Mets radio homes through the years

Car radioWith the end of the Mets’ partnership with WFAN this week, it might be fun to crank up the old history machine, and take a stroll through radio flagship stations of the past.

We begin with a place that could very well be the next radio home, 77 WABC of all places.  In the very early stages of their Top 40 history of 1962-1963, most of their pieces of their heyday were in place; Dan Ingram, Scott Muni, Cousin Brucie Morrow, and Bob Lewis, but they probably weren’t hitting the zeitgeist of New York City radio just yet, a little help from a certain English phenomena that would reach the states in the next year would help matters in that regard!

The Mets would then be shuttled down the dial to 1050 WHN from 1964-1966.  At this stage the former WMGM, and former home of both the Dodgers and Yankees, was going through a bit of a transition during the heyday of Top 40 radio in New York City.  It was also during this stretch that Marv Albert would get his start, doing scores after the Met broadcast had concluded.

The next stop is WJRZ, 970 from 1967-1971.  The place where you would have heard the radio broadcasts of the Miracle Mets.  Currently a talk station, WNYM (hey…maybe that’d be a good landing spot), back in this time the station was the New York market’s first country station, something the Mets would become quite well acquainted with in the next couple of decades!  Also the station’s Bob Brown would be the host of a proto Mets Extra with shows both before and after games, which featured call-in shows and contests.

The Mets moved back to WHN, now doing contemporary country (think Johnny Cash, The Outlaws, Merle Haggard and other chart toppers with a twist of Jackson Browne, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, and other 1970s Southern and California rock sounds) from 1972-1974.  This was just at the start of WHN’s rise to being one of the most listened to country stations in history.  It also gave a nice appropriateness for the marketing slogan, “This is Mets Country.”

The Mets would be on the road again though (bit of a Willie Nelson pun there) by 1975, when they’d be on WNEW 1130 from 1975-1977.  Currently WBBR and the New York home of Bloomberg Radio, the station, not to be confused with the iconic FM station, had an adult contemporary format during this time.  As well as being the longtime home of Giants football.

The Mets would wrap up the decade, and spend the first few years of the 1980s at WMCA 570, 1978-1982.  By this point the station was nearly a decade in on its Dial-Log Radio format, after being one of WABC’s chief Top 40 rock rivals during the 1960s.  Sports wise, WMCA may be best known as the station that gave New York its first taste of John Sterling as a radio host and broadcaster for the New York Nets and New York Islanders.  Also the New York Yankees were at the station around the same time as well, probably one of the very rare times, or the only time, a station had multiple local baseball rights.

The Mets returned to WHN in 1983 as the station was beginning to get caught up in the changing times of AM radio.  Most of the classic music stations had pretty much given the format up to the better sounding quality of FM, and Talk Radio was quickly rising.  So on July 1st, 1987, at 3 pm Ray Price’s “For The Good Times” closed it out and Suzyn Waldman would be the first voice heard on 1050 WFAN, the nation’s first all-sports talk radio station.  Due to this being right at the start of the conglomeration era, where one group controlled several different stations, WFAN would move up the dial to 660 on October 7th 1988.  This of course, would be the Mets home until The Fan made 101.9, WFAN-FM its main hub on the radio dial on November 1st, 2012.

For a quick aside, the Mets have been providing Spanish Radio broadcasts going back to the beginning as well, which probably doesn’t count towards a listing of Mets flagship stations, but it does get listed in the Mets media guide and broadcasters have even included a Ford Frick Award winner (Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson aren’t the only radio voices representing the Mets!)

Flagship Stations: WHOM 1480 1962-1974

VENE International Network 1975-19810
WBNX 1380 1982
WKDM 1380 1983-1986
WJIT 1480 1987-1989
WSKQ 620 1990-1996
WADO 1280 1997-2009
WQBU 92.7 2010-2012
ESPN Deportes 1050 2013

Crews: 1962-1973 Miguel Angel Torres, Salomon Volpe
1974-1981 Juan Vene, Jose Valdivielso, Buck Canel (Ford Frick Award winner in 1985)
1982           Juan Vene, Juan Alicea
1983-1986 Oscar Polo, Juan Alicea, Max Perez Jimenez
1987-1989 Billy Berroa, Armando Talavera, Juan Alicea
1990-1993 Billy Berroa, Renato Morffi, Armando Talavera, Juan Alicea
1994-1995 Juan Alicea, Renato Morffi
1996-2004 Juan Alicea, Billy Berroa
2005           Juan Alicea, Billy Berroa, Max Perez Jimenez
2006           Juan Alicea, Billy Berroa
2007           Juan Alicea, Billy Berroa, Max Perez Jimenez
2008-2011 Juan Alicea, Max Perez Jimenez
2012-         Juan Alicea, Max Perez Jimenez, Nelson Rosario

One interesting wrinkle in the Mets changing flagships will be announcers.  While good money can be put down on the 2014 regular game announcers being Howie Rose and Josh Lewin again, it does leave WFAN employee Ed Coleman in the lurch as the Mets Extra host.  Oh, no doubt WFAN will install Coleman as part of the Yankee team, but it will mean a new host for the pre and post-game show, the first time the Mets have needed a new regular host of that show since 1996.

And this little trip through the Met radio broadcasting history will conclude with a quick rundown of the denizens of the Shea Stadium, and now Citi Field Bob Murphy Mets Radio Booth.  A listing that despite numerous flagship changes in the first 25 years remained pretty much consistent.  And while the next 25 or so would see a bevy of changes of secondary booth men and hosts of the pre and postgame shows, it still has been very consistent with the main Voices of New York Mets Baseball:

1962-1978 Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner
1979-1980 Bob Murphy, Ralph Kiner, Steve Albert
1981           Bob Murphy, Ralph Kiner, Steve Albert, Art Shamsky
1982-1984 Bob Murphy, Steve LaMar
1985-1988 Bob Murphy, Gary Thorne
1989-1992 Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen
1992-1993 Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Todd Kalas
1994-1995 Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Howie Rose
1996-2001 Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Ed Coleman
2002           Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Ed Coleman, Ted Robinson
2003           Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Ed Coleman, Ted Robinson, Howie Rose
2004-2005 Gary Cohen, Howie Rose, Ed Coleman
2006-2007 Howie Rose, Tom McCarthy, Ed Coleman
2008-2011 Howie Rose, Wayne Hagin, Ed Coleman
2012-2013 Howie Rose, Josh Lewin, Ed Coleman

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1 comment for “Mets radio homes through the years

  1. NormE
    September 16, 2013 at 12:37 am

    Steve,
    Nice work! Some good people in the Mets’ booth through the years. Gary Cohen and Bob Murphy were great together. Howie Rose always does a nice job. Steve Albert was, in my opinion, the worst.

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