New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

For great Jersey music and much more, tune into our radio station at

WNEW On the Beach

By Gary Wien

originally published: 01/26/2012

In the mid-80s, Asbury Park had already become largely a ghost town even during the summer season.  The Palace was still open but most of the rides along the boardwalk were long gone as were many of the restaurants and shops.  The once crowded beach was largely abandoned in favor of nearby towns like Belmar and Manasquan.  But for two days each year, WNEW-FM of New York made Asbury the place to be again.

Every Memorial Day and Labor Day WNEW-FM took over Asbury Park with a free all-day concert on the beach. The show took place in front of the old Casino and was broadcast live on the radio.  Tens of thousands of fans from the tri-state area used to take the Garden State Parkway to exit 102 (as in 102.7 FM) and come down for the day.  Crowds of up to 80,000 were not uncommon.  And, since school was still in session for the first show, it became the local “cut day” for students from the area.  “The fact that it was free didn’t hurt,” said Jim Monaghan, a former DJ at WNEW-FM.

Boardwalk vendors that seemed to be closed every day of the year sold pizza, hotdogs, hamburgers and soda.  WNEW-FM hats were given out and the station had promotional giveaways throughout the day.  Each show was more than just an event, it was a celebration of music in a town with an incredible musical legacy. 

“Bruce and Southside certainly put the town on the map, giving it an international spotlight,” said Monaghan.  “Without those two, Asbury Park is just another town with a good music scene. With those two, Asbury took on a kind of romantic notion.”

Monaghan believes the Springsteen connection was a factor in why WNEW chose Asbury Park. “WNEW-FM had a long history with New Jersey listeners and at the time there was still a pretty vibrant Jersey Shore music scene,” he said. “ I would also imagine that the station’s relationship with the Stone Pony had a lot to do with the decision to have the shows there.  Asbury was also convenient to get to and had an area of beach and boardwalk large enough to hold a significant amount of people.”

Shows featured such local artists as Southside Johnny & the Jukes, Glen Burtnick, the Smithereens and John Eddie.  National acts included Joan Jett, the Fabulous T-Birds, Robert Cray Band, Georgia Satellites, Nick Lowe and Roger McGuinn of the Byrds.

The article continues after this ad


Monaghan’s own band, Bums In The Park, was a regular member of the lineup as well.  “There was always a feeling of celebrating the sense of community that the station had always tried to develop with its listeners,” said Monaghan.  “Some very cool national artists played those shows with me... I was always on the lookout for good local bands that we could help break on the air because that had long been a big part of the station’s history.”

From the book Beyond The Palace by Gary Wien

For more by this author, click here

Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme Presents Patrick Fitzsimmons On December 16
(SUCCASUNNA, NJ) -- Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme (RR&R) presents Patrick Fitzsimmons on Sunday, December 16 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at the Investors Bank Theatre in Succasunna. Tickets are $20 for general admission; $15 for RAA/SSG/JAM members; and free for those under 18.
Outpost in the Burbs Presents Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams
(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- Outpost in the Burbs presents Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams on Saturday, December 8th at 8:00pm at the First Congregational Church, 40 South Fullerton Avenue.  Opening the show will be New York City-based singer-songwriter Leslie Mendelson. Outpost volunteers will be accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys for the holiday season for Toys for Tots at the show.
Jann Klose and The Voice's Josett Diaz To Perform At Ethical Brew To Benefit A Cause Close To Home
(TEANECK, NJ) -- On Saturday, December 8th, singer-songwriter and recording artist, Jann Klose will perform at Ethical Brew on behalf of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, a community arts and cultural center for children and teens located in Bronx, New York.  Doors open at 7:30, show begins at 8:00pm.
Kenny Chesney To Perform At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Focusing on smaller venues and markets not directly impacted by his massive stadium tours, Kenny Chesney sought to make his Songs for the Saints 2019 Tour mirror the intimacy of its namesake album. Inspired by the resilience of the people around him, Chesney doubles down on the human connection for his 2019 tour by seeking those members of No Shoes Nation who have spent the past decade and a half making the trip to stadium markets for what is now a summer tradition. On Saturday, May 11, 2019 he brings the tour to Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena in Atlantic City, NJ.
State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Friday, December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, December 9 at 2:00pm. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a division of Cirque du Soleil, has become a critically acclaimed, state-of-the-art Broadway musical, and a fun-filled, holiday family show. Tickets range from $35-$98.

"Great Music!" Tavares and Harold Melvin's Blue Notes LIVE! at the Strand Theater
The music of the 1970s is alive and well this Saturday, November 3, 2018 at Lakewood, NJ’s Strand Theater with a concert by the ’70’s R&B and soul groups Tavares and Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes!
"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.

Event calendar
Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018

The Madness of George III @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm and 7:00pm


Warren Miller’s Face of Winter @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

View all events


For more on our awards, click here

New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.