WBLI-FM

In the 70s, radio was still the way we received most of our music, especially away from home. And, if the hits were what you wanted to listen to, WBLI was probably your choice, thanks to its strong signal that was crystal clear throughout Long Island.

Let’s take a look back at the station that provided much of the soundtrack of the 70s to local listeners.

WBLI-FM, located at 106.1 on the radio dial first emerged in 1971, replacing WPAC-FM. They originally broadcast from a trailer before moving to the Wedgewood Building on Main St. in Patchogue, and later from a custom building in Medford.

The station played the softer hits of the decade, meaning you weren’t going to hear a lot of heavy guitars on BLI, but you would hear most of the popular hits.

 

There were numerous memorable DJs on WBLI back in the day, including Don Nelson, Scott Taylor, Adam Knight, Jeff Thomas, Barry Neal, Randi Taylor, and one of the smoothest voices in radio, Bruce Michaels. In the 70s, the radio station featured a Saturday night disco show called “Club 106,” while Don Nelson hosted the popular Sunday evening program “Only Gold.”

Long Islanders may also remember the Block Party Weekends. Held every Labor Day, Memorial Day and Fourth of July, the station would play one artist for an entire hour, all weekend long. So you might hear The Bee Gees from 2-3, Steve Miller from 3-4, Stevie Wonder from 4-5, etc.

Thanks to one of the strongest broadcast signals in the area (able to reach New Jersey and Connecticut), millions tuned in at the beaches, parks and, yes, block parties across the island.

 

WBLI-FM remains a popular radio station on the island, although much has changed format-wise since the glory days of the 70s – when a steady stream of contemporary pop provided a soundtrack for millions of Long Islanders.

If you have fond memories of listening to WBLI-FM in the 70s, I hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts in our comments section below.

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17 Responses

  1. tony marzocco says:

    I was there @ the beginning as the station went Top 40 Jan. 1973. I was PT weekends saddled with name DUSTY (yuch) HUDSON. Originally I worked with the late, great George Taylor Morris (WWDJ, XM Deep Tracks), Barry Neal (mornings), PD Jay Mitchell (middays), briefly Lon Fricano & then Paul Radloff (evenings), Brian Quinn news, Mike “Josephs” Scalzi, & the late “Capt. Jack Bligh” Paul Zarcone (WMCA, WBLS, WCBS-FM, WTFM, WKTU PD). I did a 2nd stint in 1973 & worked with “The Real Stoney Brook” now Jim Ryan CBS-FM/FreshFM NYC, Al Bandiero (WPLJ, WKTU, WIFI, WKBW), Mike “Davis Parke” Riccio, Bob McCants news (famous for KISS-FM & now WBLS). I had come back to WBLI from WSVP/Providence & WNHC/WAVZ New Haven. I later went on to do many famous commercials, BIG BARRYS, SPEAKS, HAMMERHEADS, RUMBOTTOMS, DETROIT..hundreds of discos & rock clubs. I live outside of FTL now & still work in the club/hospitality business.

    • 70sKid says:

      Tony, thank you so much for sharing that wealth of information! So glad you stopped by!

    • Brittni says:

      That’s awesome Tony! I wasn’t alive then, but my parents grew up in Long Island.

    • Jack Kratoville says:

      I believe the station flipped to Top 40 sometime in late 1970 / early 1971.. First song I heard them play was Brewer & Shipley. Don’t forget Jerry McRae (Chuck Mackin – WLNG) and Jim Driscoll (Jim Glascock). I believe Mark Hudson became famous for the Crazy Eddie commercials.

      • tony marzocco says:

        Jack: ouch! Not Crazy Eddie, that was Dr. Jerry Carol of Pix. I did Big Barry’s (voiced by actor Jim Gerth) & ALL of the rock clubs & discos: Speaks, Detroit, Hammerheads, Beggar’s Opera, Penrod’s. Cherry’s, OBI group, etc. –Mark Hudson (2nd tour WBLI)/Dusty Hudson (1st tour WBLI) aka Tony Marzocco of Margate FL.

    • stan smith says:

      I was manager of the steer inn in Patchogue, and jeff Thomas and stoney brok used to stop in.. we asked stoney about the name, and said they had to have three syllable names ,as it was easier to use over the air. we loved that station !

  2. tony marzocco says:

    Ooops! I meant January 1971 we went on the air!! My bad

  3. Jenn says:

    I was the babysitter for Randi Taylor’s (not her real name) son back in 1976-77. They lived across the street from me and I’d listen to her show while babysitting. Any way of finding where she is nowadays?? would love to reconnect! Now my kids listen to BLI!!

  4. carolyn says:

    Bruce Michaels was and always will be the best disc jockey Wbli ever had! His voice was perfect and his comments were always right on spot! Here’s to you, Bruce.

  5. Janne says:

    I agree that Bruce Michaels was the greatest voice on the radio in the 70’s Does anyone know where he is now?

  6. Barry Neal says:

    I was hired before WBLI went on the air. My friend Sonny Taylor of WGLI, called to tell me about this new FM station WBLI and I should call Jay Mitchell, the PD of this new WBLI. When I called him he said not to send an audition tape, that I audition everyday on the air at WBAB. We kept in touch until it was time to give my notice to BAB. We met frequently & put together the format, songs and hires. We started broadcasting from a trailer until the studios were completed. Thank you Jay, Marty Beck, Jim Champlin, Herb Usenhiemer and all the great people I had the pleasure to work with for so many years. We started something that still continues today.

  7. Eric says:

    Help start my radio career as an intern with John Bachman. Those were the days. Barry, Bruce, Randi, Mike, Mr. Bill, John Allen……

  8. Anonymous says:

    I Believe Bruce Michaels Hosted Solid Gold back then. Bruce was the greatest Dj in that era BLI had period !

  9. Arnie says:

    I believe Bruce Michaels Hosted Solid Gold for most of its run. Michaels was the GREATEST JOCK BLI ever had !

  10. Arnie says:

    Is it not wonderful , we can hear our past , Today ?

  11. andrew says:

    was famous for advertising rum bottoms (north massapequa and hampton bays). a couple of nyc stations followed through.

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