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.