Rags Magazine -- 1970s counterculture and fashion
I listened to Pigg growing up on Long Island on WPLJ-FM, which was named after an old r'n'b song Frank Zappa covered on his album Burnt Weenie Sandwich.Yes, those were the days!Underground FM rock on the radio before headin' off to high school.
Thanks for checking in, Tony! I miss those days, too. Not the high school part, though. High school sucked.
I listened to Tony Pigg (live from San Francisco) on American Forces Network.. I was in bed ...aged 13...in Liverpool. Sweet memory...
I listened to both Tony and "Brother" John Rydgren during the sweet summer of 1970 when they were both disc jockeys at what was then KABC-FM in Los Angeles ("Stereo Ninety-Five & A Half!"), before it became known as KLOS-FM the following year. I was 15 going on 21 at the time, spending the summer with my mom in Long Beach, an emigre' from the stifling environment that I'd grown up in, spec. North Platte, Nebraska. All we had there was Top 40, country/western & religious AM radio stations, and I guess in a way I was grateful for the Top 40 stations because they at least kept me SOMEWHAT abreast of the great music that was taking shape as the psychedelic age slowly merged into the progressive/underground music of the 70s. Anyway, there I was, having one of the greatest summers of my life.....and one day, I'm music surfing with my mom's AM/FM Zenith clock radio, and I stumble across this station that's actually playing ALBUM TRACKS of the coolest albums in existence at the time--I mean, my f***ing JAW is hanging open, because I'm hearing Traffic, The James Gang, Rod Stewart, Dave Mason, Procol Harum, Quintessence, Pacific Gas & Electric, CSNY, Creedence, Richie Havens, Deep Purple, Grand Funk, Judy Collins, Mountain, Neil Young, McCartney....I'm just sitting there in utter disbelief, because this 15 year old kid here, up until that point, didn't even know (yet) that this burgeoning new form of radio called "Underground FM Rock" was manifesting and about to take the sophisticated rock radio world by storm. And the 2 jocks that I heard the most, for the remainder of that summer I spent there, were Tony Pigg and John Rydgren. And what neither of those guys knew then was that they had planted a seed in me--I loved this new radio format so much (and came to love it even more after seeing the movie of WOODSTOCK that summer) that I made up my mind that, one way or another--as the music freak I'd always been and knew I always would be--I was going to become an FM jock at some point in my life.....if not as a way of making a living, then just as a labor of love. 3 years later, as I entered my sophomore year of college at Kearney State College in Kearney, Nebraska, I declared myself a Broadcasting Major, and in December of 1973, did my first FM rock radio show on our campus station, KOVF-FM 91.3. I proceeded to do radio shows non-stop (summers included) until I graduated from college in December of 1977. And I have 3 men to thank for inspiring me to become an FM jock: Tony, John, and the legendary Clyde Clifford, who did the equally-legendary AM RADIO "underground rock" program called BEAKER STREET, on 1090-AM, out of Little Rock, Arkansas. These three guys literally changed my life for the better. I hope to have the chance to tell both Tony and Clyde that in person someday soon, and it saddens me that John is no longer with us. It saddens me even more that all the big FM rock stations have more or less fallen to the corporate monster that contributed to the unnecessary downfall of true FM rock radio, turning once great stations into vast wastelands that play the same sh*t over and over and over and over. The glory days are long gone, and I guess we can be grateful today for online radio shows and college stations that still bring us great music we would otherwise possibly never hear. So, THANK YOU, Tony, for being a vital part of my formative years.....along with John & Clyde, you made all the difference in my life. Peace.....
What a great story, Olias! Thanks for sharing it with us. Are you still an FM jock, and if so, where can we hear you?
