A Few Good Guys

Who remembers the WMCA Good Guys? I miss them. From late 1960 until 1970, WMCA (AM 570) was one of New York City’s top Top 40 radio stations. It played the hits, even after progressive FM stations rose in popularity.

WMCA did extremely well in New York City where it had a great signal. “It reached the baby boomers at their teenage peak and along the way distributed thousands of sweatshirts imprinted with a smiley faced logo to an enthusiastic audience that drove the station to ratings records,” noted a website devoted to the legend.

WMCA was an independent radio station with no network affiliation. In 1958 the management developed idea of creating “Top 40” radio, a simple concept: Repeat the most popular songs from a playlist.  The station adopted a novel “team radio” format, where all the air personalities worked together as a cohesive group.

I spent the better part of my radio listening hours getting to know The Good Guys: Joe O’Brien, Harry Harrison, Jack Spector, Don Davis, Harriott, Dandy Dan Daniel, Ed “The Big Bad Bear” Baer. My favorite was B. Mitchel Reed (BMR).

The Good Guys all had the same clean cut haircuts, wore the same suits and worked together at record hops and personal appearances. They sang songs as a group and released a record album “The Good Guys Sing”. They also gave away to lucky listeners sweatshirts emblazoned with the happy face prototype.

5 thoughts on “A Few Good Guys

  1. Michael Dooley

    I remember the Good Guys in the early 1960s… but I also remember when dinosaurs ruled the earth.

    And I’m grateful to them for providing, as they say, the soundtrack to my youth. It was on WMCA that I first heard “Be My Baby”… a transformative experience.

    As the above photo suggests, the Good Guys were fairly indistinguishable. They seemed to have a blended “corporate” identity in comparison with “star” personalities on other early 1960s New York rock ‘n’ roll stations, like Cousin Brucie (ugh!) and Murray the K (ack!). However, I do remember being hypnotized by the auctioneer pacing of B.M.R.’s voice (and a bit annoyed by his horn honking).

    And I can’t talk about the station without mentioning Barry Gray’s hour long 11 p.m. talk show (which I started tuning into when Jean Shepherd’s ten to midnight narratives no longer hooked me). For a pre-teen in a very conservative town in Queens, his smart and fascinating, left-leaning program was a real eye-opener into a more refreshing and liberating world. And I continue to feel indebted to him for helping to prepare me for my subsequent political maturity.

    I can’t think of any design-related angle to justify posting this comment on Imprint. But thanks anyway for the “goldie,” Steve.

  2. Steven Heller Post author

    Here’s a comment from:

    I remember playing “nightclub” with my cousins while listening to the good guys at night. We would turn all the lights down in the kitchen’s breakfast nook, drink soda and feel very cool. Do you remember Allison Steele of WNEW? (“come fly with me, the night bird”). http://www.angelfire.com/tv2/eccentric/alison.htm#one1
    By kspitzhoff August 22, 2010