Alison Steele

Alison Steele (born Ceil Loman on January 26, 1937; died September 27, 1995) was a pioneering American disc jockey in Manhattan. She was commonly known as "The Nightbird".

Steele achieved her greatest following as a disc jockey on WNEW-FM 102.7, where she hosted the night shift in a new format when contemporary rock music began to be featured on FM radio. After a major change in station programming from a briefly instituted all-female middle of the road (MOR) music format to what was becoming known as progressive rock radio occurred at WNEW-FM 102.7, she took the new late night position.

Steele began her show by reciting poetry over Andean flute music, before introducing her show in her well-known sultry, smoky voice with, "The flutter of wings, the shadow across the moon, the sounds of the night, as the Nightbird spreads her wings and soars, above the earth, into another level of comprehension, where we exist only to feel. Come, fly with me, Alison Steele, the Nightbird, at WNEW-FM, until dawn."

Some of the groups Steele featured were progressive rock and space rock outfits such as the Moody Blues, King Crimson, Jefferson Airplane, Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, the Chambers Brothers, Hot Tuna, Yes, Genesis, Hawkwind, Kiss, Lothar and the Hand People, Tangerine Dream, Edgar Froese, The Stooges, Renaissance, Curved Air, Tomita and many other groups from a variety of genres.

According to Jimi Hendrix's manager, Michael Jeffery, the song "Night Bird Flying", recorded by him and released posthumously on the album, The Cry Of Love, was inspired by Allison's late night Manhattan radio program.

Her show became an instant hit and did much to push WNEW-FM 102.7 into the forefront of progressive rock radio. Steele became the first woman named as Billboard Magazine FM Personality of the Year.



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