Larry Ware at 4 years of Age
Larry Ware
signals his age.

Larry's First Radio Bicycle, 1973
Larry's First
Radio Bicycle, 1973

Larry in 1974
Larry in 1974

The Radio Bike, 1975
The Radio Bike, 1975

Hope Ware at WPEO, 1988
Hope Ware at WPEO, 1988

Larry Ware today, Airchecks ready!
Larry Ware 2000, Airchecks ready!

The Larry Ware Collection

Larry Ware writes that his Top-40 radio exposure began in 1961.

"At just four years old, my older sister gave me her pink Westinghouse radio to listen to. "Big Bad John" was playing on Peoria's own WIRL 1290 at that time and I listened all that day. I was hooked for life.

In high school, I woke up to Larry Lujack on WLS and awaited his amusing "Klunk Letter" every morning. During my sophomore year in high school, I borrowed the family reel-to-reel, an old tube 1956 Philco/VM, and began recording from WLS, WCFL, and WIRL from an old Majestic radio.

I really loved Top-40 radio in the early 70's and couldn't go anywhere without it. I installed a 1962 Ford car radio on my old Schwinn in high school. It was with this "radio bike" that I would occasionally ride to Grand View Drive (a drive overlooking the Illinois River valley) at night and listen to "Beaker Street" on KAAY.

I also made a portable car radio from an old record player cabinet to take to the parks with high school friends to play Frisbee. The radio would belt out WLS and Super CFL and fill the playing field with sound. I took this early "boom box" everywhere and made several versions of it.

In 1973 a friend, Dale Myers, gave me a sensitive 1959 Sherwood tuner. At one time I had logged 50 different AM rock stations received on the Sherwood tuner from Peoria. With this tuner I extended my taping range to New York for Chuck Leonard from 770 WABC and Wolfman Jack from 660 WNBC.

In 1983 I met my wife, Hope Holliday, at a local 2-year college where we were both studying for future careers in broadcasting. Hope later became the morning announcer on WPEO 1020 Christian Radio. I began working at WTVP-TV 47, Peoria's PBS television affiliate. I worked in Master Control and Traffic at WTVP until 1996. (Hope and I have both appeared on "Pledge Drives" at WTVP since then.) Until February 2002, I worked with The Iona Group in Morton, IL., where I managed the videotape library for Pioneer Hi-Bred, Inc.

I'm currently back at WTVP, part-time, and am working full-time for the City of Peoria as a Police Information Technician. My Hobbies include biking, hiking, backpacking, photography, piano, audio editing, and collecting vintage radios and television receivers, and broadcast history (both television and radio).

I discovered REELRADIO about 3 years ago while doing a search for "Larry Lujack" and was thrilled to be able to listen to Larry and scores of other DJs that I had never heard of before! What a great way to share what was the best format in radio ever! This is such a great website and a tribute to an American treasure - Top-40 radio!

A few years ago I started collecting airchecks as a hobby. For my 25th year Woodruff High School class reunion (Class of '75), instead of hiring a "DJ", the committee hired me (for free - such a deal!) to run some vintage airchecks from 1970 - 1974. These featured Larry Lujack and John Landecker complete with the original commercials, jingles, and news to run during the banquet. It was like an audio time capsule playing in the background! The old sounds from WLS and WCFL really helped bring back some great memories that evening. I'm now privileged to share these airchecks and memories through the RT40RR web site, thanks to your interest and support of this site."

The Repository thanks Larry Ware for sharing!

[Descriptions by Larry Ware ]

G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 16.2 Kbps (8 Khz)
WNBC New York Billion Dollar Show, August 28, 1952 (27:35)

. . . The richest person cannot buy for himself what the poorest gets free, by radio . . .

[Description by Larry Ware]

WNBC celebrates 30 years of commercial broadcasting with Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding, (otherwise known as Bob & Ray), and Fred Allen. This historic broadcast was a look back over WNBC's then 30 years of broadcasting since the first commercial announcement on August 28, 1922. A portion of that first commercial is featured, along with many transcriptions and songs of the era.

Bob and Ray put in their wry humorous slant on the progress of broadcasting and advertising. Fred Allen gives a lighthearted spoof on the first WEAF radio listener without which, he says, radio would have never been successful.

Fred Allen: "If the first little man had not listened to WEAF and told his friends that the air was fraught with music, news, and entertainment, the work of the mighty executives and the various talented stars would have been in vain." . . . "Has the name of WEAF's first listener been mentioned here tonight? No!"

This aircheck came from aircheck collector Bob Gilmore.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7 Kbps (10 Khz)
Alan Freed WINS New York March 23, 1955 (58:36)

. . . "It's certainly a shame to single out the teenagers in this country and make everybody look at them. Just because they are teenagers, it happens to be a sin. Uh, teenagers I've been dealing with for 13 years. They're the greatest and most wonderful age group in America. Since when does it become a crime to become a teenager?" . . .

[Description by Larry Ware]
Alan Freed, 1955
Alan Freed, 1955

This is very classic, very enthusiastic Alan Freed on WINS/New York. He sings along with most of the songs, answers letters, relays messages to and from listeners, plays his cow bell, encourages his teenage audience, and spins all those "original" recordings - great stuff.

It's obvious from listening to this aircheck that Mr. Freed thoroughly enjoyed the music he played and loved his work in radio. Most often he names the record label along with the title and artist and "bops" along to the beat.

At 36:26 into this aircheck, Alan talks about a dance on March 25th to raise money for "World Service" and gives us some insight as to how much he loved his audience.

