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The History of Rockin' Remnants
Rockin' Remnants as you know it was started on WVBR by George Hiller, circa 1972 (although there was a "Rockin' Remnants Show" on 640 WVBR-AM as far back as 1963, hosted by the Mighty Darry Sragow). Rockin' Remnants was originally conceived as a doo-wop show, although some rock 'n' roll and rhythm 'n' blues artists were played.
The show was on and off the air during the mid- to late 1970s. John Rudan first came on as a producer in 1974, and did his debut show in April of 1975 (the first song he ever played on Rockin' Remnants? "Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones).
In January 1981 the show was permanently reinstated on the air at WVBR with JR as the host. He has been the main host since then, although he's partnered with a varying line-up of co-hosts. Here is the current line-up, bringing you the great oldies sounds on Saturday night!
Long-time host John Rudan started at WVBR back in 1974 as a high school student. His voice has been heard on many different shows through the years (doing regular shifts, voicing radio ads, hosting Blues and Album Rock shows, even doing a stint on the Sports Round-up team), but he's currently concentrating on Remnants and Saturday afternoon's Vinyl Departure show.
John Simon has been co-hosting the show since August of 2003. His love of the music of the Remnants era began when he was growing up on New York City's Upper West Side and would listen to WMCA, WABC and WWRL, dreaming of eventually becoming a Beatle or a Miracle. He currently fronts the sixties-flavored band called Radio London. See??? Dreams do come true! JS also occasionally hosts the Vinyl Departure and Miles Ahead, the Sunday afternoon Jazz Show.
Kim Vaughan grew up listening to "oldies radio" and has been a devoted fan of Rockin’ Remnants since she first heard the show in 1998. She guest-hosted a 4-song set in 2009, co-hosted a Christmas hour with JR in Dec 2012 and an episode with JS in Jan 2013, and has been in rotation as a host ever since. Her favorite thing about Rockin’ Remnants is the mixture of “big hits and rare treasures” – she likes singing along with the big hits, and she feels like she’s unwrapping a gift every time she hears a rare treasure. KV is delighted to be part of the Rockin' Remnants team and to share the music she loves with others!
Q. What is that music that starts your show each week?
A. Cat Mother & the All-Night Newsboys' Good Ol' Rock 'n' Roll [summer of 1969; #29 on the Billboard Hot 100, produced by none other than Jimi Hendrix].
Q. Why do you play the whole thing each week?
A. It gives us a chance to cue up our first record, line up the backing tracks for our talk breaks, adjust headphone levels and mic height, check the paperwork and studio log and set the mood for the show - "when I was just a little boy you know my one and only joy was listening to that good ol' rock 'n' roll!"
Q. What is that music that ends your show each week?
A. It's Sleepwalk by Santo & Johnny, #1 for two weeks in the summer of 1959.
Q. Just what is that music you play under your talk breaks?
A. Among others, you'll hear:
Q. Do you really still play vinyl records on the air?
A. Absolutely! We have 2 turntables and 3 CD players at our fingertips, and we use 'em all. JR is especially interested in playing true 45 edits from 45 rpm records. JS has been on the hunt for newly-remastered Stereo Oldies since the very beginning of his tenure.
Q. Who does the engineering for you?
A. We do everything ourselves - pick the music, play the tunes, keep track of all the levels, answer the phones, dig up the requests, keep a running log of what we play, set up the commercials, read the weather and more. We have a lot to keep track of, and we tend to play those short (2:34) songs, so if we sometimes seem harried on the phone, you now know why!
Q. Who's behind the mysterious voice that says "Rockin' Remnants remembers 1967," or "Rockin' Remnants, only on WVBR-FM?"
A. The voice of our Remnants liners belongs to Jon Taylor, who was at WVBR from 1981-84. He had a great voice and worked in radio production in NYC for about 5 years after leaving Ithaca.
Q. Where do you find all those amazing facts we hear week in and week out?
A. Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles and Billboard Hot 100 Charts; Top 40 Music On Compact Disc by Pat Downey - and years of just living the rock 'n' roll life....
Spotlight Year: We'll focus on a particular week in the Rockin' Remnants era (1955-1979) and play the hits from that week based on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
The Happy Hour: We'll wind down the show with an hour of tunes from the '70s & 80's (with maybe just a dash of 60's for flavor) . It was a time when the records were getting longer (as FM radio began to integrate onto the AM charts), and there's often a little more room to breathe in this final hour. It still leaves us plenty to mix it up with, though: Southern Rock, Disco, Singer/Songwriters, Progressive Rock 45s, Philly soul, Nashville country, California folk rock, novelty records and more.
Birthday Calendar: Every week at around 7:00, we run down the rock'n'roll birthdays for the previous week, and then play some tunes by the artists who brought them to life. We also occasionally use this time to acknowledge the passing of a significant artist in the Rockin' Remnants Realm.
Trivia: We challenge your rock'n'roll knowledge with Rockin' Remnants trivia, and your chance to win pizza, wings, movie tickets or other great prizes. Brush up on Google during the week, then tune in and call in to win.
Rockin' Remnants was awarded "Specialty Show of the Year" honors at the annual Year-End WVBR Banquet in May of 2006. Thanks to our friends and colleagues!
John Rudan in the studio before the renovations.
John Simon On the Air May 13, 2006
Hosts: John Simon, John Rudan, Kim Vaughan