Where Rock Once Lived, Only the Stones Remain 

A scattering of stones are all that’s left from the foundation of the one-time Briarcliff Manor home of WRNW FM, in this photo taken Jan. 28, 2022, by Robert Brum.

All that’s left of a place where rock once lived is a pile of stones.  

The ramshackle backstreet building in Briarcliff Manor where radio stars like Howard Stern and Meg Griffin got their start has been torn down to make room for luxury apartments. 

The Woodside Avenue property has been cleared, with only a Dumpster and remnants of the long-vacant building’s foundation surrounded by plastic fencing visible during a recent visit. 

A 2021 photo of the vacant Briarcliff Manor building that was once home to the studios of WRNW FM. Photo: Robert Brum

The dilapidated house was once home to WRNW, a tiny FM station that punched above its weight in the progressive rock market from 1973 to 1981. 

In its cozy quarters, a geeky Stern stumbled into the persona that would eventually elevate him to the throne as self-proclaimed “king of all media.”  

Griffin arrived fresh out of college, and forged a reputation at WRNW as a pioneering prog-rock DJ that eventually led to her enshrinement into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

Stern was WRNW’s midday DJ and took over as program director after Griffin left in late 1977 when the format went soft.  

WRNW (whose call letters stood for Radio of Northern Westchester) took to the airwaves at 107.1 FM in 1960, broadcasting easy listening and light classical out of a Mount Kisco studio. The station moved into Briarcliff in 1973, switching to the progressive, free-form format that dominated FM dial in the 70s. 

The cramped corridors were far from perfect for a radio station. 

Bruce Figler at River Journal’s June 2021 event commemorating WRNW (Photo: Howard Copeland)

“It was someone’s house, and we were in someone’s attic bedroom,” recalled Bruce Figler, who was hired as a DJ by Stern in 1977. “There was a window behind where you sat and you had to keep it open because it got hot.” 

Figler was among the WRNW alumni who gathered in June 2021 for a River Journal event to bid farewell to the address where they spent the best moments of their radio days. 

After a series of ownership and format changes, WRNW went off the air and its spot on the dial was acquired around 2004 by the owners of The Peak, which still broadcasts at 107.1 FM. 

The sagging two-story structure that once held the radio station was demolished by Landmark Management LCC, which is sinking $1 million into the site to construct a mix of office space and apartments. 

Landmark purchased the third-of-an-acre parcel that was the longtime home of the Yankee Clipper hair salon for $525,000 in 2021.

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About the Author: Robert Brum