Under the Influence: 92.7 WLIR

radiodial2In 1984 I had two favorite radio stations that each had a very different, but equally profound affect on my musical taste. There was 107.5 WBLS, which featured my favorite DJ – the ‘Chief Rocker’ Frankie Crocker. Every weekday from 4p-8p he’d spin R&B hits but also play everything from the Tom Tom Club to James Moody. On the opposite end of the dial, and the musical spectrum, was WLIR.

wlir292.7 WLIR played New Wave (also known as Alternative, New Music and Modern Rock – why so many names?). I don’t remember why I started listening or how I found out about it but I know for a fact I didn’t stumbled across the station. WLIR was located near Hempstead, Long Island  – just about 25 miles from my home in Brooklyn. But the station’s signal wasn’t very strong so I’d have to perform all sorts of high-tech feats to get a clear signal (my most effective method was to interlace the antenna of my boom box through the Venetian blind slats in my bedroom window).

daretobedifferentThe station’s tag line was “Dare to Be Different’ – which worked for me (and probably every other teen listening). One of the ways I decided to explore my feelings of otherness and oddness was through music. A young Black kid listening to R&B and Hip Hop was expected. But what if that kid started listening to Euyrthmics or The Smiths? Then that kid was different. He was a bit of freak.  I wasn’t ready to ‘freak out’ in other ways –  so I bought Culture Club records and hung U2 posters on my bedroom wall (I hedged my bets by hanging a Tina Turner Private Dancer poster right next to U2).

Plus – the music was great.

When the radio waves cooperated WLIR introduced me to great artists like Duran Duran, R.E.M., INXS, Thompson Twins, and Psychedelic Furs. And best of all – every week the station would allow viewers to vote and choose the best new song of the week.  The station’s DJ’s (Donna Donna, Malibu Sue, Larry the Duck) would each rally behind one song and attempt to convince listeners to pick their ‘Screamer of the Week’. The DJ’s were passionate and knowledgable and they helped shape the musical taste of countless teens in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. So much of this blog is a testament to that station’s influence. The right music at the right time.

Additional Screamer of the Week posts:

The Psychedelic Furs – Heaven

The Thompson Twins – You Take Me Up

Prince and the Revolution – When Doves Cry

R.E.M. – Pretty Persuasion

Thompson Twins – Sister of Mercy

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7 thoughts on “Under the Influence: 92.7 WLIR

  1. innatejames

    I know whenever I’m driving through Flint, my hometown, and scan the radio stations I feel at ease because all of the radio stations and catch phrases are still the same from when I was a kid. It’s like things just snap back into place.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Screamer of the Week: Heaven by The Psychedelic Furs. This week in 1984. | 1984 (For the Love of Pop's Greatest Year)

  3. Pingback: Screamer of the Week: You Take Me Up by Thompson Twins. This Week in 1984 | 1984 (For the Love of Pop's Greatest Year)

  4. Pingback: Screamer of the Week: When Doves Cry by Prince and the Revolution. This Week in 1984. | 1984 (For the Love of Pop's Greatest Year)

  5. Pingback: Screamer of the Week: Pretty Persuasion by R.E.M. This Week in 1984. | 1984 (For the Love of Pop's Greatest Year)

  6. Pingback: Screamer of the Week: Thompson Twins: Sister of Mercy: This Week in 1984 | 1984 (For the Love of Pop's Greatest Year)

  7. Pingback: Screamer of the Week: Bronski Beat’s Small Town Boy. This Week in 1984 | 1984 (For the Love of Pop's Greatest Year)

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