Bernie Wagenblast hopes to capture community sounds

Bernie Wagenblast

Bernie Wagenblast

There are 565 municipalities in New Jersey. They range from cities with hundreds of thousands of residents to rural hamlets with only a handful of citizens. Each has their own history and characteristics and Bernie Wagenblast hopes to find a unique sound that can be identified with that community. So far he’s collected over 100 sounds.

Like the towns they represent, the sounds show the variety of the state. For example, there’s the sound of cranberries being harvested in Burlington County’s Woodland Township and the voice of Thomas Edison on a phonograph for West Orange.

Often, the sounds are the unexpected. Rahway was once the home the home of the Regina Music Box Company. Rahway’s sound is one of the metal music disks being played.

Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike crossing in Woodbridge.

Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike crossing in Woodbridge. (Photo credit: Bernie Wagenblast)

Some of the sounds are historical, including the crash of the Hindenburg in Manchester, while others are whimsical, such as the sound of traffic on the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike where they cross in Woodbridge.

Wagenblast, who has lived in New Jersey for all but six months of his life, decided to create the sound mosaic of the state because much of his career has involved audio.

He’s a veteran radio traffic reporter who can still be heard on Saturdays delivering updates on New Jersey 101.5 and 1010 WINS. He also does voiceover work and is one you hear on the AirTrain at Newark and Kennedy airports as well as the New York City subways.

All of the audio clips can be heard at and Wagenblast welcomes suggestions for future sounds.

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