Category Archives: cyndy drue

Lost Hits of the New Wave #24

“Antmusic” by Adam and the Ants

In my review, at Biff Bam Pop this week, of Adam Ant’s new album Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter, I talk a bit about my first impressions of Adam and the Ants. You can check it out here.

I remember playing both the Kings of the Wild Frontier and Prince Charming albums constantly and obsessively. I loved them. As I had mentioned before with The Police, I also got to see the music as well on “Rockworld.” It was the beginning of a life long love affair.

No matter how you slice it, Adam Ant is a true superstar of the New Wave, whether he agrees to the label or not. His career has spanned from the mid-1970s to today with this fabulous new album.

“Dog Eat Dog” by Adam and the Ants

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The End of an Era

Yesterday WYSP-FM changed their format and call letters to all sports and WIP-FM. I’m not a big sports fan other than Wings lacrosse and sometimes the Philadelphia Eagles or Dallas Cowboys (you know where to send the hate mail), I think it’s unfair for me to ask why we need another sports station in Philly, but there it is, ya know? It’s not the first time WYSP has changed formats, but never so drastic a change before.

I grew up with WYSP, from when I first became aware of FM radio in the mid-seventies to when I fell away from terrestrial radio a few years back and discovered the more eclectic satellite radio. In the radio wasteland of Philadelphia, WYSP was always the cooler, hipper choice when compared to direct rival WMMR and distant competitor WIOQ. I envisioned stoned ex-hippies at the former and future NPR listeners at the latter, whereas WYSP listeners seemed like either myself, or folks I wanted to hang out with. WYSP always had the new, newer and newest music and trends.

WYSP was originally the FM version of AM pop/rock station WIBG, and its call letters stood for “Your Station in Philadelphia.” It started rocking in the early 1970s and quickly became WMMR’s biggest competition. As I mentioned, WYSP always seemed to have newer music and harder rock than WMMR. Those that listened could usually tell the difference with hearing a DJ or a station ID. WYSP was the first place I heard DEVO, Adam and the Ants, the Sex Pistols, Joan Armatrading, and even Rick Springfield.

When WYSP had news, it was cool news, same with the talk. I remember the Source days with Cyndy Drue, the Dr. Demento show and the Comedy Hour on Sunday nights. I remember the engineer who did the dead-on Mr. Rogers imitation and recorded versions of “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Iron Man.” I remember Ask Anita. I remember listening to “Innerview” with Jim Ladd, as he talked with Roger Waters about what “The Wall” was really about, and when he interviewed Ray Manzarek telling apocryphal tales of the late Jim Morrison. I remember learning of John Lennon’s death from WYSP.

I remember the Howard Stern years, along with the Opie and Anthony years. I remember the two weeks after 9/11 when WYSP was all talk, taking calls from listeners twenty-four hours a day and letting them vent, grieve or just talk. This is not as sad as that, but it like losing a lifetime friend. Even if I haven’t seen you in a while, you were a friend. I will miss you, WYSP, and so will all of Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Goodbye, old friend…

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An Addendum for WYSP

An addendum, a correction and perhaps a not-so-polite request to get your head out of your ass to WYSP-FM.

Within WYSP’s not-yet-two-hours old new format they have been running interesting bits between the songs.

For instance, the announcer says that on such-and-such a date WMMR played “Heart of Glass” by Blondie. They only play rock on YSP, blah blah blah, etc.

Nice ploy, considering that WMMR and WYSP have been bitter rivals and competitors in the Philadelphia radio market for well over three decades.

The problem with that promotion is that it is, of course, pure bullshit.

Yes, WMMR might very well have played “Heart of Glass” maybe half a dozen times in its history, but if they did, I guarantee it was because WYSP did it first. They did it to keep up.

Anyone who was around in the late seventies and early eighties can easily tell you how it was with WMMR and WYSP. MMR was the dinosaur, playing Grateful Dead, Traffic and Eric Clapton until the cows came home. YSP was the innovator, testing the edge and always at least trying to be progressive. MMR listeners sat in the sun and smoked pot while YSP listeners were out dancing and hitting clubs.

I have tapes made from the radio that prove as much. WYSP played Blondie, they played Adam and the Ants. Also Devo, Talking Heads, the Clash, Elvis Costello, even, ahem, Rick Springfield. I have tape proof, remember? I heard my first Sex Pistols song on WYSP. WYSP was always on the verge of the new.

It was only when WIFI 92 changed from top 40 to new wave in 1982 that WMMR decided it had better get in gear and pay attention because music had changed. But before then, it was all WYSP.

So, WYSP, do your homework and quit lying to the public. And maybe if you did start playing some of that music you used to play circa 1980, more folks would listen.

Cyndy Drue, where are you now that we need you?

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