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Rock 'N' Roll Never Forgets at DHPAC

On Sept. 24, 1974, rock legend John Lennon

On Sept. 24, 1974, rock legend John Lennon spent two hours on the air speaking with radio DJ Dennis Elsas. The conversation became a piece of broadcasting history. Elsas will discuss this experience -- among many other highlights of his almost 40-year career March 11, 2012 at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center at Five Towns College. In this photo Lennon plays Madison Square Garden. (Aug. 30, 1972) Photo Credit: AP

Getting to know more about your favorite rock musicians these days is no challenge -- as every performer and producer has a Web page, a Facebook page, a Tumblr page, a Twitter account --  not to mention the masses of bloggers and reporters watching the scene 24 hours a day.

However, back when The Beatles were still together and the artists who played Woodstock were contemporary, aside from a few regular magazines, the main place to go to get to know bands was on the radio.

The format is still alive today, but going back a couple of generations, there was a time where the DJs were often the conduit to rock artists -- as those voices heard on the airwaves were not only instrumental in breaking new music, but also in introducing the performers themselves -- conducting interviews that opened the worlds of rock stars to the public in exciting fashion.

One of those radio personalities who was an integral part of that history was Dennis Elsas.

Currently, 102.7 on the FM dial is WWFS-FM (“Fresh 102.7”), but for decades it was known as one of the country’s major rock radio stations under the call letters WNEW-FM. From the 1960s to the 1990s, WNEW served its listeners both with music and a roster of hosts who offered insights and interviews. Elsas was one of those, working not only as a DJ but as a music director.

Today, he is still on the air, appearing on 90.7 WFUV and on Sirius/XM satellite radio. Elsas’s career has spanned almost 40 years, and along the way he has interviewed such legendary rock stars as Elton John, Pete Townshend and Jerry Garcia -- as well as once spending a couple of hours speaking with John Lennon in 1974. For those who would enjoy learning more about the experiences of Dennis Elsas, he’ll be appearing at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center at Five Towns College from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. It will be a live presentation, where Elsas will go over past interviews, his thoughts on radio and other highlights of his career. Tickets are $20, and are available online at dhpac.org (for more information, email archives@denniselsas.com).

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