The birth of Long Island's Treasure Chest 1440 WNYG, took place in late 1979 and was the brainchild of Billy Andres and Don Dunitz.  In the beginning, Billy worked morning drive while Don held the mid-day slot.  Jeff Fisher was in charge of the afternoon drive slot.  Joe Kola (already an audio engineer for WNYG's gospel shows), was promoted and moved to mornings as News Director.  For the duration, Joe would remain a part of the weekend schedule until a suitable replacement engineer could be hired.  Two weeks later, Alan Duke returned from WBAB to become WNYG's full time Production Director, as well as the station's Promotions Coordinator.  On occasion, Alan would also step in as a DJ doing fill-in.


Upper Left: Joe Kola / Upper Right: Alan Duke
Bottom Left: Billy Andres / Bottom Right: Debbie Kohl

The New York branch of the Columbia School Of Broadcasting was operating from the WNYG building, offering students the opportunity to volunteer time at many station remotes and functions.  Rick Hall from the CSB was hired by Alan Duke as audio engineer in 1980, replacing Joe Kola on weekends.  Eventually, Rick produced and hosted WNYG's weekly Top 14 Countdown.  When Joe Kola left, Rick became the News Director.  Santo Curcio is also believed to be another Columbia School Of Broadcasting graduate who worked part time at WNYG.


1980 WNYG Clock Promotion-Given To Participating Sponsors
(Photo Courtesy Of Chris Roth)

The original 1979 Fall/Winter line up was:

Weekdays:
Billy Andres (6AM Sign-On to 10AM)
Joe Kola (News/Sports)
Don Dunitz (10AM to 2PM)
Jeff Fisher (2PM to Sign Off)

Weekends:
Joe Kola (Sunday 6AM to 2PM - Religious & International Program
Audio Engineer - Duties Later To Be Taken Over By Rick Hall)
Alan Duke (Sunday 2PM to Sign-Off - International Program Engineer/DJ)

Spring season meant the station would have to stay on the air longer hours, prompting the re-hiring of Kathy Cunningham in September 1980 for the sign off shift.  Kathy was 15 when Mark Alan originally hired her as WBAB's Music Director back in the mid 70's.  Kathy returned doing afternoon drive on October 1st 1980, and still holds the record for being the youngest woman Music Director in radio on Long Island!  More information about Kathy's long broadcast career can be found on her dedication page!  Mark Levy (ex-WGBB) came aboard doing morning drive.  Other WBAB alumni to return were Maryanne Albanese and Frank Ellsworth... both around the same time (in late 1980).  One other ex-WGBB DJ to join the WNYG ranks was Ralph Sorrentino (aka: Ric Morgan), doing part-time fill-in work.

The WNYG Fall of 1980 line up was:

Weekdays:
Mark Levy (6AM Sign-On to 10AM)
Bob Ames (News/Sports)
Billy Andres (10AM to 2PM)
Kathy Cunningham (2PM to Sign-Off)

Weekends:
Ric Morgan (Saturday 6AM to 10AM - Public Service Program Engineer/DJ)
Lilla Savona (Sunday 10AM to 2PM - Original Italian Hours)
Rick Hall (Sunday 6AM to 2PM - Religious & International Program Engineer/DJ)
Marina Kerminski (Sunday 2PM to Sign-Off - Public Service Program Engineer/DJ)

WNYG's weekend block programming offered a variety of special shows which greatly appealed to large audiences.  One such show was the Original Italian Hours, hosted by the highly talented Lilla Savona, which aired every Sunday morning from 10am till 2pm.  One of the truly unique parts about Lilla's bi-lingual program was that she geared her show to include both the Italian, as well as English speaking audiences combined, a courtesy which today is hardly ever offered on ethnic or international broadcasting!  Not only did Lilla capture the best of both audiences, but she single handedly produced, directed, hosted, recorded all her sponsorships, as well as sold commercial air time on her program (something almost completely unheard of in broadcasting today).  Lilla was also an accomplished singer.


Lilla Savona With Jerry Vale  -  On The Air At WLIM  -  Lilla With Sergio Franchi
(Photos courtesy of Lilla's daughter Joy Munro - Anyone wishing to reach Joy
by e-mail can click on her name above.)

    
 


(Front L-R: Muriel Horenstein with
Senator Al D'Amato's brother: Armand D'Amato)
(Rear L-R: John Bonsignor, Unkn.)


L- Frank Ellsworth, Mark Levy, Bob Ames and Bill Andres at WNYG Yankees Night
R- Mark Levy giving good mic! (nice legs Mark!)

