Stan Martin

POP STANDARDS LOSE A VOICE

By DAVID HINCKLEY, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, January 29th 2003, 8:23AM

Stan Martin

Stan Martin, a radio lifer who programmed the city’s last commercial popular-standards station, WQEW, died yesterday at Lenox Hospital. He was 64.Martin had recently suffered a stroke, although many of his friends in radio said the hardest blow for him was the closure of ‘QEW in December 1998.

The often-rumpled Martin, who loved to talk music and radio, was the first host when WQEW signed on in December 1992. He signed it off in 1998, playing Nat King Cole’s “Star Dust.” He was program director as well as a host, and he often said that after working in almost every format, standards brought him back to his musical love.

While running WQEW was rewarding, however, it wasn’t easy, because by the ’90s, preserving a standards station was a constant struggle. In 1998, The New York Times leased the station to ABC, which now uses it for Radio Disney.

“Stan worked like a dog to preserve the American songbook,” said Jonathan Schwartz, WQEW’s afternoon host, who is now on WNYC and XM Satellite Radio. “He was a true champion of the wonderful music for which he stood.”

Bob Jones, WQEW’s morning host, had known Martin since they worked together at the late WNEW-AM. “We were friends for 25 years,” said Jones. “I like to think I gave him an enduring nickname at WNEW: Stanley Velvet.”

Martin’s radio career started in 1959 at WDLC in Port Jervis, N.Y. He programmed WPAC, now WBLI, before moving to WPIX and the “Pix Penthouse.”

He was a country host on WHN, where he started the syndicated “Solid Gold Country.” He joined WKTU when it was “Mellow 92″ and was a host at WNEW-AM before returning to WHN. He remained there after it became WFAN, and also programmed WPEN in Philadelphia.

After WQEW, he did cabaret shows in syndication and on the Internet. But the lack of popular standards on commercial radio left him frustrated. “I don’t understand,” he said last year, “how there isn’t room on New York radio for America’s greatest music.”

Stan Martin, a radio lifer who programmed the city’s last commercial popular-standards station, WQEW, died yesterday at Lenox Hospital. He was 64.

Martin had recently suffered a stroke, although many of his friends in radio said the hardest blow for him was the closure of ‘QEW in December 1998.

The often-rumpled Martin, who loved to talk music and radio, was the first host when WQEW signed on in December 1992. He signed it off in 1998, playing Nat King Cole’s “Star Dust.” He was program director as well as a host, and he often said that after working in almost every format, standards brought him back to his musical love.

While running WQEW was rewarding, however, it wasn’t easy, because by the ’90s, preserving a standards station was a constant struggle. In 1998, The New York Times leased the station to ABC, which now uses it for Radio Disney.

“Stan worked like a dog to preserve the American songbook,” said Jonathan Schwartz, WQEW’s afternoon host, who is now on WNYC and XM Satellite Radio. “He was a true champion of the wonderful music for which he stood.”

Bob Jones, WQEW’s morning host, had known Martin since they worked together at the late WNEW-AM.

“We were friends for 25 years,” said Jones. “I like to think I gave him an enduring nickname at WNEW: Stanley Velvet.”

Martin’s radio career started in 1959 at WDLC in Port Jervis, N.Y. He programmed WPAC, now WBLI, before moving to WPIX and the “Pix Penthouse.”

He was a country host on WHN, where he started the syndicated “Solid Gold Country.” He joined WKTU when it was “Mellow 92″ and was a host at WNEW-AM before returning to WHN. He remained there after it became WFAN, and also programmed WPEN in Philadelphia.

After WQEW, he did cabaret shows in syndication and on the Internet. But the lack of popular standards on commercial radio left him frustrated. “I don’t understand,” he said last year, “how there isn’t room on New York radio for America’s greatest music.”

2 Responses to Stan Martin

  1. Stan and I first met in 1959 in Hagerstown, MD, where Stan started the
    night show “Night Train” (also his theme song , on WARK 1490 on the dial. We stayed friends until his death. In 1968 Stan was best man at my wedding.
    We had many an interesting time in Hagerstown. I often went on “remotes” with him and met many jazz artists who passed through Hagerstown appearing at “The Vogue Room” in the center of town.
    We both were from NY and would share rides to the city. He going to his parents in Manhattan and I to home in Westchester County.
    I was at his funeral and spoke a few words. His mother and sisterwere there and we had a tearful reunion.
    He will be and still is…missed.

    • Stan was a dear friend of my family. He once told me to always “sing my song.” I remember this often and it moves me forward in the best direction. Stan was special.