Rosko

Dennis Elsas with Rosko

Dennis Elsas with Rosko

This photograph was taken on October 17, 1967. The young, earnest looking guy in the tie is me – then program director and disc jockey at my college radio station WQMC (Queens College).

I’m listening to Rosko, who had emerged over 1966 as one of the most admired and unique radio personalities on the new FM scene. He had been part of NY’s first progressive rock station – WOR-FM – and I invited him to speak to the students on-campus. A month earlier we had picked the date, but in the interim he had resigned from WOR-FM and told me on the phone he was switching to WNEW-FM. He asked if he might bring his new general manager, George Duncan, along. He thought it would give George the opportunity to get a sense of what the college audience WNEW-FM was looking to reach was all about. It was a great afternoon and this picture brings it all back for me.

Dennis Elsas WQMC letter to WNEW-FM

Letter to WNEW


I always appreciated the irony that nine years later in May 1976 I would take over the same nighttime shift as one of my first FM mentors. In retrospect, I must have paid careful attention to whatever he was telling me that day.

Two weeks later, WNEW-FM’s transition was underway. A year earlier they had adopted a format as the first station in NY with all female DJs, playing music that was a type of light rock often referred to as “chicken rock”. Alison Steele, the only one of the DJ’s who would stay with the station and later become famous as “the Nightbird”, is explaining what’s about to happen on October 30, 1967.