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Although I was born just 2 months before Elvis Presley's first hit record Heartbreak Hotel
made the national charts, he was, is and always will be my favorite recording artist. His
music moves me a way I really cannot describe. However, my musical tastes also run the
gamut from Progressive Rock to Standards, from older Country & Blues and to even
'some' of todays contemporary sounds.
But without a doubt my favorite music was made from the mid 60's through the early 70's.
Those wonderful sounds that so many of us heard on Top 40 radio. Rock, Sunshine and
Power Pop, R & B and Soul, classic 60's instrumentals, Rockabilly, wonderful group
harmonies and those melodic ballads.
By the mid to late 60's I was totally hooked on this music. Like most music fans, I started
purchasing LP's and 45's, most of which I still have today. However, to me and speaking
only for myself, these pieces of vinyl are only a means to an end. Because it has always
been about "The Music' itself. The Music and nothing but The Music.
Today we can listen to our music in new ways. Thousands of songs can be put on small
portable players. Music can be delivered in new ways as well. Music can be bought online
and even heard on HD Radio, Satellite radio and of course the internet. But it is still
about The Music. It's this passion for The Music I bring to my Wednesday night program.
In addition, the freedom the Topshelf Oldies DJ's have to play tunes they and their
listening audience really love, coupled with our chatroom, makes a near perfect
forum for the good natured contests we have so much fun with on Ramtown Live.
Your pc's audio player provides the sounds for our contests and the chatroom is our
playing field. Of course, in between these contests there is always The Music.
I have always lived in central New Jersey Shore area and have always been a radio buff.
I grew up listening to the great AM sounds of New York City radio stations like WABC,
WMCA, WWDB with wonderful DJ's like Dan Ingram, Harry Harrison, Ron Lundy, Jack
Spector, Chuck Leonard, Cousin Brucie, B. Mitchell Reed, Wolfman Jack, Big Wilson and
so many others. Then later in the 70's the FM stations like WNEW, WPIX, WKRK and others
featuring on air personalities like Scott Muni, Pete Fornatel, Dennis Elsas, Pete Herman,
Richard & Dan Neer, Meg Griffin, Carol Miller to name but a few. Over the years, I was
a somewhat frequent caller to several of these stations and spoke with a number of
the DJ's, most of whom I was happy to find out, had the same love and passion for The
Music as I did.
Starting in late 70's and much more so in the 1980's and on into the 90's, the music
and programming on Top 40 and Progressive Rock radio changed so much and quite
frankly for the worse. As a result, I lost my interest in listening to these two formats.
With a few notable exceptions, like New Wave music, most of of the music made in these
periods lacked creatvity, were very often over produced, lacked passion and sadly many
records in that era utilized the dreaded and dehumanizing drum machine. I remember
complaining to friends back then that 'there are almost no good rock-pop records made
I did listen to some Classic Rock and Oldies stations during this period, but since both
formats played (and still play) the same few hundred records over and over again, this
got old very quickly. Don't get me wrong, 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling' , 'Happy
Together' and 'Give Me Shelter' are all great records. But, hearing these and so many
other quality tunes, literally dozens if not hundeds of times, sent me and other music
fans I know into burn out mode.
Yet these same stations choose to ignore so many other quality tunes that had been hits,
but 'only' charted typically in the top 10 to top 40 range and were rarely, if ever heard
on broadcast radio.
I did make many cassettes of my favorite 45's and LP's for the car and that certainly
helped. Also during this period, I as pointed out above, I started to develop more
interest in other types of music. So in some respects this lack of quality Top 40 and
Progressive Rock radio, was a good thing for me. But I was still disappointed that there
was very little quality new Top 40 or Rock-Pop music being made. You could say I felt
like The Music was gone.
In 1997, I started listening to a local guy who is now our Saturday DJ, Dave the Rave,
when he was on the now defunct Oldies FM station WPDQ located in Freehold NJ. He
played so many good, solid oldies records I did not even know existed. Tunes that for
various reasons were not hits, but sure should have been. Others that may have been
regional hits, but not in my region and some minor hits that got so little air play. I
was now hearing so many truly quality tunes that were fresh to me. It was almost
like discovering top 40 radio in the mid 60's, all over again.
I was also fortunate in that I lived near the station, as the signal only went a town or
two in any direction. But in 2001, Dave started simulcasting his show on a brand new
internet radio station called Topshelf Oldies. Dave's show could now be heard literally
around the world. Plus, I discovered many of the other quality programs on Topshelf.
Shows that also featured so many wonderful 'new oldies' and some others I had even
forgotten about. I am proud to say this is a tradition that very much continues on
In addition, I discovered our friendly chatroom. Years later, I have so many friends
from all parts of the country that I would never have even know without the internet
and Topshelf. This extended Topshelf family of buddies are some of the nicest people
I know and I cannot imagine on some kind of steady basis being without their company.
The best part is, we all share a mutual love for The Music.
While I had what I felt was a workable show idea, I had no prior DJ'ing experience what
so ever. But Tim, Dlanna and Al showed enough confidence in me to let me start as DJ
on Topshelf Oldies on February 24, 2004. This was a pre-recorded 2 hour program called
Rock N Pop Connections. This show featured mainly Connections Sets. and few other
contests. I did more than 140 of these shows, before deciding to go live in January 2007.
Ramtown Live is a 3 hour long, more diversified program, featuring even more contests
and kinds of interactive contests that are simply not possible in a pre-recorded format.
Plus unlike Rock N' Pop Connectons, where all the music was 'contest driven', Ramtown
Live is not limited in that way. Much of the focus is on those quality and rarely heard
oldies, that do not involve contests.
The Otherside of Ramtown heard every third Wednesday, is basically the same show
with the same musical goal or focus, minus the contests, plus a special feature or
two. In addition, this program is part of an All Music Wednesday that features the
ever popular program Sidetrax with Soxx at 10 pm eastern.
Ramtown Live shows start at 9 pm and Otherside programs start at 8 pm eastern and
each run appx. 3 hours. This does sometimes vary. However, there is always 'something'
on by 8 pm eastern as well. To check out the show lineups for specific starting times for
these and all other Topshelf Oldies shows on a week by week basis, check our Topshelf
Oldies show calendar.
I do want to express my gratitude to Dlanna, Al & Tim for allowing me to be a part of
the Topshelf Oldies family.
If you have any ideas you'd like to forward to me or if you just want to provide some
feedback, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org