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[By Robb Pirraglia]
In the summer of 2003 these United States celebrate their 227th birthday, a blink of the eye in the history of the world. In that short time, the wonderful folklore of this country has always fascinated me; they are the stories that every person in every city and town has heard and can recite. Mythic tales of George Washington crossing the Delaware, Davey Crockett going to Washington and Abraham Lincoln debating Stephen Douglas in the streets of Illinois.
In the summer of 2003 radio station WHTZ/Newark quietly celebrates its 20th birthday. What American folklore is to the fabric of our culture, Z100 is to the makeup of the broadcast industry. Everyone in or informed about this industry is familiar with the beginnings and successes of the station. Z100's symbols; the giant inflated gorilla and the lighting bolt logo. Z100's catch phrases; Serving the Universe, Hot Rockin' Flamethrowin' Hits, From the top of the Empire State Building and of course, the story behind it; the sleepy suburban New York FM moves its tower to the Empire, and at 6:08am August 2nd 1983,
Scott Shannon plays Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. As one of the original sweepers stated, "The new way to spell hits in New York, W-H-T-Z!"
The sound of Z100 is reflected in some way in the presentation of just about every radio station of every format in every city. There is no question the presentation, the talent and the impact on hundreds of millions of New Yorkers over the past two decades is immeasurable. Z100 is the standard by which all other radio stations are measured; the station is almost like a living breathing entity in itself. I can at least speak for myself when I say I never felt as though I worked for Z100, I jocked on Z100; an experience all those who have been a part of the station on air or otherwise can attest to.
Okay, so first let me say that no one jock got any more audio time than any other (with the intentional exception of Scott Shannon) it was based on what I had, more or less all of it edited into these 80 mins of audio. Also, I am aware of some jocks who I couldn't dig any tape up on and I am sure there are many swing folks who were in and out over the years too and while not included in this very brief retrospective of 20 years of "Hit Radio" their contributions to the history of the greatest FM music station of all time is immeasurable.
Note the contest promos featuring original Z staffer JR Nelson and current Z production voice Dave Foxx; traffic from Valerie and news from Claire Stevens and Jeff Younge.
Last, the present airstaff was not included because current station composites exist and this is a look back at years gone by. Soooooooo...
Compiled here is just a sample of the magic that is Z100, compiled for Production Director Hal Knapp in 2003; from a humble beginning during the original "worst to first campaign"; to the glory days; Its shift to modern; and its second rise to the top. While every person who has been a part of it leaves a mark (or else they would not have been there) only a cross section of personalities, promotions and features are heard here.
I hope everyone who enjoys this piece courtesy of REELRADIO will get the same thrill and shout "Oh Man!" when some of these liners and breaks come blasting out of your speakers. Happy Birthday Z100, and many more! You are truly an all-American original!
PLAY THE ENTIRE FEATURE ABOVE, OR INDIVIDUAL PORTIONS BELOW
Best of Chio The Hitman Nights 1992-1994 (2:00)
Best of Jack Da Wack Nights/Late Nights 1983-1992 (2:29)
Best of Hollywood Hamilton Late Nights 1983-1987 (2:00)
1993 Composite: Ross & Gary/Human Numan/Elvis Duran (3:40)
Kid Kelly Top of the Hour ID 1993 (00:20)
Robby Bridges and the Beastie Boys 2002 (00:30)
Z100 Modern Rock Imaging 1994/1995 (1:10)
Best of John Lander & Zoo Crew Mornings 1993-1995 (1:35)
Best of Chris Jagger & Dr. Judy Lovephones 1993-1996 (3:10)
Weekends/Promos JJ '84/Pat McKay'86/Joe Davis'87/Adam Curry'89 (6:10)
Best of Susan Leigh Taylor Middays 1986-1989 (1:47)
Best of Scott Shannon PD/Mornings 1983-1989 (5:00) *includes station sign on
Best of The Shadow OM/Afternoons 1983-1987; Middays 1991 (4:40)
Jack Da Wack Nightshow 1987 (3:25)
Hollywood Hamilton Late Night Shift 1984 (2:50) *from Voulo Video
Original Z Morning Zoo Crew with Scott & Ross Sep 10, 1983 (12:03)
Best of Paul Cubby Bryant Afternoons 1996-present (5:20)
Best of Lisa Taylor Middays 1996-2001 (1:32)
Best of Kid Kelly Nights/Late Nights 1989-1994; OM/Nights 1997-2001 (5:30)
Kid Kelly Nightshow 1990 (3:40) *from California Aircheck Video
Elvis Duran Afternoon Drive 1990 Afternoons/Mornings 1989-present (3:40)
Classic Z with Skinny Bobby Middays 1985; Magic Matt Afternoons 1987 (1:45)
Best of The Jammer Late Nights 1987-1989 (2:19)
Best of Robby Bridges Late Nights/Weekends 2002 (2:30)
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