A fun trivia question

Rick Kelly rickkelly@gmail.com
Sat May 5 23:15:15 EDT 2007

On 5/5/07, Dan Strassberg <dan.strassberg@att.net> wrote:

> Mac Richmond didn't invent the phrase "color radio" by a longshot. I went to
> college in New York's Capital District from September 1952 to May 1956.
> Around 1954, WTRY Troy was sold to a group from Providence RI that already
> owned WEAN there. WTRY promptly dropped the enormously popular and
> profitable CBS Radio affiliation for Albany-Schenectady-Troy and became an
> independent station. Even before then, they staged a BIG promotion "WTRY is
> now broadcasting in Color Radio." I think the only new equipment the station
> bought were some new cartridges for the turntables. (I guess they also had
> to buy kits to add the 45-RPM speed to the 33-1/3-78 RPM tables because the
> Color Eadio promotion more-or-less coincided with the record industry shift
> to 45 RPM.) As at WMEX some four years later, the Color Radio promotion was
> PURE unadulterated hype, but it was just as successful in the Capital
> District as it was here. Everybody was talking about it and the phones at
> the station rang off the hook with listeners calling to tell them how much
> they appreciated the station's great "new" sound. I also doubt whether WTRY
> was the first station to promote Color Radio. Randy English, the PD at WTRY,
> and Mac Richmond both read the trade publications assiduously and they knew
> a winning promotion when they heard about it. I wonder how many US and
> Canadian stations promoted Color Radio. I'd guess hundreds--maybe thousands.

WTRY was sold in '55. I don't think WTRY dropped CBS. It was the other
way around, with Lowell Thomas, part owner of WROW, pulling some
strings to move CBS over there. In
fact, the loss of CBS may have convinced WTRY's original owner, Harry
Wilder, to sell while the station still had ratings (thinking it was all
over for 'TRY). Of course, the new owners flipped it to Top 40 and the
numbers took off even more. They sold it to Kops two years later for three
times what they paid for it. I don't know who invented the Color Radio
moniker. I thought it was Chuck Blore, but maybe he stole it from somewhere
else. I don't beleive WTRY was using color radio until they bought that jingle
package (in '58?) - but not sure.

Rick Kelly

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