"Sure," I said,
"Ill write a history of rock at the station in the thirtieth anniversary
Actually, Ive been combing through ye olde stash of vintage
station program guides going back over 26 years, and they revealed some interesting little
Well, to begin with: FM On Toast began as an early morning
Hard to believe, but its true. The stations
centerpiece for folk was not always such. It was morning rock, with no folk this side of
During the 70s much of the stations rock programming
was geared as "auditions" for our then on-air-talent, and musically, there was
little difference between the rock programming here and that on WHCN, WPLR or WCCC at the
time. As a matter of fact, one FM On Toast write-up mentioned continued and failed
attempts by the then hosts to get Don Imus on the phone.
Oh, what wacky pranksters.
There also (brace yourself) was no Synthesis then.
Instead, there were Recess Rock and Afternoon Roll which ran ninety to a
hundred or so minutes longer. Back then, hosts floated freely between all shows, including
the then established Gothic Blimp Works, and the less frequently scheduled Off
the Blimps or Gothic Annex (later the All Night Show).
And how about that name, Gothic Blimp Works? The origins
of that name go back to the late 1960s, when it was the name of the comics insert in
the "underground" (remember that name?) newspaper "The East Village
Other." Rent the movie "Crumb," and youll see one or two of R. Crumbs
covers for it flash by.
Throughout the seventies, however, there were some rock DJs
who still held a torch for the more creative aspects of radio. One such we know of was
Mark Persky, whose show entitled God Presents Adam and Eves Cavalcade of
mutated by 1977 into The Greatest Show From Earth, which still runs today thanks to
Dave DeMaw (regular host 1978-85) and The Voice of Delorenzoid (1985-present).
Some of the other long running WWUH 70s stalwarts included:
Jim Shanahan, Roger Stauss, Ray White, Maceo Woods (soul host from 1972-1980), Bob Smolen,
John Klepsak, Steve Foss, Bob Thompson, Nay Nassar (hosting Sounds of the City, an
early version of Street Corner Serenade), Ray White, Burrito, "Wild"
Wayne Jones (starting The Rock and Roll Memory Machine in 1977)
In the very early 1980s, the executive committee of WWUH
changed, in what was a highly contested election to determine the future of WWUH. With the
hotly contested election of Patty Kurlychek as General Manager came a new dedication to a
different WWUH. And to make that difference real, the Synthesis (as it had evolved
by 1981 or so), Gothics and All Night slots were dedicated to rock and
musically free form programming ( or, perhaps more accurately, musically format free).
With the early eighties came names like Andy Taylor (the longest running Synthesis
host, still on Tuesdays from 1 PM to 4 PM), Michael Clare (owner of the late
lamented Capitol Record Shop), Psychedelic Susan, (later of Ambience fame) bringing back
psychedelia before it was trendy, Mark DeLorenzo (later Delorenzoid of GSFE), Reynolds
Onderdonk (like Andy Taylor also a WRTC host), Bill Yousman, Rob Banks, Steve Burke, Janet
"Planet" (a long running host on Thursday Synthesis until the early
The musically free form spirit continued through the eighties on
WWUH, thanks in part to these remembered names:
Stuart "Mad Daddy" Werner (one of the more raucous
shows and show hosts in our history); Lee "Flea" Courtney (with his show,
eventually titled "No Family Values" in our Friday Gothics slot - a balm
in the third Regan/Bush conservative term); Rich "DJ Dick" Dittman (later with
Tim Costa as "Two Hillbillies," they busted house music on the Hartford radio
scene); Dave Zaluda (often, but not always, host of Wednesday or Friday Synthesis
over the years, he still plays new sounds All Night Wednesday); Mark Melnick (not
only master of beats, but of loud raucous music later known as Grunge. (By who I
dont know...); Jim Valentino and Mike McGarry (co-hosts of "The War Zone"
home to much metal, and other loud fast hybrids); and Grant Miller (his "Mouthful of
Paint" was a fantastic format-free show).
Then, in 1988, came the man who would change everything.
That November, came....
(Pause for non-existent "oohs" and "ahhs" and
a short gag from the editor).
OK, well, maybe it wasnt that big a deal, but thats
when I started, originally taking over for the Thursday All Night Show from the Polka
By 1988, a number of the Gothics and All Nights
were given over to shows having nothing to do with rock (nothing much, anyway). For
instance. Lloyd Weir has been the reggae host of Saturdays Gothic Blimp Works
for over a decade now. In that format-free spirit, the Synths, Goths and
have often been open to reggae, hip-hop, R&B, blues, jazz, folk and world.
Its a programming concept that continues through today.
Continuing a dedication to African American based music forms
other than jazz, blues or rock on WWUH over the years, have been hosts like Maurice
Robinson (technically a "jazz" host, I know, but he calls it "Accent on
Creative Music"), Art Barlow, Art Green, Terrell Dickson, Anthony Price, Pretlow
Harris,(Spreadlove), Technique Specialist, as well as Steve Williams and Synthesis host
Meanwhile, with the nineties, the rock hasnt subsided:
Sunday Gothics saw the arrival of "Captain" Jon Scott in 1988 with a mix
of blues, rock, folk and more; the 801 s "Twist and Rut" show (as it came
to be called) gave us a few years of programming dedicated to great rock; Vicki Aubin
busted some new bands on us on Synthesis from 1991 to 1994 or so; Don T. And Way Out
Willie blasted our eardrums in those early to mid nineties; Joan Holliday began "The
Happy Club on Synthesis, and hasnt stopped smiling since; and the elusive Jim
Locker threw together sounds on "Radio For...," with a special passion of rock
in the spirit of Patti Smith and Gang of Four.
Did I mention Mike Ringlands "Evening Peal?", or
Bora? or Chriss "Frith & Inle?"
Well suffice it to say, I really couldnt do much more with
this article than drop some old names and perhaps introduce you to newer ones. Does this
tell you the history of rock and free-form programming at WWUH? Only a little. The rest of
the story is there, on the radio. Its on "Synthesis" (Monday-Friday, one
to four PM), the "Gothic Blimp Works" (nightly, midnight to three AM) and
the "All Night Show" (likewise nightly from three to six AM). Its on
"Street Corner Serenade" (Saturday one to three PM) and the "Rock and Roll
Memory Machine" (second longest running rock show behind Gothics, Sunday six to eight
PM). And its still there on "The Greatest Show From Earth" (Sunday nine to
Me? Im Moondog. Friday Gothics. I work the night shift.
Copyright©WWUH: July/August Program Guide, 1998