New Wave for New Yorkers

If you grew up in the '80s in the NYC/Long Island area, you may have spent some time listening to WLIR from Long Island. That station’s founder, Elton Spitzer, died recently. There was a pretty interesting obituary in the NY Times that talked about how special that station actually was.

Anyway, reading the obit piece prompted me to search for the station, and lo and behold, it’s streaming on line and with Android and Apple apps! Some of the original DJs are still involved (Larry the Duck has a show, for example), and they play '80s new wave, as well as some similar stuff that’s currently being released (twenty one pilots, the Bravery, and other fantastic current alternative music). And, they play recordings of live shows that WLIR sponsored – I don’t think there’s any place else to listen to that.

Anyway, I’m not posting the link (I’m not sure it would be cool to do that) – it’s easy enough to find. If you liked that stuff back then, give it a listen. I’m having a blast with this walk down memory lane.


Speaking of New York New Wave, how about NYC’s early 80’s No Wave movement, with crazy bands like the Contortions belting out angular, near-spastic sounds.
(“Contort yourself one time…c.y. two times…”)

Hmmm. I had never heard of that before, but searching on Youtube, some of that stuff is pretty hard to listen to, although some of it is reminiscent of early Roxy Music.

Thanks! I loved that station and its successor on 92.7 WDRE. I lived in NJ so it would always come in a little choppy. The passengers in my car were always annoyed but that was the only station that I allowed in the car. Later I added 106.3, the Jersey shore alternative station, as a 2nd option.

My friend and I debated Malibu Sue and Donna Donna like Gilligan’s Island watchers debate Ginger and Mary Ann. Except we had no idea what they looked like until much later.

Well, by law I must post in any thread about WLIR (including the “DRE” period). That was pretty much the soundtrack of my life during the late 1980s thru the 1990s, (along with the generic WBAB and WNEW) up until 2004, when the channel was taken over by a Latino station.
Yes, it was a great station and I was, lets say irked, to see it go - lots of good new wave and modern rock. While streaming is nice, there really are no over-the-air “modern rock” radio stations on Long Island worth that I can listening to anymore (except the aforementioned WBAB) - the Shark, which does play such music is alas nothing but static in the areas I’m generally in.

For the record, the once-designated WLIR nightspot, Malibu, closed in 1996 (spent many a Friday & Saturday night there in the 1990s - dancing to tunes spun by the Mighty Maximizer among other LIR/DRE DJs)

It has since reopened - NOT as a pure dance-club (the dance club scene on Long Island is very much dead, as opposed to the now common bar/bistro with a band that you can kind of “bop” around in a small area in front of the band) - but rather as Maliblue, a seafood place that hosts live bands in the summer, like half a dozen other places on the Nautical Mile in Freeport.

Oh well, as we discussed in the “Top 10 Alternative Rock songs” per-year threads, modern rock may now just be rock, but it’s getting its butt kicked by other music genres nowadays.

ETA for Jackknifed Juggernaut Jackknifed Juggernaut
To keep it short (you can check Wiki), WLIR became WDRE (“Dare to be different”) in the 1990s, and switched back to WLIR call letters some years later.

I don’t know how far out on the island you are, but if you’re not too far from the city and you have an HD radio, 92.3 HD-2 is still K-Rock – harder than WLIR was, but lots of modern rock and even some older new wave and alternative.

Jeez, I just love this WLIR stream – they are playing Could Have Been Me by the Struts. The only song I’ve heard twice so far is Stressed Out by twenty one pilots, and I love that song. I don’t think I’ve heard any duplication on the older stuff – they have more than a decade to choose from, so there’s lots of variety. Way more than an equivalent Pandora station.

And, now they’re playing a great old Chili Peppers song, Show Me Your Soul.

Thanks, RS. Although I didn’t listen to WLIR exclusively, they were a welcome change-of-pace from the AOR stations that ruled the NY airwaves. Their presence truly helped broaden my musical taste, and when I left for college (in Pittsburgh) I was dumbfounded that there was nothing similar to listen to except the university stations. Also, my roommates and frat brothers had never heard of more than half of the bands I was listening to, although I certainly wasn’t a new wave hipster.

I went to school in Pittsburgh too, and my sisters would send me audio tapes of WLIR. They would just hit record, let it record 45 minutes, switch sides, same same, and send it to me.

The funny thing is, I bet that Pittsburgh has an alternative rock station now. All big cities, other than NYC, seem to have them (Philly, DC, Boston, LA, Indianapolis, just to list the ones I know of for sure).

What are the alternative stations? You mean college stations?

No, alternative rock, or modern rock, or new rock, or whatever they are called. WRFF in Philly, for example – fantastic station (too many commercials). 92.3 HD-2 (K-Rock) in NY. WFNX in Boston (is that still there?). KROQ in LA. I know there’s an Indy and a DC one, but I don’t remember the call letters. Regular commercial stations that happen to play current rock and alternative, rather than classic rock.

The Bravery?!?!?!

They happened to be playing when I wrote the post. How about the Foo Fighters? They got played too. Also, Jr Jr.

Sorry to resurrect this older thread, but I just wanted to post a quick update. Back when I started this, the WLIR website itself and the streaming link were both terrible – the ads were awful (and they didn’t allow any adblockers) and it tried to deliver malware. The stream itself was glitchy.

Anyway, over the weekend, they seem to have gone to a different streaming site and it’s night and day. The audio stream has been flawless all day and no issues with ads. They also have an Android and an IOS app.

I don’t work for them or anything, I just love the station. And, between songs, they had one of those, “Tell a friend and they’ll tell a friend” things. So, here I am telling my SDMB friends. If you tried it before and was dissatisfied with the experience, give it another try – much better as of today.


Larry the Duck also hosts on 1st Wave, the Sirius/XM satellite radio station.

Did you see this comprehensive "Where Are They Now?" list on the WLIR website?

I did see that. It’s pretty neat how this radio station created this history. Somehow, I don’t see Z100 doing the same thing.

Regarding Sirius/XM, I just have a thing against paying for radio, so I’ve only ever had it in rental cars.