October 17, 2019. Our program featured Ray and Meg Leister who volunteer every Saturday night to host the popular Blue Moon Cruisin’ show on WDIY (88.1 FM). The station broadcasts from a Channel 69 tower and their coverage extends to all, or parts of, seven counties.
Ray’s background with Ingersoll Rand and, later, distributing auto parts in no way prepared him for life on the air. Fortunately, WDIY provides training for those willing to learn. Growing up listening to WAEB, WEEX, and a few Philadelphia-based stations made him the perfect choice to fill a void in the station’s programming as they had no one playing songs from the early days of Rock and Roll.
The invention of the transistor radio made this style of music portable and young people took it with them everywhere. Notable DJs such as Alan Freed and Wolfman Jack broadcast the tunes from coast to coast. The term Disc Jockey was coined by Walter Winchell and referred to radio personalities who would push, or jockey, certain songs to the top of the popular charts. Eventually, these early songs started to disappear from mainstream radio. This left the Valley ripe for the emergence of Blue Moon Cruisin in 2004.
Ray and Meg fill the airwaves with music from Dion, Chubby Checker, the Four Seasons, Bill Haley and much, much more. Ray handles the microphone and the board whilst Meg manages the phone lines as listeners call in with requests or attempt to answer the weekly brain-teaser. The show’s popularity soon won it a prime time slot on Saturday night from 5 - 7 PM. The show is designed to sound like a real old-time radio show. Ray even inserts old- time commercials, theme songs, and product jingles which add to the nostalgia. BMC is now the top-rated program at WDIY.
The station itself is Lehigh Valley Public Radio. It is an affiliate member of NPR which enables them to use some very basic NPR programming but WDIY doesn’t bother with any of the optional NPR programming. The station has only 6 full-time employees with the bulk of the work being done by volunteers. Their funding comes from memberships, grants, and underwriting.