For the last nine years, my friends Bruce and Jeff invited me to a party they put together every year for radio and music enthusiasts in New York City. For one reason or another, I didn't have the chance to attend. This year, for the ninth annual party, I decided it was time to go. I had enough vacation time left, so it was easy to get the day off from work.
The one big reason I wanted to go was that radio sister number one, Sue O'Neal, was going to be there. I haven't seen Sue in a long time, but we always stayed in touch by email and phone. It's still not the same as a big hug and hello.
Sue O’Neal has a very impressive radio resume, having worked at the following stations; WVBF-FM Boston, WTIC-FM and WKCI-FM in Connecticut, WGCL-FM in Cleveland, OH, along with WXLO-FM 99X, WKTU-FM, WPLJ-FM, WTJM-FM, WQHT-FM Hot 97, WNEW-FM Mix 102.7 and WCBS-FM (twice!) in New York City. Sue has been a steady presence on the New York radio dial since her debut, 17 March 1978, on 99X. I remember that date because it was St. Patrick's Day!
I didn't tell Sue that I was attending the party, since I wanted to surprise her. I wanted to see the look on her face when she saw me. I certainly got the look I wanted, along with a big hug and kiss. Later, I found out from my air check friend, John, he had told her I was coming. Oh well, I still got the reaction I wanted.
That morning before I left the house, I made Sue O’Neal an mp3 CD of her air checks I collected, over the years. You see, Sue doesn't keep anything of herself; when she needed something, I always heard from her. Now, she has most of it herself. There are still a few stations, she worked, which I don't have in her collection. I will track them down and make that second CD.
I connected with my friend, Keith Allen, the former afternoon DJ on WBZO-FM B103, Long Island, when I found out he was going. I asked him if I could get a ride into the city with him. I knew that would give us some time to talk and catch up on what we had been up to the last few months.
I also wanted to see my friend Mary, who I hadn't seen in ten years, since the WNBC-AM/WYNY Reunion, and her friend Linda, who had provided me with some great air checks over the years. I hadn't seen Bruce since 2004 either, though I had kept in touch with all of them through Facebook. Bruce's friend Jeff helps him put together these events, so I wanted to meet him as well.
I arranged another surprise: having Jessie Scott, formerly of WHN-AM and WNBC-AM, stop by. I had bribed her by promising a WHN air check that she probably didn't have. When she showed up, there was another round of hugs and smiles!
I introduced her to Keith, Jeff, Bruce and anyone else around the area. We finally got our lunch order in, and Jessie started to regal us with tales of her days on the radio. Jeff and Keith were in awe, as was I. Jessie told me about her storage locker in Parsippany, NJ where she has boxes of tapes stored. I guess we'll have to make a date to explore that locker.
The highlight to the party was hearing Louise Murray, formerly of “The Hearts” and “Jaynetts” "Gee Whiz." WOW, talk about putting the cherry on top of the cake! She belted out that song as if she was doing it for the first time!
I can't wait for the party next year!
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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