The Strikebound Sound of WABC!

March 29 - April 10, 1967

Jonathan Wolfert of JAM and PAMS contributed the following commentary
and aircheck to the WABC Musicradio Web Site:

The Strikebound Aircheck!



From March 29 to April 10, 1967 there was a strike called by AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). This meant that all the union talent, including the WABC airstaff, was taken off the air and replaced by management personnel. It was all very strange. But Rick Sklar could turn anything into a promotion, and the strike was no exception.

The above aircheck is a brief montage compiled from hours of tape. It includes:

The "strikebound sound" jingle that Rick Sklar ordered from PAMS (Series 31).

Hal Neal, president of ABC Radio, filling in as a newsman giving background on the strike.

The "super pickets" promo. This was, of course, a take-off on the station's weekly "superhit sounds" promo which featured excerpts from the week's top 5 songs. It's a promotion masterpiece and it worked. Whenever one of the All Americans tried to take part in the picket line outside the ABC building, they'd be mobbed by autograph seekers!

Rick Sklar worked as the booth announcer in the evening. He even turned looking for mistakes into a promotion!

ABC press relations executive Marty Grove filled in for Cousin Brucie and Chuck Leonard. He was trying to sound like Brucie, but... well, there's only one Brucie.

Bernie Koval, the gentle soft-spoken chief engineer, took his turn behind the mike as "Bernie the K" for Ron Lundy.

Jeff Berman sat in for Bobaloo. John Britton sat in for Chuck Leonard. Jeff Tellis sat in for Charlie Greer.

Rick Sklar did the news on many occasions. Sometimes he would intro the network news, but the network was having its own staffing problems and sometimes it just wouldn't be there!

Finally the strike ended. Within 30 minutes of the announcement, Cousin Bruce was back on the air and in an instant things got back to normal. Bruce couldn't help wondering "what is that Marty Grove talking like that for?"

The next day Dan Ingram had to remember how to do his show. Luckily for all of us, he did.



Saul Ash took the following photos in front of 1330 Avenue of The Americas during the AFTRA Strike.
He contributed them to the Musicradio 77 WABC web site and along with commentary:

I was 14 years old and took the subway to 1330 Ave of the Americas where they were on the sidewalk walking the line.
I took the photos using my Kodak Brownie and had them printed as color slides.


Howard Cosell came off as stiff and terse in his somewhat uncomfortable conversation with me, and addressed me as "Kid".



Chuck Leonard was pretty friendly and I remember talking with him for a good deal of time as I walked with him up and down 6th Avenue between W52nd and W53rd Streets.
I can't remember if he wore one of the strike "sandwich signs", but he may have removed it to pose for the picture.
The "C" of the ABC logo sign is visible on the left.
In Chuck's left hand resting on his hip in the photo was a stack of several hundred WABC weekly surveys.
I asked him if I could have a few, but he then acted like my request was kind of nervy, and reluctantly gave me just one.



Of the three, Charlie Greer was the most friendly, conversational, and informal; very much in-synch with his behind the mic personality.
If my memory is correct after all these years, I believe the striker standing to his right is Gilbert Hodges, one of the staff announcers.




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