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Dennis Elsas – 50 Years on New York Radio

Dennis Elsas – 50 Years on New York Radio

Dennis Elsas? If you’re listening to New York’s WNEW-FM after midnight on July 11, 1971, you meet Dennis Elsas. Hailing from Jackson Heights, Queens, he cut his teeth at the campus station at Queens College. Shortly after, he got his first paid on-air job at a suburban station. Now he’s celebrating his 50th year in radio, all in New York. On July 12, 2021, Elsas celebrates his 50th anniversary on New York radio with his shift that day on WFUV.

Elsas “Graduates” To The Big Time!

He gets a gig by WNEW-FM’s legendary Program Director, Scott Muni as a fill-in disc jockey. Soon he’s hosting a regular weekend slot and becomes the station’s Music Director. Furthermore, he spends his first 25 years there. With his memorable “one oh two point seven” frequency on the FM dial. For decades, the station is so influential that record labels and their artists routinely premiere their new recordings on its air. Elsas develops a following among listeners and the station moves him to prime slots on weekends. Before he settled into his longtime 6-10 p.m. shift on Mondays to Fridays.

The Who’s Who of Rock Interviews

Over the years, he’s interviewed a Who’s Who of rock stars, most of whom would arrive in-person to the station’s midtown studios for an extended chat. These legendary on-air discussions included Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Elton John, Paul Simon, Grace Slick, and dozens more, including Mel Brooks.

A Visit From John Lennon

While on the air on ‘NEW one Saturday afternoon in 1974, Elsas gets a visit from John Lennon. They had met a few weeks earlier at the Record Plant recording studio as Lennon was finishing up his new album, Walls, and Bridges. Elsas invited him to the station to talk about it.

“He was there to promote Walls and Bridges,” he recalls. “In the back of my mind, I’m thinking I want to ask him about the Beatles but I’m not sure if that’s okay. Did I have a master plan? No. It was all in ‘real time.’ But I recognized that I’ve got to start with the new album.”

The discussion quickly turned into two hours of rare Beatles’ memories, speculation on a reunion, and candor about his immigration fight. “Lennon even took over as DJ, playing some favorite, obscure 45s he’d brought with him, reading live commercials, and giving the weather reports,” says Elsas.

CREDITS: by Greg Brodsky /

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