Thursday, May 08, 2014

Three Generations of Rambling and Gambling

John Gambling was getting up at 2:00 AM to make his 6:00 AM start time for his morning radio show on 710 WOR-AM for decades. But it wasn't just his show, it was his father show and his grandfathers show before him. Rambling With Gambling was the descendant of 3 generations of radio talk show hosts and had been passed down like a homestead, antique rocking chair or rifle. The chrome had worn off but it still worked just fine. It ended an 88-year run for the Gamblings and generated less fanfare than you'd think. More here.

John B. gambling began the program in 1925. The station had been on the air for less than 3 years. This was back when  Bamberger's department store in Newark still owned WOR. The original title was Gambling's Musical Clock. The program and the station endured little change from the inception. In 1927, following General Order 40, WOR moved to 710 from its spot as share-time on 833. It remains on that stick to this day.  John A. Gambling became host in 1959. Clearly determined to continue the dynasty, he started to bring his son, John R. Gambling, to the show as co-host beginning in 1985. When the John A. retired in 1991 John R. Gambling took over as the 3rd Gambling. He'd already been a college radio DJ at Boston University's 89.3 WTBU. More here.

But there was one interruption to the 88-year winning streak. In September of 2000, WOR cancelled the program. Until that moment it was the longest continually-running radio show in America. The second-longest running show was elated to now become the first...the Grand Ole Opry. 770 WABC-AM then hired Gambling essentially re-launching the franchise. But WOR owned the rights to the name "Rambling with Gambling" so the new show became "The John Gambling Show." But even that couldn't last. In January 2008, WABC laid off Gambling!  By all reports it wasn't personal... the station was having serious money problems following it's sale by the Walt Disney Company to Citadel. More here.
But by 2008 WOR found itself in a different situation. Citadel had righted the station and welcomed back it's former heritage program. In 2008 John R. Gambling returned the show to its rightful home. Then just 5 years later Gambling announced he would retire at the end of 2013 and move to Florida with his wife....But that didn't last. Gambling was back on air within a year. Jerry Crowley, a VP at Salem communication wooed Gambling for months. In April they announced that John R. Gambling will be on air 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM in New York. Part of his deal allows that he will be working remotely part of the year from Florida.