Magic Matt Craig

What is New York’s Best Rock?

Depends on who you ask. It doesn’t seem possible today, but in the early to mid 70s, the AM band was the dominating force in radio. In fact, it wasn’t until 1973 that the US Government mandated that all new cars had to be sold with both AM and FM tuners. AM Radio was dominated by tightly programmed music stations that played the same top 40 songs all day. Many songs repeated as frequently as every 45 minutes! So, those of us music fans who grew up during that time were hungry for more than just those 40 records repeated over and over. In the New York Metro area, we were lucky to have a radio station whose slogan was “New York’s Best Rock”. They featured deep album tracks from rock bands of the time. It was around that time that album sales started to eclipse singles sales. New York’s Best Rock, an “Album-Oriented-Rock” (AOR) station was certainly one of the forces behind that shift. For the first time, we could hear an alternative to the hit songs off an album on the radio. They featured deeper album tracks, and it was a tremendous success. So much so, that if you ask anyone of a certain age what New York’s Best Rock was, they can still tell you all these years later. It wasn’t just the music, it was also the DJ’s. Those who presented this music were stars themselves. It wasn’t unusual for John Lennon or Elton John or other big acts of the day to stop by the studios and chat with them when they were in town.

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, and in 1983, New York’s Best Rock was no more. Today, over 40 years later, New York’s Best Rock hasn’t been forgotten! Magic Matt Craig was one of those fans who grew up in the shadow of New York City listening and loving this great radio station, and it certainly had an effect on his musical tastes. Matt never forgot those heady days, and now, all these years later, he’s taken his obsession for it and turned it into his own weekly radio program. No, it’s not the original station, there’s no way to duplicate that, instead, it’s Matt’s vision of what New York’s Best Rock could have been if it lived on beyond 1983.

Matt Craig graduated from the New Institute of Technology with a BFA in Communication Arts. He worked at WGLI-AM and WNYG-AM, both in Babylon, NY. His career path veered into sales, until he retired in 2021. From 2004-2005, he hosted “Studio 108” on WEBE 108 in Bridgeport, CT. He has hosted New York’s Best Rock since 2020. He also has the premiere aircheck collectors website, which has been up since 2002.

Matt lives on Long Island with his wife, daughter and 3 cats.