Tuesday, April 15, 2014


James L. O' Brien or "OB" as he was known was born on March 26, 1943.  He graduated from St Anthony of Padua High School in Syracuse in 1961. Jim without question was one of the great guys ever involved in the CNY music scene. Jim was first heard on WNDR Radio AM-1260 as the "Boy Owl" back in 1961, but through the years was also known as "King of the DJ's" and "Dean of the Dawn". With a year off to serve in the U.S. Coast Guard (1965) Jim returned staying at WNDR AM 1260 along with its sister station WNTQ FM for career totaling 34 years until his departure from WNTQ FM in October 1995. During his radio career "OB' played Rock & Roll, Golden Oldies and later country music formats.

Jim O'Brien's air shift times though the years included All-Nights, 2-6 PM (1963) and later  7- 11 PM and some morning while also holding the title of WNDR's music director. The popular Syracuse band Sam & The Twisters recording the Jim O'Brien theme song to the music track of "Wild Weekend"..It went something like- It's the Jim O'Brien show, 1260 radio on your dial...etc.

WNDR highlights- Jim boarded a bus filled with WNDR listeners and headed to Shea Stadium to see The Beatles perform back on August 15, 1965. And how about OB & "Dandy Dan"  Leonard sleeping a week in the front window of Walt's Record Shop on So. Salina Street to raise money to help the M.D.A. There are many-many more..

He was inducted into the "Syracuse Area Music Awards" (SAMMYs) Hall of Fame in 1997. Jim became ill in 2003 and a huge benefit was held in this honor on November 15 at the Onondaga Valley American Legion Post. Bands playing this great benefit included Gary Dunes & The Del-tunes, Carman Licitra & The Vikings with Dave Novak, The Fab Five (Novak, Gary Frenay & Arty Lenin), The Cobblerockers (Jan Fetterly, Al Wolf, Tim Cleary), Dan Elliott & The Monterays (Dan Elliott, Dave Moziak, George Day, Jack Abert, John Wisnewski, others ) and Ted & Amy from WNTQ..

Sadly our friend Jim O' Brien a true Syracuse music & radio legend and a great guy passed away on Saturday April 30, 2005 at age 62. Jim is buried in Syracuse's Onondaga Valley Cemetery.

PS- Jim was also a great help in our quest to obtain information when we started the "History of Syracuse Music" album series and  book projects. "OB" was also an avid golfer (Liverpool C.C and Bellevue Country Club) and a true NY Yankee baseball fan...His favorite music artists included Neil Diamond & Emilou Harris.

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