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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Disappearing Red Old White Men (Part II)

 
[“Part I: Lots of Broken Eggs, but No Omelets.”]
 

By Nicholas Stix

After shutting off the box, I learned that two septuagenarian old lefties, Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz, had just been forced out at Red WNYC radio. Sexual something. No specifics. (Schwartz is almost 80, for cryin’ out loud!)

I’d thought that Schwartz had been forced into retirement years ago! Several years ago, I tried in vain to find his radio show at the WNYC web page, only to find a link to a pay-to-play show at Sirius XM, which consisted of pre-recorded packages of songs hosted by Schwartz, whatever that meant.

When I was just short if 15, I once cut school (I did that a lot) on a lovely spring day, and snuck back home, to lie on my bed and listen to Schwartz’ afternoon show on WNEW-AM (RIP). Suddenly, I heard a key in the lock, turned off the radio, and ran into the closet.

It was my Mom and my big sister (who would have just turned 17) returning early from wherever.

For three hours, I sat atop an old, blue, plastic toy chest behind hanging clothes in the bedroom closet, waiting for them to leave again, so I could leave and “come home.”

They must have gone down the hall to my Nana’s place.

On and off for 30-odd years, sandwiched around four years in college, five years in West Germany, and four years with the NJG, I’d listen to Schwartz’ Sinatra show afternoons on WNEW-AM, and to his rock show Sundays on WNEW-FM. When Bloomberg boughtWNEW-AM, I listened to Schwartz on the exiled WNEW-AM at the New York Times’ AM station, WQXR, and when they leased (1-1-1999) and then sold it (later that year) to Disney as a kids’ station, at WNYC-FM.

When WNEW-AM’s death warrant was announced in late 1998, I managed to sell a pseudonymous essay on it as “Robert Berman” to the Long Island daily, Newsday. They gave it a beautiful spread, with an original drawing of a grave for the station, with an old-fashioned, wooden radio serving as the tombstone, call letters “W.R.I.P.,” with an electrical plug planted in the grass, its plug standing up with musical notes floating from it towards the moon. “This Radio Station Did Things Its Way”; December 11, 1998.

(Newsday’s New York City subsidiary, New York Newsday, had whitelisted me in 1991.)…

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