 
Joe Kola / Your Buddy Rick Hall (1980)


Rick Hall With Mike Sims


Charlie Ambrogio Was At The Game!

One of the more popular formats in the post-FM days was its oldies format under the guidance of veteran broadcaster Warren Green.  Many of the disc jockeys on B-103 were first spinning oldies on WNYG during the early 1990's.  Jim Pierce, Phyllis Rose, Bill Houston, Lenny Cocco, Rob Jeantet, Chip Ordway, Robert Carle, Mike Erickson, Ed Newlands, Harry Hepcat and MIGHTY MACK were among the DJ's behind the microphone during the high point of WNYG's Oldies format.  In an attempt to bring in extra revenue, the station featured a Country music program for a few hours a day.  But unfortunately, all it did was fragment the format and caused a lot of listener confusion.

Wacky programming lived on the weekends towards the end of WNYG's oldies run.  The staff would air programs like "Sing-Along with Frankie C" (which was Frank attempting to singing over Mitch Miller recordings), and Harry Hepcat's "Had They Won The War"... a tongue in cheek radio spoof on what top 40 AM stations might have sounded like had Germany won WW2.  You can hear a classic cut from the show by visiting Harry's section on page 2 of the MuzicRadio History Page.

The story of RFNY (Radio Free New York), or, as some would call it: "The Saga Of The Good Ship Sarah", officially closed it's ending chapter on August 5th 1987 at the studios of 1440 WNYG!  The news story was well worth the media attention it received.  WNYG was the only station on Long Island that graciously allowed the "Pirates Of The Airwaves" free broadcast air time to tell their fascinating story (and, even allowed them to do a few, shall we say... legal pirate shows)?  Click on the RFNY logo for more information about the Saga Of Sarah!


The Greatest Radio Prank Ever! Building For Sale 4/17/94
(Photo By Chip Ordway)


Chip At The Console On WNYG's Last Day As An Oldies Station 4/17/94
(Photo By Jeff Stevens)


Left: An Inebriated Ed Newlands With Frankie C On Ed's Last Afternoon Show 12/23/93
Right: The Holiday Fill-Ins At Work: Chip Ordway And Sean Vesely Thanksgiving 1992
(Photos By Chip And Evelyn Ordway)


Retro Style Photo Of WNYG Oldies Program Director Jimmy Pierce


Group Picture Of WNYG's Oldies Staff
(Photo Taken Just After Beinvenida Communications
Decided To "Hit The Road")

WNYG was sold in June of 1994 to Beinvenida Communications of NY, which installed a Spanish format.  Five years later, more financial difficulties ensued and the station landed in bankruptcy court.  The studios and offices were left in complete disarray, while the entire building looked like a hurricane had passed through.  In fact, the Suffolk County Bankruptcy Court practically classified the station as abandoned, as well as being left in a non-functional capacity (off the air) by the previous owners.  News of WNYG's abandoned condition and pending auction including future plans made the local Newsday newspaper radio section on 2 separate occasions:


Newsday Staff Writer Peter Goodman  

The ability to auction a radio station which had been virtually "trashed" by it's previous owners was a big concern and prompted the lending bank to request a detailed damage survey be submitted to the courts.  Meanwhile, the court judge contacted WNYG's original owner Muriel Horenstein in hopes of obtaining a list of possible ex-staff members who could be appointed by the court as "Trustees" (station caretakers) until the official sale is completed.  While the lengthy process of transferring the license continued, the "trustees" would be responsible for the security of the facility and tower site.  Re-hired for the task was ex-PD Jimmy Pierce, who contacted several other WNYG alumni to assist and evaluate damages, as well as put together a cost proposal outlining what it would take to put the station back on the air.


Flash!  AM Radio Time Warp Discovered In Babylon!
(Article Courtesy Of Chip Ordway)


(Front: Mike Erickson /  Rear L-R: Jimmy Pierce, Rick Hall and John Saley)
Court Appointed Trustee-Operators of WNYG during the early spring of 2000.

The transmitter needed several repairs.  The Broadcast Electronics control logic board needed replacing (just to get the transmitter to turn on), which is when more repair work on the transmitter's final RF section became evident.  The glass on the VU meters in the control room console (still the original 1979 Autogram), were smashed.  Half of the faders were falling apart or missing knobs.  The record library (if you could still call it that), had sustained extensive water damage from years of neglect from a leaking roof.  All telephone lines were ripped out or severed throughout the entire building.  Even the transmitter's air conditioner was removed, leaving a large hole in the side of the building for anyone to climb through.  I don't think it's necessary to say, the previous owners had taken virtually everything that wasn't nailed down.

