Sun Jul 24 07:52:16 EDT 2011
In the 1960-1961 era (my 5th / 6th grades at the Brackett School,
Arlington), WCOP was the big favorite for me and many of my classmates.
The fact that its 1150 transmitter was on Concord Ave. in Lexington,
less than two miles away, no doubt helped since you could hear WCOP on
any piece of junk including "rocket radios" - basically very small
crystal sets not needing a battery. Kids would clip the "rocket
radios" to metal classroom desks and sneak-listen to WCOP with the tiny
earphone. Bob Wilson of later sportscasting fame was one of the WCOP
jocks. Paul Koss, Dex Card (an obviously fake name that appeared on
other stations), and Pat Patterson were some of the other DJ's. WCOP's
after-school personality Eddy Mitchell was, by far, the one best known
to the kids. He had a zany approach and dropped in clips from comedy
records (such as Stan Freberg and Spike Jones) and sometimes "killed"
(slowed down until the record stopped) songs that were terminally sappy
/ silly such as "Jimmy Love" by Cathy Carroll, one of those tragedy
genre songs in which Cathy is out walking with her fiance Jimmy Love
and he gets killed by lightning just before the wedding. In Arlington
and Belmont, Mitchell's show was even more popular than WMEX's Woo Woo
Ginsburg later at night. Mitchell made public appearances in a VW
Karmann Ghia convertible with WCOP lettering all over it. On a hot
summer day in 1961, Mitchell took his road show near the Filene's store
and bus stop in Belmont Center. Pre-teen kids went crazy as Mitchell
launched 45's frisbee-style into the assembled crowd. These were
generally "dog" records for which the station had no further use.
Still it was fun to be there.
WCOP's southern ownership roots showed as their Top 40 mix was more
generously sprinked with country than on competitors WMEX, WHIL, and
WBZ. 1961 was a legendary year for country anyway and WCOP would never
let you down if you wanted some Patsy Cline, Don Gibson, Marty Robbins,
Faron Young, Leroy VanDyke, Jimmy Dean as well as "almost country"
Brenda Lee, Johnny Tillotson, Everly Bros., Wanda Jackson. As many
know, after a dull MoR period (about 1962 to 1967), WCOP became a very
good full-fledged country station by the late '60s. Much later the
1150 frequency in Boston became a sort of laughing stock as different
call letters and formats were being rotated through at a furious pace.
The last time I paid the station much attention is when it took the
WMEX call a few years in the '80s with a decent oldies format.
Mark Connelly - Billerica, MA + South Yarmouth, MA
WCOP was one of my two most-listened-to stations when I was in the East
dorms at MIT '58-'62. (The other was then-WTBS, naturally. WMEX was
because they didn't come in very well a lot of the time.) I have
me ever since that "Plough Incorporated" (which was the phrasing I
and over on WCOP) was headquartered in Memphis. But I have nothing to
up except slowly fading half-century-old recollections.
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