Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Howard Green Stations

I had never heard of Howard L. Green. But then, about a week ago, I read a quote in Radio-Info that got me asking some questions about Philadelphia radio history. 
"The five stations it bid on are still known around South Jersey as “the Howard Green stations”, despite having been acquired by Access.1 from the Green estate and then by Atlantic."
Howard Green died in 2002, at the end of a 50-year career as a radio and television magnate. He was 72 years old. His empire was based in Linwood, NJ; a neighborhood off Scull Bay to the South west of Atlantic City. His first gig in radioland was in at 1230 WENY-AM in Elmira, NY. he was still a college student. He moved from there to 1350 WCBA-AM in Corning, NY. Later, he was an announcer and salesman at 1380 WAYZ-AM in Waynesboro, PA.
He came to New Jersey in 1957 for a gig as GM of a news talker, 1400 WOND-AM and shortly after that, he purchased it. He built 103.7 WOSJ, which started broadcasting in 1961 from Pleasantville, NJ and later re-licensed to Atlantic City. Before that move they also changed calls to WMGM. They picked up the calls after 1050 dropped them in new york following their payola scandal in 1962. The station ran an automated "Wim-Gim" Top-40 format in the 60s. Then flipped to rock in the 70s.. still automated. Sort of hideous really. More here.

He later went back and bout 1230 WENY-AM and then 92.7 WENY-FM. He became the owner of the first station he worked at. It probably felt pretty good. In 1991, he bought 1580 WTYO-AM in Hammonton, NJ. After buying the station he changed the calls to WONZ-AM, then in 2001 changed them again to WGYM-AM. He also picked up 1240 WMMB-AM in Melbourne, FL one of the last stations he bought was 1440 WJAB-AM in Portland, ME he company name was South Jersey Radio, Inc. But everybody knew the name Howard Green.

His radio ownership was just a piece of the whole picture. He also owned TV stations, newspapers and at the age of 29, he was elected President of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. Later he became the group's President and later Chairman of their Board of Directors. The Millennium radio group actually gives out a Howard L. Green scholarship. His legacy is assured... in some ways. He'd also be horrified to see WOND-AM and WMGM are all presently owned by the "Atlantic Board of Linwood NJ LLC, Debtor-in-Possession." That's right, it's being held not by his estate, but by outside interests who own it's debt. That's all that's left of South Jersey Radio, Inc.