Fanatic5 - Family Passions
Music, FM Radio and the 1960's
Fanatic5 - Family Passions
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In My Father's Memory

By the mid 1960's, cutting edge rock music responded by appearing on the newly created FM radio band, which was considered an "underground" means of airing music that favored longer songs, more controversial material and less restrictive programming styles. These DJ's began a revolution by eliminating the loudmouth hype between "Top 40" songs and adopting a cool, understated attitude, while playing music that previously never made it to the airwaves.

The mid 1960's witnessed the Vietnam war, political protests and racial riots that brought about social unrest, tumultuous times and extremely passive radio broadcasting. The counterculture revolution, the "children of the 60's" who later became the working class and yuppies of the 1970's, ultimately "killed" the movement (when the fringe culture became big business).

Regardless, this was an era of unknown bands and rare recordings of "far out" garage and psychedelic music. The years of 1965 through 1973 were the most experimental days of Rock and Roll, still reflected in todays music.

" anyone who has ever listened to true underground radio knows, it has never been simply about format. Underground radio is, and has always been, about an outlaw mentality. Listening to true underground radio should give you a sense of something forbidden. That you have somehow accidentally stumbled across something a little off the beaten path that you weren't supposed to find at all. Something that could be dangerous. Something that, at the very least, is probably really pissing off somebody, somewhere, in a position of authority."


Cal Brady (WYSL, WPHD, WBUF) was one of a few DJ's
to influence the early Buffalo "FM" underground scene.

Cal at WBUF-FM (mid 1970's)

WYSL-FM (Buffalo, NY) went on the air January 9, 1969. During the first year, the station aired from 7:00 pm until 5:00 am, at which time, WYSL-AM would simulcast their "Top 40" plan. In the early 1970's, WPHD-FM mutated from what WYSL-FM was all about, becoming too refined and predictable. The success of WPHD-FM spawned Buffalo's WGRQ-FM, which ended quality radio in the area. The station started to research and focus on specific groups with tight playlists and were generally afraid to play music that might cause a "tune out" factor. This belief pretty much destroyed the progressive rock radio mode around the country. See timeline below.

  • 1969-1970    WYSL-FM on the air (10 hours daily from 7:00pm - 5:00am)
  • 1970               Call letters changed to WPHD-FM (24 hour broadcast)
  • 1970-1974    WPHD-FM establishes strong reputation
  • 1974               WPHD-FM sold (format changes)
  • 1975               WGRQ-FM goes on the air with WPHD DJ's
  • 1975               WBUF-FM airs with progressive rock format


The Buffalo Evening News (mid 1970's)
The end of progressive rock radio in Buffalo


The 1960's was a decade full of cultural and political revolution. A decade that witnessed the Civil Rights movement, political riots, groundbreaking music, landing on the moon and the Vietnam War. The decade was filled with dramatic emotions and changes. A period based on serenity, love, brutality, protests, war, racism, liberation and revolutionary ideas. By 1969, the decade culminated with "Woodstock" as a symbol of peace, love and music.


"We are here to make a better world.

No amount of rationalization or blaming can preempt the moment of choice each of us brings to our situation here on this planet. The lesson of the 60's is that people who cared enough to do right could change history.

We didn't end racism but we ended legal segregation.

We ended the idea that you could send half-a-million soldiers around the world to fight a war that people do not support.

We ended the idea that women are second-class citizens.

We made the environment an issue that couldn't be avoided.

The big battles that we won cannot be reversed. We were young, self-righteous, reckless, hypocritical, brave, silly, headstrong and scared half to death . . . 

. . . and we were right."

Abbie Hoffman

Long Live Vinyl

Buffalo Springfield was one of the most influential American bands of the late 1960's. With Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, the group had three talented singers, songwriters and guitarists. Their folk and country backgrounds helped to integrate the challenges of the 1960's (war, civil rights, politics) into a powerful and cohesive rock sound for the ages.


Buffalo Springfield
"For What It's Worth"
Stephen Stills, 1966

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, now, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down...

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
Berthold Auerbach

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