Monday, January 30, 2017

R.I.P.: NYC Radio Great Herb Oscar Anderson

One of New York City's radio greats has died.

Herb Oscar Anderson died Sunday morning at age 81 at a hospital in Vermont.

"All The Way With HOA", was a favorite Anderson catch phrase.  He was one of the original Swingin' Seven deejays when WABC 770 AM went to a Top40 Format in late 1960.

At the time WABC is in a competitive battle in the Top40 format, cometing again 1010 WINS, 1050 WMGM and WMCA 570 AM.

HOA was often described as 180-degrees different from the Top40 jock of the day. He was charming, calm, low-keyed, very dry wit and lots of one-to-one talk for the housewives. He told the ladies how pretty they looked every morning, what to dress the kids in for the rainy day ahead, told secretaries to take umbrellas to work, etc.


Anderson knew very little about the music, Program Director Rick Sklar would have to coach him about the artists. He was a "personality" first, a "jock" last.

He started as a sportswriter at the Jamesville Daily Gazette in Wisconsin. The parent company also owned WCLO radio.  He soon applied for a position at the station, figuring that announcing a sports story for 30 seconds would be more fun than spending three hours writing his high school sports column for the newspaper.

Before long he landed a position as a singer and announcer at WROK in Rockford, Ill.., where he used Les Brown’s “Leap Frog” as his theme song.

Over the following years, Herb served for three years in the Air Force’s 132nd Squadron, and then worked as an air personality at WDBO in Orlando, Fla., at a chain of stations in Iowa and at KSTP in Minnesota.

The huge immediate success at the Storz Top40 WDGY prompted CBS, which had WCCO in the Twin Cities area, to get Herb out of the market by giving him a job at its Chicago station, WBBM.

CLICK HERE for a 1956 WDGY Aircheck.

Before long, he was hired at WABC in New York City.  In the late 1950s, Herb then went on the ABC network and was part of a line-up that included legendary talk show host and game show creator Merv Griffin, actor Jim Backus and singer Jim Reeves.

Herb hosted a show and sang before a live band, but the show didn’t work out.   However, a short time later, he received a telegram from WMCA offering him a job at the 5,000 watt Top40 station.

In December 1960, he rejoined WABC as one of the original "Swingin’ Seven" air personalities when the station started its Top 40 format.

CLICK HERE for a 1964 WABC Aircheck.

HOA sang, "Hello again, here's my best to you. Are your skies all gray? I hope they're blue." He would sing it every day. Every hour.




In the 60s, HOA says, “In those days you had personalities. The person on the radio meant something to people.

“I always have followed the premise that I am a guest in someone’s home,” he added. “People on the radio sometimes forget that they are guests and they need to act accordingly.

For many years WABC allowed HOA to start off his morning show with the hymn of the day.

But, the times they were a changin'  and by September 1968 Anderson decided to leave WABC.   “I went because I could no longer accept the music that was coming in,” Herb said. “I couldn’t accept the acid rock that was coming out.”

In the 70s, he did a stint and 1050 WHN and then later at WOR 710 AM

Most recently, HOA was living in retirement in Sebastian, FL and could be heard on a weekly show on WOSN 97.1 FM. in Vero Beach.

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