On Sunday, January 6 between 8 PM-12 midnight The Big Broadcast celebrates forty years on WFUV (90.7 FM/wfuv.org). Host Rich Conaty will mark the occasion by airing excerpts of an historic interview with Connie Boswell of the Boswell Sisters which hasn't been heard since 1974.
The Big Broadcast was born almost by accident. On Sunday, December 31, 1972, the last of the three "official" hosts of WFUV's In the Mood failed to arrive by 11 PM, leaving an eighteen year old Fordham freshman in charge of the one hour program. "When nobody showed up the next week," says Rich Conaty, "I renamed the show The Big Broadcast and locked the door to the studio, in case any of those guys tried to get back in!"
The focus of the program, 1920s and 30s pop and jazz, hasn't changed since the 1970s, but it has expanded to four hours, drawing from a growing library of 40,000 CDs, LPs and original 78 RPM recordings.
"We're enormously proud of Rich," said WFUV General Manager Chuck Singleton. "His encyclopedic knowledge of that musical era - and his unbridled enthusiasm for it - have earned him of all ages, from senior citizens to young hipsters."
Throughout its 40th Anniversary year, The Big Broadcast will also revisit conversations with such music makers as Cotton Club star Cab Calloway and "The Street Singer," Arthur Tracy, both of whom appeared in the 1932 film, The Big Broadcast, "Star Dust" lyricist Mitchell Parish, and Edward Eliscu, who wrote the words to the 1929 song, "Great Day," which has closed The Big Broadcast for 2050+ Sundays.
Although the original artists have gone, The Big Broadcast has been enriched recently by visits from Wall Street Journal columnist, Will Friedwald, band leader Vince Giordano, who appears on HBO's Boardwalk Empire, and Michael Feinstein, who included Conaty in his PBS series, Michael Feinstein's American Songbook.