I keep asking my friends who book talk shows to connect me with Reverend Al Sharpton.
I don’t want to ask about what he’s currently working on or stuff about Tawana Brawley.
Reverend Sharpton used to hang out and even preach on WWRL. That’s what interests me.
He was there back in the day when WWRL was New York’s Soul Powerhouse.
I want to hear what it was like to be part of such a legend.
It had incredible jocks. Better than many of those great Top 40 stations we remember.
I was a not so funky, rather clunky kid living in the New Jersey suburbs. The kind whose best friend was a worn out Motorola transistor radio.
WWRL was located in Woodside Queens and during the day it put a good signal into my neighborhood. It was gone with the pattern change at sundown.
So unless you grew up around New York City, WWRL probably never made it into your radio listening.
Great Top 40 jocks came out of RL. Frankie Crocker, Al Gee and Chuck Leonard come to mind.
But the rest of the staff was special too. Each a personality within a tight format. This was Bill Drake meeting Soul Radio, at least to an extent.
The line-up included Gregory, known as The Dixie Drifter, Jeff Troy, Jerry B, Gary Byrd with The GBE, and Hank Spann.
Spann was my all time favorite.
The ‘Soul Server’ as he was known could work the intro of a record like nobody’s business. He was amazing.
Hank passed this week after battling a variety of health issues during the past year.
Sadly others like Gregory and Frankie Crocker are gone too. Al Gee is said to have his own health troubles.
WWRL will always stand out to me as the best of the best.
Hank Spann was right on top.
I can still hear him ending a show….“Two steps to the rear and I’m outta here….”
The streets will be a little quieter now.
And somewhere a big station just added a great jock to the line-up.