POTW: Vintage "FM Dial Card" handouts from 1976 Syracuse auto show

February 15, 2013 by

Updated 4:55pm -- SYRACUSE -- Since Wednesday night and through the weekend, car dealers are showing off the latest and greatest in automotive technology at the 2013 Syracuse AutoExpo.  But today, we're headed back in time, for a look at some classic "FM Dial Cards" which were given to visitors who attended the same show in 1976, some 37 years ago.  It's an interesting glimpse of Syracuse radio history. reader Mark Shayler scanned and sent-in the below "FM Dial Card" last month, after he discovered them in the midst of cleaning out his basement.




Not a bad find, eh?

The above image reads:

World's Most Beautiful Music

WNTQ FM STEREO, bright and cheerful, features beautiful, enjoyable melodies ... just right for your office ... home ... auto ... any time, all the time.

WNTQ brings you a powerful, crisp and clear signal with absolutely superb stereo separation.  You'll enjoy a minimum of talk, with just enough news and weather to keep you pleasantly in touch.

The right side of the card reads:

Compliments of AUTO WORLD
Spirit of Seventy-Six
The 67th Annual Auto Show presented by the Syracuse Automobile Dealers Association, Inc.

Perhaps even more interesting is the "front" side of the card, at left.  Even though it's obvious that the cards are intended to promote WNTQ 93.1, the card lists every single station that was available on the FM dial at the time.  While WNTQ obviously wanted to promote itself, it appears the owners at the time also wanted to promote the FM band as a whole -- at a time when FM, though not really new, was just starting to gain mass appeal after decades of the AM band domination over listener habits.

(And strangely enough, nearly 40 years later, we're witnessing a similar change as automakers gradually add HD Radio to more makes and models.  Not quite as quickly or as inexpensively as your editor would like to see, but we'll save that rant for another time.  I'll just say it was rather disconcerting when one local dealer told me last year that many models lack HD Radio because "it's still very new," even though it's been around since 2002.)

Worth noting -- aside from the fact that WNTQ had a much different format than it does today -- is the fact that neither of its present-day FM sister stations appear on this list.  These cards preceded the launch of WAQX 95.3 (which moved to its present-day 95.7 frequency in the early 80s) by about two years, and the launch of 105.9FM (then WXCD, now WXTL) by nearly two decades.

Also notable: 94.5 is still listed as WSYR (it didn't become WYYY until the early 80s), and the list includes one out-of-market station, Utica's 96.9 WOUR.  Further down the list, the present-day WKRL was still known as WEZG at the time.  The last three stations at the bottom of the list all have different call letters today.  WKFM is now WBBS (B104.7), WOIV is now WOLF-FM (New Country 105.1), and WONO is now WWHT (Hot 107.9).

Thanks to Mark Mangicaro for reminding us 95X originally launched at 95.3FM, before it moved to 95.7FM.

Got Pictures?

Our thanks again to Mark Shayler for making this great find, and for the idea to "hold" it until this week, to coincide with this year's Auto Expo.  Whether you've got your own "blast from the past" to share, or something more recent -- if it involves local radio or TV, we'd love to share it here!  Just send those photos to or upload through our Contact Form.  Thanks to reader submissions like this one, you'll find a new Picture of the Week on our homepage every Friday at 7:00am.

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