After spending the past 25 years outside the community spotlight, “Mr. Nostalgia” is ready to have his voice heard again.
Chuck Nalbone is making the leap into the digital age as he stages his return to radio on the Internet’s most popular video website, YouTube.
Many listeners of WJTN back in the late 1970s may remember Nalbone, a lifelong Jamestown resident, by his moniker, “Mr. Nostalgia.” Today, the former disc jockey is giving that nickname an entirely different meaning. He is proving that old habits die hard as he utilizes his previous radio expertise, including techniques that he admits to be quite antiquated, in hopes of reaching a new audience of both familiarity and newcomers.
And while Nalbone is eagerly anticipating his new endeavor, he is also wishing to reach out to community members for participation.
Because his new program will be privately operated, Nalbone hopes that listeners will view the program as not only a worthwhile listen, but also a sounding board for whatever they would like to discuss.
“Once you get into the business (of radio), it never leaves you,” he said. “And I’ve always believed, as my mother had taught me, that you learn from people. I want people in the community to know that they have somebody here for them. I’ve always said that bragging rights have been denied (for certain people). There are a lot of things that will allow people to have an opportunity to brag about their kids, and with good reason. But there other families and people that don’t have that, so I said to myself, ‘I want to be there for other people.'”
LIVING IN THE ‘PAST’
Nalbone is entitled to bragging rights of his own, which mostly came about as a result of being in the right place at the right time. His story, which has culminated in the opportunity to interview the likes of Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Ricky Nelson, Harry Chapin, Leslie Gore, Chubby Checker and Burl Ives, began when he met Jim Roselle as a pre-teen.
Nalbone was introduced to Roselle through a classmate’s father because of his interest in radio. At the time, Nalbone was reading the daily morning announcements at Washington Middle School. After spending time in and around the WJTN building and with Roselle as an observer, he was eventually hired by the radio station in 1971 at the age of 15. He worked as a board operator and helped with the formatting of shows for some recognizable names such as Doc Webster, Hal Martin and Pete Hubbell. Nalbone’s first official show was on Aug. 17, 1977, the night following the death of Elvis Presley.
During this time, he also was known as the voice of the Jamestown High School marching band, traveling with and announcing the band and its songs during all of their performances. And although he graduated from JHS in 1975, he performed these duties until 1980, when he also left WJTN during a time of transition.
“What WJTN did for me was to form me,” he said. “They created the impressions that taught me to think, allowed me to be interesting and allowed me to bring out whatever was in me, creatively. So, I would consider those the formative years.”
In the 1980s, Nalbone joined his childhood friend Frank Smeragliuolo Jr. and Frank’s brother, John, in helping them to establish the Nite-Line magazine. Nalbone would be the primary interviewer of local musicians and bands for nearly 10 years. It was during these years that he met with and interviewed the aforementioned celebrities as well as countless local and regional bands. Nalbone left Nite-Line in 1990 to return to radio.
He was welcomed back to the world of radio, this time as a member of WKSN, by some of the people with whom he had worked before. Despite his connection to the station, he was returned to an entry-level position and board operating duties. When his father passed away in 1995, Nalbone left WKSN to take care of his mother.
Nalbone’s mother, Thelma Salerno Nalbone, passed away on Dec. 17, 2011, just two days after the death of Smeragliuolo Jr. Nalbone was very close to his mother and he is dedicating his YouTube project to her memory.
“Good things rub off on people,” he said. “You know the expression, ‘It’s better to give than receive,’ and that’s what I’m trying to do. I want to be entertaining, of course, and I want it to be something that people will enjoy. And I think I can still do that. I’ve got endless stories and behind-the-scenes interviews, so I’m not worried about that. But I want it to be for the people, too.”
He added: “I don’t want to get people bored, and that’s going to be the risky part of this. But I figure that if I can make it interesting, it allows people to, for a moment, do something different: stop and listen. It gives people a chance to do something that they might not ordinarily think of doing. But they might like it.”
Because his YouTube project is heavily dependent on listener response, Nalbone is hoping to have enough material to post on a daily basis. In the interim, he will also be posting samples of his back catalog on a biweekly basis, including some of his old interviews and radio programs.
As his first undertaking, Nalbone is wanting for listeners to call and leave a message for a loved one for this coming Valentine’s Day. He is especially encouraging people who have a friend or family member involved with the military to leave a message for their loved one. He will take calls up until midnight of Jan. 31 and messages no longer than 60 seconds in length. All messages left within these specified time frames will be edited together into a single clip and posted to his YouTube channel on Valentine’s Day.
“Valentine’s Day is only a few weeks away,” he said. “And I know that sometimes it’s hard to get that special message to someone, especially if they’re in the armed services. And if they live out of the (country) or in other time zones, it’s kind of hard to call and get in touch with them. Maybe I can help.”
Nalbone’s YouTube channel can be found by visiting www.youtube.com and searching the website for “Chuck Nalbone,” which is also the name of his channel. Those who wish to contact Nalbone to leave a message for the program can call 720-5137. He can also be reached by email at: email@example.com.
He has already posted a welcome video entitled “my you tube welcome” and video outlining the details of his Valentine’s Day project.