Updated 5/8 — The stream has been terminated, with no plans to resume. Click here for separate story with more details.
SYRACUSE — Two longtime local radio legends are back in the biz, with help from a third former Syracuse radio talent. Dave Laird and Ron Bee are hosting shifts on Syracuse80sOnline.com, launched over the weekend by Rick “RJ” Jordan.
As the name implies, the the new “station” is an online stream which focuses entirely on music from the 1980s. Jordan, who served as afternoon host and PD at Clear Channel country powerhouse B104.7 (WBBS) during the late 1990s and early 2000s, explained:
You can hear some of the 80s on classic rock signals in the market, and other titles on AC offerings, but no one station plays all of the decade all in the same place. Plus, the format truly targets the listeners we want to attract.
And who better to staff an all-80s station than two personalites whose careers ran strong before, after and during the entire decade?
“Dave & Ron spent years playing these hits the first time around,” said owner/programmer Jordan, in a press release issued over the weekend. “I couldn’t imagine firing up this puppy without them behind the mic.”
Dave Laird worked at WNDR and the old “Hot Hits Fire 14” (WFBL) before jumping to the FM dial as half of the “Laird and Long” morning show on 93Q (WNTQ) for most of the 80s. In later years, he’d move to Y94 (WYYY), from which he retired in 2004 — and again in 2008. “I think the station is really dialed in just right,” Laird said in a press release. “Listening to it takes me back to Parkway Sundays [Ed. note: those still continue today] and summers rockin’ at Weedsport!”
Ron Bee is perhaps best-known in recent memory as part of the award-winning “Ron and Becky” morning show on B104.7. During the “big decade,” Bee was paired with Rick Gary for the “Rick & Ron” morning show on WOLF, and he also spent some time at 100.9 WEZG.
A press release about the new station explains Bee disappeared from B104.7 a few years ago due to a car accident. For quite some time, Bee’s injuries, related surgeries and a lengthy recovery left him unable to speak, so he never had a chance to bid listeners farewell. But, in the release, Bee says, “I’ll have a chance to say ‘hello again’ every single day!”
Which shifts are the two working? Well, there’s no ego clash over who gets drive time. Jordan points out that having an online station means “Radio mythology also doesn’t apply here. No one ever said you had to have standard 4 or 5 hour air shifts.” As a result, Bee and Laird take turns, trading-off hosting duties “every hour on the hour.”
And to add some extra local flavor, Jordan said, “we celebrate the past with plenty of vintage Syracuse TV audio. And oh yeah, we play LOTS of Benny Mardones!” (As you may know, the 66-year-old Mardones, known for his hit, “Into the Night,” which charted top 20 in 1980 and again in 1989, lived in Syracuse for awhile during the mid 1980s. Even with just one big hit, Mardones remains a local favorite to this day.)
You can listen in anytime, 24/7, at Syracuse80sOnline.com. The station is also available via Shoutcast and TuneIn, and their respective smartphone apps.