I grew up at WPLJ, literally. My step-dad was head of promotion and advertising from 1970-1980, I was 6-16 during these years and spent these formative years at the radio station in the ABC building on 6th Ave. For a time my mom also worked there in spot sales for WABC, so it was a family affair. I used to take the 166 into the city from like 9 years old to Tony Pigg, John Zacherle, Pat St. John were like uncles, very cool-ass uncles to me and I loved being in that environment, soaking up all the good tunes, dj characters, station staff, guest musicians, going to 100's of concerts from the Bottom Line to MSG, passing out t-shirts, posters and buttons, getting to sit in the press seats at MSG for Zeppelin, Floyd, Alice Cooper, at ages 10, 12, 14 etc., etc. Going to music industry events and parties, becoming friends with the kids of station workers, PLJ dj's and dj's from WNEW, and their families/kids. Coolest childhood ever. Ever, period. Exclamation point!or should I say g-clef? ha haI had a special affection for and a little girl crush on my friend Tony Pigg. Tony used to let me sit with him in the on-air booth and sometimes read the last track or lp played and say the call letters and numbers of the station on the air. I cherished being near him, getting to watch him in action I felt like the kid mascot of the station during that crazy wonderful and sometimes terrible decade in NYC. I brought my fourth grade class to WPLJ for a class trip and still have the thank you letters written by my classmates to my step-dad and the folks he worked with for their kind treatment of a bunch of 10 and 11 yr olds from Joisey(Leonia). As Olias was inspired, so too was I. I started singing in punk, jazz, rock and reggae bands when I was 15, went on to tour the US and world as a back up singer for California-based roots reggae bands, sang on a few cd's for various artists who needed vocals, became involved as a staff member in two of the largest reggae and world music festivals in northern Cali in the 90's and 00's. Before that, I was a dj with my show called Alphabet City(where we hung out as young punk rockers in NYC) on my college radio station WLFR at Stockton St College in south Jersey from 91-95, and after I moved out to Cali in 1996, I was a dj from 05-09 on a local community radio station out of Guerneville, CA called KGGV. I produced and dj'd my own show called DubFunkShun, mostly roots reggae, dub and rock steady, but also Funk and Punk, cause I love those genres as well. Music has been essential to my life, producing, promoting and performing and I've treasured the time I've gotten to spend on the air bringing music and my vibrant personality to all who ever listened. I'm back in North Jersey as of 09, and am thinking of getting back to it, by applying for a spot on some of the amazing college radio stations around the tri-state. I miss being on the air. Like Olias I have watched real radio get eaten by the machine and what we're left with could never compare to what had gone before. I honestly feel so bad for the youth of today, for although they have the world of music at their tech savvy fingertips, they do not have the community and culture of radio as we did. So youth of today, find your local college and or community radio station, and support it any way you can. Thanks for reading, and if anyone who happens to read this on here wants to get in touch to help me with that book, I'm firstname.lastname@example.org Happy Thanksgiving!
I wanted to edit that last long comment for it to read what it should have which was "I used to take the 166 into the city from like 9 years old from Leonia(NJ) to Port Authority, walk thru times square when it was cool with shady criminals, crappy porno's drug dealers, pimps, transvestites and other hookers, over to Ave of the Americas and the ABC bldg. After I checked in with my mom, step dad or his sec'y, I headed directly to the studio and on-air booth." then it should pick up with Tony Pigg, John.....etc.
Lots of amazing memories here! Thanks for sharing.
I knew him in fall of 1962 as Tony Bigg on KROY Sacramento, before he moved to KYA San Francisco,and then to the very big KGO San Francisco (ABC owned and operated) where he did early eveningson the FM. I was a disc jockey know as The FAT KIDD, a name Tony gave me in fall of 62. At that time,Tony did afternoon traffic on KROY, was music director, and the highest paid in Sacramento at $250 a week. We were IBEW at the time and scale was $150 per week, and you couldlive comfortable on that. I was age 19, living at home, going to collage, a working at KROY: so I'mlike a rich guy. loved being a disc jockey all 4 years of college. Bill Drake formats took over westcoast in 65 (KFRC in SF abd KHJ in LA) and the fun was gone. I went to Law School, did only"transactional real estate" (like Trump) made a lot of $$$, and retired at 45. As of January 2017,I am 72, and at 9am turn on the TV to hear Tony start "LIVE"----Michael Lasich
Thanks for sharing your story, Michael!
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