Super Groups In Concert

During the 1970s, rock concerts began to be broadcast on mainstream radio, and quickly developed a strong following. The King Biscuit Flower Hour was the first to break through, and it ran on Sunday nights for over 20 years, across almost 300 stations. The Flower Hour would send the stations reel-to-reel tapes within weeks of the original performance. That quick turnaround helped fuel interest in the artists, their tours and radio in general. Unfortunately, a fire in 1982 destroyed many of those original recordings. That lost inventory seems to have moved collector interest toward the ABC Radio Network — the other radio concert pioneer that emerged at that time.

In 1978, then Vice President of ABC Radio Network Programming, Richard A. Foreman, developed a way to move the network beyond news and sports by tapping into the lucrative entertainment space. He did that through concert programming and by getting ABC to agree to actually “press” records. The concerts. Airing 8-10pm, the program debuted with a performance by the band Chicago. It premiered on May 12, 1978, on over 300 affiliate stations, and the results were immediate and impressive. Almost eight million listeners tuned in, which was three times as many people typically delivered for that period. More than three million of them were in the highly desired age group of 18-24. Station managers across the country raved. WBUF in Buffalo said they had received more listener phone response than any concert they had run before. WXKX in Pittsburgh said the recording delivered impressive technical quality, that it was “exceptional.” Most programming directors wanted to know when they could get more. Big name acts like The Moody Blues and Peter Frampton followed, and the program grew to other genres, and it drove special themed packages that would enjoy multiple airs. It was an all-out success that continued into the mid-1980s with a who’s who roster of blue-chip performers.

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