BIG BAND BROADCAST
ABOUT THE HOST & ORIGIN OF THE SHOW
Although very knowledgeable of the music from the 1950’s and 60’s, Chris decided to produce a radio program centered on the great Swing Era also referred to as The Big Band Era which occurred from 1935 to 1945. He did this for several reasons.
Not only for his love of this quality of popular music, but the obvious absence of this music on the airwaves allowing him to be the only one anywhere doing this.
Most importantly, the greatest stars to come out of Hollywood hailed from this great era of the Big Bands.
Putting these factors together seemed to be a combination that would allow for exceptional programming. The type of programming that would not only offer the great music of that day, but stellar productions involving the actual stars that made the hits, the movies, and the performances for the troops overseas during WWII that we still love today.
This is the kind of sentimental drama that can only be told through the stories and recollections of the listeners who will call in and request one of their favorite Big Band recordings, live over the air, and with their own reminiscences.
This seemed to be a very special type of programming that was yearning to be produced. So Chris finally developed The Big Band Broadcast, and it was first aired on WBAU on Long Island in 1991.
The show then moved to WHPC 90.3 FM in Garden City Long Island in 1996 and was also heard on WGBB 1240AM in Freeport Long Island, covering both sides of the AM and FM dial. All five boroughs of NYC listened to The Big Band Broadcast during this time which says a lot for the show.
This show became the only ‘all request live on air’ Big Band radio program in the nation.
Then came the eras favorite personalities, and Chris was able to find them all!
Today, Chris’ Big Band CD collection contains over 7000 sides of digitally enhanced original recordings from 1935 to 1945. Even most of these CDs are out of print. This may seem like a lot, but it is certainly a size needed in order to fulfill 99.9% of all requests. According the listeners, they never sounded better!
Long Island Newsday Article
May 3, 1999 By Peter Goodman
This ‘Kid’ Keeps The Big Bands Playing!
As the music of the '40s and '50s fades from the airwaves, with the disappearance of WQEW/1560 AM and attempts by regional stations to keep the old sounds going, there is one man, working strictly on his own, who is single-handedly keeping the mellow, swinging Big Band sound alive on the radio. And, at age 36, he's practically a kid.
The man is Chris Valenti, the show is ‘The Big Band Broadcast,’ Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on WHPC/90.3 FM in Garden City.
Valenti has got airchecks of Helen Forrest singing with the Harry James Orchestra; he's got an extremely rare interview with Doris Day. He's got an interview with Harry James himself, taped backstage at the Westbury Music Fair in 1981, when Valenti was a high school senior from Merrick. "I’ve interviewed the Mills Brothers, Don Cornell, Frances Langford, the list goes on. There's not one alive from that time who I haven't got." Valenti said from his home in Huntington. And he takes requests!
The music that he focuses on is primarily from the period of World War II, stretching back only as far as 1937 or so and occasionally into the 1950s. "The Big Band era was 1935 to 1945," Valenti said. "When the war was over it started to decline. Mainstream standard stations may play a big-band piece once an hour or so, and they will play ‘In the Mood,’ the same thing you hear when you go to a wedding."
Instead, picking from more than 300 CDs with upwards of 4,000 recordings on them, Valenti will play the B side of a record, or a semi-hit. "It's refreshing to hear stuff they haven't heard for over 50 years."
Valenti's next big guest on May 15 - Armed Forces Day – will be Artie Shaw.
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