With Dion’s 2004 performance of “Love Came to Me” at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, we note a pair of two-year anniversaries in this week’s Video of the Week–the passing of New York radio personality Pete Fornatale on April 26, 2013 and Alan Seltzer officially taking over host and producer responsibilities of “The Grooveyard” on May 1 of that year. In a way, Dion is the artist that best connects the two events.
In the 1970s, Pete hosted Monday-Thursday mid-days on WNEW-FM along with a Sunday 4-8 PM show. The last hour of his Sunday show was always based on a specific artist or theme, in what was a preview of the “Mixed Bag” show he was later known for. One of those theme shows devoted an hour to the music of Dion and the Belmonts on an anniversary of their iconic 1972 reunion concert at Madison Square Garden. Alan Seltzer was listening at home–as he did on many Sunday nights–and the hour sparked an interest in Dion and the Belmonts plus other music of that era. It’s possible that interest that led to his role on “The Grooveyard” today would not have taken place without that hour during Pete’s show.
The connections between Pete and Alan go beyond that hour. Both have been involved with WhyHunger, a grassroots organization supporting grassroots solutions that inspire self-reliance and community empowerment to hunger issues. Pete was one of the founders of the organization’s annual Hungerthon event to raise both funds and awareness, and Alan has been a volunteer supervisor at the same event for 15 years. As a fan of quality programming, Pete has also supported Alan’s radio shows on WCWP, mentioning his shows during Pete’s own appearances at bookstores to promote his Back to the Garden book about the 1969 Woodstock Festival. He was also a guest on Alan’s “Seltzer With a Twist” show on two occasions. In addition, Pete’s son, Peter Thomas Fornatale was interviewed by Alan on WCWP’s “The Rock Show” last year upon the release of 50 Licks, a book the two co-authored.
As we approach the second anniversary of Alan Seltzer hosting “The Grooveyard”, we fondly remember Pete Fornatale.
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