”) WNSR–by that time, “Mix 105” WMXV–was partially responsible for *driving WPAT **INTO** the format*! (WPAT itself having switched to AC in late 1994 (after a gradual change thereto within the previous year and especially the three to six months previous to completing said transition).

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