I just got off the phone with my buddy who told me Pete Fornatale died a couple weeks ago. Now that I'm living in Massachusetts, the news of New York disc jockeys doesn't make the headlines. But it should. This paragraph from his obit in the NY Times brings back all those rock-n-roll memories:
Mr. Fornatale was at the forefront of the FM revolution, along with WNEW-FM colleagues like Scott Muni, Rosko, Vin Scelsa, Dennis Elsas, Jonathan Schwartz and Alison Steele (who called herself “the Nightbird”). They played long versions of songs, and sometimes entire albums, and talked to their audiences in a conversational tone very different from the hard-sell approach of their AM counterparts.Fornatale! Muni! Elsas! I grew up in northern New Jersey listening to WNEW and the New York rock stations and there was an intimacy with these DJs that simply does not exist with the loudmouth drive-time jerks which populate the airwaves today. One of my favorite segments on WNEW was the "Perfect Album Side" where fans would suggest a side to listen to, non-stop and commercial free (e.g. side 1 of "Born to Run.") And, boy, did they know their music from artist to liner notes.
Dennis Elsas has a tribute to Fornatale up at his WFUV page. I'm going to listen and remember Pete.