585 AM is based out of the Criteron Building
. The radio station
first went on the air in 1983 and began serving the public with news
reports, weather forecast
s, and traffic
Owned by Jimmy James, Inc. CEO Jimmy James, the station prospered and became New York City's choice for news radio. In March 1995 Mr. James hired a new news director, Dave Nelson, to run the station. Dave began on shaky ground but soon settled into his job and as a result of his work WNYX swept the local broadcasting awards in 1996.
Between 1995 and 1999 the station was staffed by a core group of eccentrics: Bill McNeal and Catherine Duke were the on-air talent, Joe Garelli served as electrician, Lisa Miller and Matthew Brock wrote the news reports, and Beth (just Beth) answered phones and did other secretarial duties. During these "glory years" the staff handled a wide variety of news reports and goings-on, such as a subway crash, Jimmy James's run for president and quest to sail around the world in a hot air balloon, and a sucidal jumper on their own office's ledge.
In 1997 Mr. James hired an efficiency expert, Andrea Planbee, to observe the office and cut the dead weight. She determined that Matthew Brock was the major problem in the office and fired him. The staff spent the next four months trying to convince Andrea to hire him back, an event that happened in December. Ironically, during Andrea's tenure at WNYX the office was the most unefficient that it had ever been. Andrea left WNYX in December and as one last final act she promoted Lisa Miller to news director and demoted Dave to be Bill's producer. Lisa had the job for several weeks until she finally decided that she didn't want to be news director. When she offered the job back to Dave, he said that he didn't want it either. As part of a scheme to cut Bill down to size they promoted him to news director, a job he relished but was actually not very good at (despite the fact that the staff loved him). Bill stepped down in January 1998 and the office held an election to determine whether Dave or Lisa should be the boss. The staff elected Lisa, and therefore Mr. James proclaimed Dave to be the boss.
Tragedy struck WNYX in September 1998 when Bill McNeal died2 of a heart attack. The office was devistated and work stopped for several days for the grieving process. In the wake of Bill's death Dave hired Bill's old broadcasting buddy Max Louis to take his place. Max had trouble fitting into the office environment at first, but eventually he became a part of the WNYX family.
November 1998 saw Jimmy James arrested for skyjacking and robbery. Accused of being legendary criminal D.B. Cooper, Jimmy was sent to prison and in his absence an executive from Jimmy James, Inc. by the name of Johnny Johnson came to WNYX to take over day-to-day operations. Dave discovered, however, that the executive was actually pure evil and wanted to take over Jimmy's corporate empire. He had bribed the other executives at J.J. Inc. with naked hot tub orgies to support him in his bid to take over. However, after actor Adam West came forward and revealed that he was really D.B. Cooper, Jimmy returned to WNYX and successfully took back his empire and exiled Johnny Johnson to the streets. Johnny returned briefly in February 1999 and married Lisa, however he was arrested during the ceremony for theft for having stolen a wedding ring for Lisa.
In April 1999 Jimmy announced his intent to retire and move to New Hampshire Although nobody took him seriously, Jimmy sold his empire and in early May 1999 did indeed make the move to a little farm in the countryside. Finding cows poor company, however, he returned to WNYX and hired the entire staff (except Dave and Matthew, who declined the offer) to move to New Hampshire and work at Jimmy's small town rural radio station. Presumably WNYX lives on with Dave still working as news director and Matthew doing... whatever it is that he does.
1Of course all of the events at WNYX made up the NBC series NewsRadio that ran from 1994-1999.
2The death of Bill McNeal was written into the show NewsRadio due to Phil Hartman's tragic murder. News stories that circulated around the time of the episode "Bill Moves On" stated that the tears shed by the characters were real as the actors, Phil's friends and colleages, were still in shock over his death.