Dick Bartley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Dick Bartley, a popular American radio disc jockey since 21 June 1969, hosts several popular syndicated radio shows of the oldies/classic hits genre, including the current Classic Countdown since 1991 and the Saturday night call-in request show Rock & Roll's Greatest Hits since 1982.

Both shows are currently syndicated through United Stations Radio Networks; they were previously carried by ABC Radio Networks from 1991 to 2009, and by Westwood One in the 1980s. Bartley has licensed his name for the "Dick Bartley Presents Collector's Essentials on the Radio" album series; compilations of radio favorites by specific era and genre.[1] Bartley's programs use historic data from the Billboard Hot 100 and other charts.

Bartley[2] got his start at age 17[3] playing "Bad Moon Rising" on radio station WWOD.[4] WWOD, which hadn't been used for years, was finally razed and is now covered with grass on Mimosa Drive in Lynchburg.


All programs are four hours in length and play classic hits and oldies from the 1970s and 1980s. Much in the same way the oldies and classic hits formats in general have done, both programs have gradually shifted in their focus since their debuts; for instance, Rock & Roll's Greatest Hits, when it debuted in 1982 as "Solid Gold Saturday Night", had a playlist composed of titles almost entirely from the late 1950s through the late 1960s, mirroring the oldies format at the time. The focus of each show is different:

  • The Classic Countdown focuses on the hits of the current month from a particular year (currently, 1970-1987), although – like "Rock & Roll's Greatest Hits" – the program presents a "Halloween Classics" and "Summer Classics" show each year. See Classic Countdown for more information.
  • Rock & Roll's Greatest Hits has a "spotlight" theme, presenting 12 to 16 examples interspersed throughout the program's four hours. Themes range from a particular year (currently 1973-1987) to artists to stylistic trends and topics ("1980s Top Artists" or "Motown Classics"). As the show has started playing 1980s songs more extensively, a good share of the current playlist had not yet been recorded prior to 1982, when the show originally debuted. The program was originally a five-hour "live" program presented on Saturday evenings, but since its move to United Stations Radio Networks, is now a four-hour pre-recorded program, with requests taken throughout the week; features of the formerly live show, including a contest to identify a clip of a song (often by a one-hit wonder), were dropped. While the show's focus is largely on music of the 1970s and 1980s, occasional hits from the 1960s (including Spotlight features) are played, and music from the early 1990s has started to be played as well.
  • The WCBS FM Sunday Night Countdown, heard only on WCBS FM 101.1, was a two-hour countdown, with bonus extras, for a year in the 1970s, followed by a two-hour countdown from ten years later (or ten years earlier if the 1970s countdown was from 1978 or 1979). Occasionally, if the 1970s countdown was from 1977, Bartley would then play one hour from 1987, followed by one hour from 1967. The last WCBS FM Sunday Night Countdown aired 28 September 2014.[5]

Bartley's programs also feature a Christmas format, heard the weekend of/before Christmas, and a "top requests of all time"-type program the weekend of/before New Years. Additionally, Memorial Day weekend brings a "Summer Hits" special (songs with the word "summer" in the title or having summer themes), while for Halloween weekend there is a "Halloween Hits" program.

During the 1990s, Bartley also hosted a third program, Yesterday Live, which featured a 1970s/1980s format similar to today's classic hits (at the time, his other shows were focused on 1950s/1960s oldies).


  • Three-time winner of the Billboard magazine Radio Award for Network Program of the Year: 1988, 1989, 1990
  • Three-time nominee for the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for Network Personality of the Year: 1992, 1993, 1995
  • Winner of the 1996 New York International Radio Festival WorldMedal for The Beatles ’95 radio special
  • Inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago, Illinois in 2000[3]

Personal life[edit]

Bartley grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia, the son of William Bartley, an engineer at General Electric, and Nancy Bartley, who was a lay leader in the Christian Science Church. He and his wife, Cynthia, graduated from the University of Virginia and as of 2016 live in Falls Church, Virginia. He has two daughters, Diane Bartley and Jane Bartley. Diane graduated from Duke University. Jane graduated from Dartmouth.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Dick Bartley Presents Collector's Essentials on the Radio, Vol. 2: The '70s - Various Artists AllMusic.com Album review
  2. ^ "10 Questions with ... Dick Bartley". 2009-07-06. 
  3. ^ a b Best, Kenneth (January 25, 1998). "Oldies Endure, Even in the Era of MTV". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 January 2010. 
  4. ^ "Dick Bartley". 94.7 WELK. Retrieved 17 April 2010. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Dick Bartley: Radio Hall of Famer". Archived from the original on 2014-10-05. Retrieved 2014-09-28.