WKRQ’s Top 102 of 1979

Forty years ago today, I had my ear mostly glued to the radio, writing down WKRQ’s annual countdown of its Top 102 of the year just ended. I have two other such compilations, summarizing the state of Cincinnati pop hit radio according to Q102 in 1981 and 1982 (the latter of which I posted here two years ago). Looks like my sister took over record-keeping for songs #30 through #24 on this one.

Some interesting differences between the local and national scenes back then. Top 10 hits according to Billboard I don’t see here: “Music Box Dancer,” “Just When I Needed You Most,” “Every 1’s a Winner,” “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” “I Want Your Love,” “He’s the Greatest Dancer,” “In the Navy,” “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)”, “Makin’ It,” “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough,” “Pop Muzik,” “Please Don’t Go,” and “You’re Only Lonely.” I can’t know, but I’m willing to believe that “Too Much Heaven,” “YMCA,” and “My Life” had all appeared on Q102’s 78 recap.

I see just three non-AT40 cuts here:
#71: Led Zep never released “All My Love” as a single, but Q102 joined stations nationwide in giving it lots and lots of play;
#89: “I’ll Supply the Love,” Toto’s follow-up to “Hold the Line,” topped out at #45 on the Hot 100 in late March;
#94: That’s not a mistake–you can find Robert Palmer at #45. “Bad Case of Watchin’ You” was an in-house parody about a local sportscaster who’d recently landed in Cincy. Chris “Zip” Rzeppa gained notoriety quickly at WLWT, the city’s NBC affiliate, with an enthusiastic and idiosyncratic delivery of scores and other sports-related miscellanea. Q102 intuited an opportunity to cash in: just replace “Doctor, Doctor” with “Zip Rzeppa,” and you’re already halfway to a regional novelty hit. I’m distraught, but not surprised, that no copy has made its way to YouTube (I doubt a physical single was ever released to the public). However, I did find the awful “Ballad of the Bengals,” something that Rzeppa recorded as the local NFL franchise was advancing toward its first Super Bowl in early 82.

Rzeppa, a Boston University alum with a couple of classmates who went on to much more notable media careers (so says Wikipedia), didn’t stay in Cincy too much longer; the bulk of his sportscasting career was spent in St. Louis. He’s now a motivational speaker and Catholic evangelist.

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