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The Unofficial History Of NJ 101.5 – Back Then


Yours truly, reading the news in the old studio in the old building. Notice there are no computer screens, no electronics. Just a man and his microphone.

This is an ongoing series that contains a lot of history of New Jersey 101.5 from this side of the mic.

I am Joe Cutter, news anchor/reporter. I have been here through it all. This is a collection of little stories about our past.

Back the winter/spring of 1990, the entire staff was invited one day to attend a luncheon, hosted by our new keepers, Press Broadcasting, at a Princeton hotel. It was kind of strange, because we basically abandoned the daily business of broadcasting for a few hours, talent, sales and office staff, to attend this luncheon, leaving only a skeleton crew back at the ranch, keeping us on the air.

At the luncheon, our programming consultant back then, Walter Sabo, talked about the task Press had set about for itself, while we chomped on our salads in this banquet room. Sabo drew an analogy about getting WKXW noticed in radio signal-crowded New Jersey. He told us that we are like a brand of shampoo. Sabo said, “if you walk down the aisle in the supermarket, there are over a hundred different shampoos on the shelves. How do we get people to pick up our bottle of shampoo/radio frequency? You package it and put something in it that none of the other ‘shampoos’ offer”.

Sabo also spoke fondly about his memories as a radio-obsessed youth growing up in New York, and listening to a certain talk host on a station in the Big Apple, and how he was deeply impressed, at a young age with the unique style and magnetism of that radio guy. As Sabo strode around our little luncheon room, telling his story, he concluded it, and he stopped walking, standing next to one individual. He said, “and that amazing radio guy I heard back then was…Jim Gearhart”. Everybody at the luncheon that day could almost perceive a shaft of light piercing through from above, and shining down on Jim. It pretty much anointed him as the guy who would lead the morning show on this brave new adventure, this hybrid, New Jersey 101.5.

Stay tuned….

And while you’re staying tuned for next week’s edition, check out previous versions of  “Back Then…”



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