It's tragic that in only 4 years from this recording that Alan Freed would be on his way down with the Payola scandal of '59 and eventually die at an early age of 43.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7 Kbps (10 Khz)
Lee Ranson WIRL Peoria, IL April 5 1963 (09:21)

. . . "A very good time frantic Friday evening to you my friendly. Leapin' Lee on all Request Nest 'till Midnight tonight" . . .

[Description by Larry Ware]
WIRL Splash Party, 1963
WIRL Splash Party, 1963, (L-R) Ron Thorne, Bruce Chamberlain, Lee Ranson

Lee Ranson, a Peoria native, began working for WIRL in 1960 fresh from communications studies at the University of Denver. He ran a top-rated airshift from 8:00 PM to Midnight called the "Go Show." WIRL had a strong presence in Peoria in the 60's and was number one in this market at that time. Lee's show ran higher in audience shares in the Peoria market than the highly popular Dick Biondi (WLS) for the PM time slot. Lee told me that he once met Dick Biondi through a former WIRL DJ that went to work for WLS. Mr. Biondi told Lee that he wanted to meet the only man that beat him in the ratings in the state of Illinois!

Lee Ranson, 1963
Lee Ranson, 1963
Lee Ranson recorded this resume tape to send to WIBG/Philadelphia, PA. Their overnight man later filled the opening so Lee remained in Peoria. The original 4" Scotch tape, loaned to me by Lee Ranson, represents the oldest known WIRL aircheck. This aircheck was recorded and scoped at the studios by the WIRL engineer at 7.5 ips.

Thanks to Lee Ranson for providing this aircheck!

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 44.1 Kbps (20 Khz)
WIRL PAMS 15,16,17,26 (1963) (06:57)

. . . Wonderful W-I-R-L, The Home of Big Red! . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky]

WIRL Big Red Ruler

The Larry Ware Collection will eventually include many exhibits of even greater interest, but Uncle Ricky really appreciated these PAMS classics from Series 15,16,17, and 26. Although I was only 12 years old and not yet working in radio when these packages were purchased by WIRL, what a delight to discover they utilize my favorite "Wonderful" logo! So, it's obvious that this is a really "wonderful" compilation. Larry also asked me to credit, where there is much more about The Big 1290.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7 Kbps (10 Khz)
Harry Harrison, WMCA New York, September 21, 1968 (01:15:29)

. . . Oh! When the red light goes on, I talk! . . .

[Description by Larry Ware]

Picture of Harry
Harry Harrison
Harry Harrison worked in Peoria, IL at WPEO AM 1020 just prior to going to WMCA New York. Harry was the Programming Director at WPEO and brought the station to the number one spot in just six-months after his arrival. He was known as the "Morning Mayor" while working in Peoria.

Harry went to WMCA in November of 1959. His 10 AM to 2 PM show became a particular hit among housewives. Harry was one of the original "Good Guys" on WMCA.

This aircheck was recorded on his last day at WMCA before going to WABC. Oscar Rose is featured with news.

Harry's delivery style is as smooth as ever, something he hasn't changed in over 40 years of broadcasting.

Harry Harrison retired from WCBS 101.1 FM in March 2003. He is one of the finest in radio broadcasting and was willing to share pictures, letters, and information with me. He is a very warm and giving person. I'm proud to say that he got his early experience in my own hometown, Peoria!

This aircheck was provided to me by Aaron Mintz.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7 Kbps (10 Khz)
Larry Lujack, WLS Chicago, April 26, 1971 (29:56)

. . . Up, Up and Away - Larry Lujack starts your day . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky]

Larry Lujack
WLS, 1970

REELRADIO pays music licensing fees to present unedited music online. Your tax-deductible subscription to our organization helps keep this and other "unscoped" exhibits available.
A portion of ABC News includes a clip from Vice-President Spiro Agnew, and then WLS newsman Lyle Dean opens this 30 minute, unscoped aircheck of Larry Lujack's 7AM hour on April 26, 1971.

Those fabulous WLS stagings and PAMS jingles are always a treat, but this aircheck includes an extra surprise: Larry's Double-Clunk Letters of the Day (actually, double invitations) and the feature is introduced by a produced "da da dum, da da dum, da da dum", instead of Larry's usual solo acapella (at 23:54, PLAY.)

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7 Kbps (10 Khz)
John Records Landecker, WLS Chicago, March 12, 1974 (20:26)

. . . If we get over $500 Bob Sirott says he will streak The Michigan Avenue Bridge on Thursday. Ha, Ha, many are in for a severe disappointment . . .

[Description by Larry Ware]

When John Records Landecker came to WLS in 1972, "The Big 89" became THE station we listened to in Peoria. John was funny and having fun at the same time. This aircheck is a great example of what I remember of John Landecker from my high school years. WLS really cashed in on the Streak craze of '74 on this broadcast.

As of August 2002, John Landecker can be heard on Chicago's "Oldies 104.3" WJMK. He is as witty as ever.

Thanks to fellow aircheck collector Bob Gilmore for providing this aircheck.

  H I G H L I G H T S  

At 0:55: WLS announcer: "we have no more fashionable streak suits "

At 2:08: John Landecker before his jingle: "Let's all say our name!"

At 4:00: BB King for Schlitz and Jeffrey Hendrix for WLS News. (Steven Weed re: Patty Hearst)

At 06:47: WLS personalities will be selling Shamrocks for Muscular Dystrophy.

At 07:34: "The WLS Music Radio Streak Sticker"

At 13:23: "John Landecker starring in 'Press My Conference'" - parody song.

At 16:57: "Americana Panorama" "-sold your Bowie"

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The Larry Ware Collection has been part of REELRADIO since May 19, 2002.

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