The good news was that we located a working spare logic board in the abandoned engineering office, along with a ton of other goodies that were left behind.  BE's support team did a superb job helping us obtain the parts needed to bring the transmitter back to legal power.  When we finally got around to removing the cracked glass covers in the console's VU meters, the meters became "unstuck" and started working fine!  As luck would have it, console knobs were a part of some of the "goodies" we found in the engineering office!  Luckily, all the tower site needed was a good grass mowing.  In less than one week, WNYG 1440 was back on the air at full power playing your favorite oldies!

 
Your Old Buddy RICK HALL 'The Original Babylon Cowboy'
(WNYG Reunion Show 2000)

Although everyone's dedicated efforts had paid off, there was still one problem.  To keep the station on the air 24 hours, we needed an inexpensive, yet reliable computer automation program to handle overnights and weekends.  The program had to run from 10pm to 6am on weekdays, including a nonstop run from Friday night through Monday morning.  It had to segue oldies, insert station ID's, as well as play public service announcements.  David Morgan became WNYG's Computer Technician (Guru).  David installed a PC next to the console loaded with Windows 98SE and a program called OTS JUKE (DJ Version).  The cost for the program was less than $100.00 and was considered one of the most reliable radio automation programs available within it's price range.  Learn more about OTS JUKE by clicking the OTS Labs link below:

To OTS Labs!
OTS LABS

In no time at all the word was out that WNYG was back on the air playing oldies again.  Many members of the original WNYG alumni had returned to do shows, while the overnights remained automated.  The oldies format was temporarily reinstated from 12:01pm on April 3, 2000 until 1:00am on June 14, 2000.


Part Of The 2000 WNYG Trustee Staff
Top L-R: Frankie C & David Morgan
Middle L-R: Mike Erickson & Jimmy Pierce
Bottom L-R: Ed Newlands & Rick Hall


Our last weekend On The Air at WNYG.
L-R: Jim (Hawk) Pierce, Rick Hall
along with Linda & Billy Andres. 
(Long... time... radio friends!)

The CHR format was re-installed after Multicultural Broadcasting assumed control. Only this time, the on-air staff consisted of students running a modern reincarnation of the now defunct Columbia School Of Broadcasting... with one difference.  The students programmed the entire station On-Air operation!

Under the GM guidance of Student Radio 1440 concept originator Jack McCloy, WNYG became a great opportunity for young people interested in broadcasting to have a first hand shot at getting directly involved in radio.  Jack McCloy: "Most veterans in the business know how difficult it can be to get that first break.  We gave it to over one hundred kids!  It was unfortunate that the post 9-11 climate undermined our ability to build needed revenue, which caused Multicultural to choose a brokered-time religious format with a guaranteed revenue offering."

Although the station underwent a complete internal facelift with new studios and up to date equipment, Student Radio 1440 was to be short lived.  An application was filed with the FCC to move the daytime transmitting location to the WLUX tower in Islip, but was quickly denied.  Sad to say, but in less than one year Student Radio 1440 was forced to close it's doors.  WNYG had went full circle, once again becoming a Contemporary Religious Station.

For 8 consecutive years, 1440 WNYG was called "The Spirit Of New York", a contemporary religious station, operated under an LMA agreement by Free-Indeed Broadcasting Inc., which also brokered time throughout the week.  On November 2nd 2009, Multicultural Broadcasting reassumed control of the station, ending the longest single format run in WNYG's history.  WNYG 1440 went officially dark on July 13th 2010, as Multicultural's Arthur Lou ordered the station off the air, putting a close to the final chapter of WNYG's long and fascinating history.

Unfortunately, the story of WNYG doesn't exactly end here. On October 25th, 2010, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) issued an official Notice Of Apparent Liability Forfeiture (NAL) to Multicultural Radio Broadcast Licensee, LLC (the former licensee of WNYG), for apparently, willingly and repeatedly violating section 73.3256 of the Commission’s Rules (“Rules”) 2 by failing to make available WNYG’s public inspection file at its main studio at any time during regular business hours and by failing to maintain radio issues/programs lists in the public inspection file. The FCC concluded that Multicultural is apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000). No world yet if Multicultural's Arthur Lou will appeal the decision, or not.  More information can be found by going to:

http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2010/db1025/DA-10-2033A1.pdf

But wait... there's more:  WNYG 1440 is back on the air!  But, not from the original studios or tower site in Babylon.  Now, 1440 WNYG broadcasts ethnic programming from Patchogue off of one of the WLIM towers.  Stay tuned.


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