Monday, April 27, 2009

Soul Countdown!

Spider Harrison hosted the Show Soul Countdown on 1510 WLAC-AM starting in 1978. This was a bad ass R&B program that couldn't even exist today under the male constraints of contemporary R&B. He was a New York native, but for him the Big time was at WLAC in Nashville.He was a college radio DJ on WCWP, Post College Long Island, and interned at WWRL. He became a Program and Music Director at 106.7 WTLC, Indianapolis. He was brought on at WLAC to replace Hep cat John R. (John Richbourg) at WLAC in 1973, which led to his hosting Soul Countdown 5 years later. The program ran until 1980. personally, I blame disco for it's untimely demise.

Let me frame that a little. Between 1977 and 1980 WLAC was the only radio station in America owned by Billboard magazine. They bough it from orignal owners Life and Casualty Insurance Company of Tennessee. Life and Casualty Insurance had made a big mistake. In 1972 they brought in a consultant who tried to go Top-40. John R. was essentially forced out. Amongst this chaos spider rose up. Kent Burkhardt, the man who brought you AOR, (WKTU, WQXI etc) came in to consult on their poppier format. But WLAC held onto the evening soul programming. That was where Spider came in and killed. He's got an aircheck up on his website.

Wood Sudbrink bought the station in 1980 and went all talk. In the 1980s the soul and gospel that once was carried at night was trimmed back until there was just brokered religious talk. When Clear Channel bough the station at least that distateful practice ended. On the other hand now its' another cookie-cutter conservative talk outlet under the Fox News talk brand. More here.

Spider survived his departure from WLAC just fine. He became the west coast director for Sugar Hill records. In 2008 it was rumored he was in talks with XM about his own program. In the end I don't think that happened.