Flashback Friday: The Top Hits From Grand Rapids 1979 [Video]
A rescued cassette tape from 1979 is of a WGRD disc jockey counting down the top hits from 1979. But who is it?
Anyone who has ever been in the radio business will recognize this tape as an 'air check' taken from a tape player in the studio that only recorded when the microphone came on. That means it probably was the property of the DJ featured on the tape. If he identifies himself on the tape, I never heard it.
It was rescued by a guy named Jeff Smith who collects some odd stuff, and he posted it to YouTube. Here's what he posted about the tape:
Quite a few interesting things about this tape:
#1 it came in a bulk lot purchase from California. Originating in Michigan, it's traveled the whole country since it was made almost 40 years ago...
#2 it's on "Capitol Records" cassette.....in the mid 1970's, the major record labels were FURIOUS that people could use blank tapes and record their friend's albums onto cheap tape instead of buying those albums themselves.....HOME TAPING IS KILLING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY!!.....so as an effort to capture some of that lost income, they decided to join them! I've only ever seen a few of these "major label" blank tapes before. This was one of the reasons that I bought the lot of cassettes.
#3 It was recorded on a really, really, bad tape deck. You are hearing the recording correctly.....it's not sped up on my playback...it was recorded on a deck that was moving too slow. Not quite "chipmunks", but close. I felt no need to correct it here, part of the historical charm.
#4 I WAS LISTENING TO THIS COUNTDOWN SHOW! I distinctly remember listening to this as it happened LIVE on New Year's Eve, 1979. I was a frequent listener of WGRD, they played the best mix of pop music, period. It was also a tough station to pull in sometimes, especially in mid-Michigan in the winter. This recording was made somewhere outside Grand Rapids as well.....toward the end of the recording, you can hear the station fading out.....