Nat Asch

Mistah Nat is here!

Nat Asch

I was hired by Jack Sullivan during the NY Giants football season of 1962 to continue producing their radio broadcasts after Giants broadcast rights were acquired by WNEW Radio. (I had been the Sports Director of WMGM-WHN, the Brooklyn Dodgers station;–yes, I knew Jackie Robinson,– and had been producing those broadcasts since 1949.)

Nat Asch (3rd from left) during NY Giants broadcas

It was in mid-season that Jack offered me full-time work to replace TWO of his heavyweights, Bill Persky and Sam Denoff, to, quoting Jack, “fill in the interstices..and other creative projects.” My title was Director of Special Projects..a title that Klavan and Finch especially enjoyed, with Gene Klavan creating the character of Mistah Nat, making me an immediate if minor New York celebrity.

I subsequently was responsible for Ted Brown returning, Freddie Robbins coming to the station to do his weekend show, “Robin’s Nest;” I also influenced the hiring Jim Lowe, created promotions and on-air contests, wrote and produced promos for all on-air personalities and sporting events, e.g.WNEW broadcast five major track and field meets every winter. The station won the coveted “Clio” award specifically for Giants football and mail-in-contest promos in 1964-5. The Giants football promo campaign consisted of Giants players doing snatches of Shakespeare; i.e. Sam Huff doing Henry V’s speech entreating his forces, “Once more into the breach….” before the game against Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns. It was, I believe, the first Clio awarded a radio station. (One contest that enjoyed considerable success was run for “people who hated radio contests. We gave away four and a half radios: one for each room in a NYC apartment. The grand prize was a 1922 fire engine pumper, which was won by a city couple who immediately sold it back to us for two hundred dollars. John Kluge decided that if we could get it back, he could use it. After reporting on the hilarious journey of the fire engine to Kluge’s farm in Pennsylvania, we found out that the moment it was delivered, that master of the bottom line applied for and received a lower insurance rate since he now had a piece of fire equipment on his property.)

In 1966 Sullivan was elevated (and gifted with a Cadillac convertible) to radio division president. His successor, Harvey Glascock, came up from Philadelphia’s WIP to run the station. (Buddy Hackett, who did a Sunday show for us, was in Las Vegas at the time. When I told him the name of the new GM, Hackett paused and said in his Brooklyn accent and exquisite timing, “well..I soitenly hope he doesn’t fall down!”) In July of 1966, P.D. Varner Paulsen was promoted to GM of Metromedia’s station in Oakland. Glascock determined that I should become his Program Director. Three weeks later he changed his mind and asked Gerry Graham, then News Director to be his Program Director. I was dismayed, disappointed and determined to leave. Sullivan prevailed on me to remain because he had intentions of turning WNEW-FM, which had been simulcasting WNEW Radio’s signal, into a separate entity and wanted me to be its PD.

In 1967 George Duncan and I moved to WNEW-FM where we began broadcasting with an all-girl talent lineup. It was an idea, it would appear, before its time. (Also, we should have changed the damn call letters to WPMS!) We went to Folk-rock in the fall of that year. Hello, Rosko, Alison, Muni and Schwartz.

                                                              photos added by WNEW1130 editors


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