WLNG The Radio Anachronism

They want to hear 10 minutes of commercials and six or seven jingles sandwiched between two marginal hits that haven’t gotten any radio play in 35 years.


Imagine you were tuning around on your car radio when all of a sudden one station came to you from out of the sixties. I’m not talking music as much as sound and style–right out of the sixties!

There is such a station and Helaine and I listened to it while we drove home along the Connecticut shoreline tonight. It is WLNG 92.1 in Sag Harbor, NY.

While I was still in high school, my friend John Wells and his parents invited me to their summer home, a little cottage on Shelter Island at Long Island’s east end. I first heard WLNG, then on 1600 AM, on that trip. Even in the late sixties WLNG was an anachronism.

No station in the history of broadcasting has done more remote broadcasts from appliance stores and drugstores and tiny parades with few spectators. No station runs more long and tedious public service announcements recorded over the phone. No station has, or plays, more jingles. No station plays more obscure music.

Last night on WLNG we heard “Goodbye” by Mary Hopkin and Donny Osmond’s version of “Hey Girl.” There were a few other songs too obscure for me to identify and I was a disk jockey on oldies stations for all of the seventies. This afternoon, while we were heading to Sleeping Giant, they played “Deck of Cards,” the 1950s ‘talkie’ song with a Christian theme by Wink Martindale (listed on the label as Win). I can virtually guarantee no other station in America is playing this song.

WLNG is in mono. Honest. Are there any commercial FM stations other than WLNG that don’t broadcast in stereo? As I understand it, then general manager Paul Sidney wanted the station to sound louder. The laws of physics make mono 3db louder than stereo.

Paul Sidney is another anachronism of WLNG. He is totally unflappable when on-the-air, usually broadcasting on-location, because he’s already experienced every on-air screw-up and failure possible. There is nothing smooth or polished about Paul. As you listen, you might think he’s on-the-air for the first time. Surprise, he’s been on WLNG 45 years!

I can’t think of any station with less employee turnover than WLNG. Many of their staffers have been there since the sixties and seventies. That’s unheard of. The morning man’s been there since 1964, another disk jockey since 1975. Paul Sidney’s been there even longer.

Any time I’ve ever had a friend in radio visit they always want to listen to WLNG. They want to hear 10 minutes of commercials and six or seven jingles sandwiched between two marginal hits that haven’t gotten any radio play in 35 years.

God, I love WLNG.

6 thoughts on “WLNG The Radio Anachronism”

  1. No station plays more obscure music.

    Actually, I would bet WFMU gives even WLNG a run for its money in the obscure music department. But it sounds like a fascinating station — I’ll have to check it out.

  2. What a great station! I’ve been streaming it on the computer, and it brings back memories of working at a 1000-watt AM station when I was in high school in upstate New York: the homemade promos, the clunky ads for local businesses, the overall unpolished sound–it’s all there.

    By the way, if you like deep playlists with lots of obscure songs that you last heard 40 years ago, the 60’s channel on XM is just the ticket.

  3. Geoff,

    What you may or may not know is that Paul started his radio broadcasting at WLIS in Old Saybrook many, many years ago. I remember him because my dad way the News Director at the station when Paul was on. I don’t think I was even in high school at the time. I am your age, so Paul must be ????

    Long live WLNG and Paul Sidney. Both one-of-a-kind.


  4. I’m listening to them at work (via stream) in San Francisco — I grew up in Queens and spent time on the East End. Where else can you hear Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood’s “Summer Wine” or Rose Garden’s “Next Plane To London”? Just amazing — they even have jingles about their jingles! LOL! Long may they wave.

  5. Dear Geoff,

    Yes, I have such wonderful memories of Paul Sidney’s WLNG, AM, FM in Sag

    Harbor, on the Redwood Causeway, ” The Oldies Station “. In the 1980’s I

    would say I listed to Paul, Joe Ricker, Gary Sapiane, John Spotter and

    of course, Rusty Potz often. I lived on Shelter Island and enjoyed their

    morning programs very much. Joe Ricker reporting of all the happenings

    of the week, in the five East End Townships, and O’boy, those pancake

    Firehouse breakfast fundraisers… ” Swap n Shop, Your on the air “, Gary

    at his best… and how I so enjoyed, after visits to my parents in

    Farmingville, those summer time drives back to the East End, listening

    to WLNG on my car radio. In the year 1985, it was a very special year

    for me, my song ” Ferryboat to Shelter Island ” was played many times on

    WLNG, and other New York radio stations. Also I would like to mention, I got married that year, you guessed it, on the ferryboat to Shelter

    Island. Cliff Clark, the owner of the South Ferry Company, was my best

    man… Yes, that was a very good year… when I was 41:0)

    Kind Regards,

    Dennis Pelliccia

    Grants Pass, Oregon


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