WCAU, Terry “Motormouth” Young, and some home recordings

May 6, 2008 – 10:55 am

I believe I made my first recording from the radio in 1984, so this 1985 tape labeled “Terry Young” is probably one of the first four or five tapes I made. Terry “Motormouth” Young was a DJ on WCAU 98.1 FM in Philadelphia in the early-to-mid 1980s (he’s now on XM). He was the first big influence I had in terms of radio. Not only was he an awesome DJ, he was also my first big interview. It meant a lot to a nine-year-old kid that a radio DJ would take the time to do a phone interview for a silly little elementary school newspaper.

So, the tape… it starts off with (I think) Billy Burke, another WCAU DJ at the time, doing a short, live aircheck. Then is a lengthy set with Terry Young that I’m thinking is from late-summer 1985. To quote myself:

[Terry Young] managed to come out of Dead Or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” give a full weather report for the area, and do an intro to the next song all during the opening bars of DeBarge’s “Who’s Holding Donna Now?”

Also funny is his suggestive squeal as he leads into the sappy “I Miss You” by Klymaxx.

Side two is interesting for different reasons. It starts off with a recording I made during Mrs. White’s (fourth grade?) music class. The class, as a whole, wrote a poem. Then, we broke into groups and were supposed to perform musical interpretations of the poem using (mostly percussion) instruments that none of us knew how to play. The poem?:

Loud atomic blast,
[something] has a heartbeat,
Far out middle space.

My group even named itself (“The Educated 5” – gee, could that be showing my UTFO influence?) and I did a couple of cocky-sounding intros. I remember instructing everyone in the class to ham it up and break into wild applause when my group’s third performance was done. I also remember everyone looking confused at the one group that went off and wrote their own poem, not realizing they were supposed to use the same poem as the rest of us.

The rest of side two is music from WCAU (includes the awful “Honeymooner’s Rap,” Madonna, Huey Lewis, and The Hooters). Unfortunately, I cut off most of the DJ chatter between songs. I think this was a recorded during a weekly countdown hosted by Bill O’Brien.

Side two ends with an odd little home recording I had no recollection of. It’s me (~10 years old) and my sister (~6 years old) watching “TV 29,” which would later become the local FOX affiliate. Some 976 ads are heard as my sister says, “I’m getting hungry!” and I respond, like a loving brother should, “Oh, come ON, Stace!” Then, an ad for Bela Lugosi’s “My Son the Vampire” comes on and my sister says, “I’m going to get nightmares from this.” It ends with a bit of an episode of Batman.

The quality on this recording is terrible and full of hiss. But enjoy it anyway.

(Terry Young fans should be sure to also check this excellent 1982 aircheck.)

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  1. 4 Responses to “WCAU, Terry “Motormouth” Young, and some home recordings”

  2. Sir, I’m quite honored that you found a Terry Young aircheck to link to on my website. I can see the passion you have for the radio you grew up with.

    I’d like to offer you a place to archive your collection on Airchexx.com. Of course, you get full credit, I’ll add pictures, logos, anything you’d like that is of interest, and I’ll give you the server links to anything I post, so that you may include them in your blog. If this sounds like a decent offer to you, how about sending me an email and see how we might help each other.

    One other thing you have going for you… WordPress is the RIGHT direction for websites, especially like ours. They propagate well around the web and you’ll end up with decent traffic in no time.

    I really like your website and I’m gonna poke around a little longer, if ya don’t mind. Meantime, from one cassette archiver to another… great job! I love it!

    Steve West

    By Steve West on May 21, 2008

  3. Sounds like this is from late July, early August 1985 (the Duran Duran promo).

    What’s really surprising is hearing Klymaxx’s “I Miss You”. That song didn’t break nationally until Thanksgiving time 1985. WCAU was on that one early. Very cool hearing them play Rockmaster Scott’s “The Roof Is On Fire”. Not too many mainstream CHR’s were playing that one. I think I remember hearing an interview with Terry Young where he mentioned he had “total music freedom at night.”–a rarity even in the 80s. I think that’s why he always played those great night records (“The Show” by Doug E. Fresh, for example). WCAU was a great radio station. I’m not from the Philly area, but love hearing tapes.

    Great stuff!

    By Joel on Sep 14, 2008

  4. This is awesome! Terry Young is my favorite DJ of all time, and WCAU FM is my alltime favorite station, the one that made me want to get into radio (unfortunately, that never happened). If you have any more, please keep it coming! Perhaps I’ll upload my WCAU stuff in the future.

    By phillyradiogeek on Mar 5, 2010

  5. terry, I met u at conchester bowling ally, u asked me if I was married I said sort of lol. the first and only song I asked u to play was into the night by benny mardonis. still my favorite song. a long time ago…hope you are doing well! you were and will always be my favorite dj!

    By Lee ann on Feb 5, 2011

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