- The first LP I owned: Moody Blues – “On a Threshold of a Dream.”
- The first LP I purchased with my own money: “Buddy Holly’s Greatest Hits.”
- The first single I purchased with my own money: The Byrds – “Mr. Spaceman.”
- My first pre-recorded cassette tape: The Byrds – “The Notorious Byrd Brothers.”
- My first 8-track tape: Robin Trower – “Bridge of Sighs.”
- My first concert: Poco at Pittsburgh’s Syria Mosque in August 1973.
There are still a few firsts I have to cover and one of those is today’s feature – my first CD. In 1984, I had just taken over the reins as program director of WOAY-FM. While the station had an excellent format under its previous operations manager, the Album Oriented Rock format never generated that much in advertising dollars despite the fact there were numerous listeners to the station. Charlie Jennings, my predecessor as PD, and the person who hired me to do mornings in 1983 really deserves the credit for his Adult Rock format. In addition, the station had a number of talented announcers that were well liked in the market.
My task was to transform it from and AOR station into a Contemporary Hit Radio or CHR station and go head to head with my former employer WCIR-FM. The spring Arbitron ratings were quite favorable to us and this netted the station Parallel Three (small market) CHR/Top 40 reporting status in Radio & Records, Billboard, and Cashbox. The station had already been reporting to Radio & Records as an AOR station; however, CHR received more notice from the record companies and concert promoters and it was thought that this format change would net more in sales. The formula worked for a while.
Because we were in a transitional phase in 1984, I was receiving product from the record companies that included both AOR and CHR releases. Often the (non dance mix) 12 inch singles were issued to AOR radio to generate initial interest; therefore, we had a slight advantage in this regard. During that summer, A&M (who was distributing Gold Mountain Records) sent me the latest Bruce Cockburn (pronounced – CO-burn) release in three formats: vinyl, high quality cassette, and CD. Additionally, the singles from the LP were issued in 7 inch and 12 inch formats.
Cockburn’s “Stealing Fire” has the distinction of being my first CD. In 1984, the station didn’t have a CD player (and didn’t have one by the time I left in 1987) and neither did I. I got my first CD player a year later when I placed 21st in the Active Industry Research’s fourth “Pick the Hits” contest. I placed in the winners’ circle five times receiving both cash and prizes. Until I received that CD player, I was content to listen to the cassette. Five months after my promotion, I purchased a new 1984 Chevy Cavalier. It was my first car with a cassette player and “Stealing Fire” was the first cassette played.