Scott Muni

Dennis Elsas and Scott Muni

Dennis Elsas and Scott Muni

“I grew up listening to you,” I told Scott Muni the first time I met him in June 1971. Scott was the program director at WNEW-FM, and I was hoping to make a good first impression on my job interview. His response was a bemused vocal grunt, which I would later learn was Muni verbal shorthand for almost anything. I (and most of the staff) would subsequently spend many years mimicking that sound and his unique gravely voice, in our never ending game of admiration and imitation of our Boss.

I really had grown up listening to him. From New York’s powerhouse AM Top 40 stations WMCA and WABC, to the brave new world of progressive FM rock (initially at WOR-FM before he came to WNEW-FM on December 18th, 1967), I was a fan.

Initially he hired me as a part-timer for summer relief. Within six months I became the station’s music director working directly for and with him, an experience that was an amazing education in the world of rock radio and the music industry. He played hard and he played to win, but he always had fun and mostly success in doing so.

Denis Elsas with Scott Muni

Denis Elsas with Scott Muni

We worked together through 1997 up until the final dismantling of the once proud place “Where Rock Lived.” All through the years, he never let me forget that first comment about growing up listening to him and was always amused when he began to hear the next generation of listeners tell me the same thing about myself.

I don’t remember that he or anyone else within the station actually referred to him off-air as “The Professor.” It was a nickname given to him sometime in the mid to late 1980’s by one of the many programming consultants that kept trying to re-shape our sound. We preferred “Fats” – a loving term of endearment that he often used for almost anyone that played on his team.

This audio is from April 30th, 1979. It was WNEW-FM’s final night broadcasting from our legendary studios at 565 Fifth Avenue just before our facilities were to move across town. I’m doing my nightly 6-10PM show and have invited “Scottso” to sit in for awhile following his afternoon shift and share some memories with me and our loyal WNEW-FM audience. Here’s an audio snapshot of that moment in time: