Thursday, October 1, 2020

Rock Radio OCTOBER 1970 ROCKtober Howl!

Are You Ready to Howl? It’s ROCKtober!   

Finally! It’s OCTOBER! We’ve all shared a long, frustrating and disappointing summer and for some, even tragic. But the pandemic stranglehold is tentatively loosening, the air is cooling, and without forgetting what transpired over this year, it’s time to stretch our legs and have a little fun.

Do you know that 50 years ago This Month, “… Nixon asked the American people to mark October as Country Music Month,” says the New York Public Radio site. He may not have been the best prez, but “Nixon became the first president to visit the Grand Ole Opry.” Gotta give him props for that.
     Though I am most known for hyping Rock & Roll, I shamelessly admit to my country upbringing in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of Lake Tahoe’s California side. If you’re in the mood, celebrate the music roots of American pride and go a little Country. After all, some of the best Rock & Roll music is “
a little bit Country, a little bit Rock & Roll.” Yeehaw!

Well, not too Country, since as far back as I can recall, this month has playfully been dubbed ROCKtober … so let’s get Rockin’! 

50 Years Ago this Month ~ ROCKtober 1970

No one in the music broadcast realm ever personified ROCKtober and most especially, Howl-o-ween, like Wolfman Jack. Awwwwoooo
While I mention his birthday in January (21st 1938) and pay tribute to him on the anniversary of his rise to DJ Heaven in July (1st 1995), it’s every October that I feature Wolfman Jack’s undeniable effect on Rock Radio broadcasting and unmistakable howl that characterized the Wolfman.
     The mysterious “Wolfman” emerged from “Uncle” Bob (Smith) when he grabbed a blanket for a cape and howled like a wolf to the delight of his nephews, playfully chasing them around his sister’s home, as a young man.

     By 1970 “Wolfie” (as he was often called by co-workers) had perfected his show syndication for distribution around the country. The innovative idea came in the mid-1960s as he strived to grow his show from a local only broadcast station to reach a broader audience. To do that he had to skirt the U.S. restrictions on radio broadcasting. He envied the freedom of the “border blasters” in Mex
ico and a syndication plan took form.
     “We would do the whole XERB air shift for twenty-four
hours, just like we were broadcasting live from the studio,” he said in his infamous autobiography Have Mercy, “but we were actually putting everything on tape, even the phone calls that came in from listeners.”
     It wasn’t easy getting the tapes across the border to the transmitter but working one day ahead of actual broadcast time helped the time crunch.

If you haven’t heard Wolfman Jack’s memorable voice for a while, or ever, there’s some super-fun airchecks around the ‘Net. YouTube gives us Wolfie and classic Rock & Roll April 12, 1970 on XERB! “Here we go, baby!”  

 On Your Tinny Transistor Radio ~ ROCKtober 1970
Gypsy Woman” (Brian Hyland) is the only song on WERK’s 18-tune “Big 9 Plus 9” chart 10/24/1970 that could qualify as Halloween material—mostly just by title because it’s totally a love song—up one rung of the ladder from previous week, at #12. A lovely woman in motion | with hair as dark as night
KIMN/Denver’s expanded top 50 survey* (10/03/1970) included “Lucretia MacEvil” by Blood, Sweat & Tears at #18. Though it never got higher than #14 and dropped quickly to #20 by October 31st, she’d  Drive a young man insane | Evil that’s your name
     And all the way to the “left coast,” on the “610 Big
30” October 26th chart, KFRC/San Francisco’s fans lifted Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” up six steps to #19. Two weeks later it hit #5, with “After Midnight” (Eric Clapton), following closely on her witchy heels at #10. They just didn’t quite make it before we lifted the ghostly veil after midnight, Halloween 1970.She’s a black magic woman | And she’s tryin’ to make a devil out of me  

BFYP Featured Radio Survey(s) ~ ROCKtober 1970 
/Muncie, Indiana 2-FER! Well shoot, we could tease you with their October 24th “Halloween ‘Funny Face’ Contest” for fans to draw fun pics of the 6 “Werk Krew” jocks, and make you wait to see the winning beastly drawing winners ‘til next month. But that would just be ghoulie-mean, so it’s a 2-fer month! The winners’ art that appeared in their November 7, 1970 edition awaits your critique. There were some talented listeners! Enjoy … 50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that groovy day when your radio played …

Celebrate ROCKtober 1970 and … Rock On!  

Wicked Witch of the West
Blast from Your Past Gifts
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LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. Two books (of three) are published in her Blast from Your Past series, available on Amazon (eBook and print): Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon … The Psychedelic Seventies! 

*Note: FYI – All links in the BFYP site are personally visited, verified, and vetted. Most are linked to commonly accessed sites of reputable note. Occasionally, since I often feature real people and/or singular sources there may be an unsecured link. As with everything cyber-security, use at your own discretion and risk. *All holiday and special event days are found at’s calendar site. Enjoy! 

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