The Shark, WOKQ Have Some Major Connections to This Historic NY Radio Station
Sad and also historic moment in radio history as New York station 95.5 WPLJ has been sold to a new owner that is ending its 48-year run as a pop/rock station on May 31 at 7pm.
It seems almost unbelievable to me that its happening and even more unbelievable that I got to be a very small part of that unparalleled legacy.
Furthermore, there are some major connections now to our famous stations here on Middle Road in Dover to that once grand station in Manhattan.
My father was a lawyer and in politics, later a judge; I was in a suit and tie at political events as a toddler and as soon as I was old enough to understand and answer the question "Are ya going to be a lawyer like your dad?" And I really didn't have an answer until I was a few years older, around 8 or 9.
I was listening to top 40 radio on a clock radio morning and night, in the car and my boom box doing homework (not to mention watching Letterman in Late Night on a little black and white tv) and I had my answer: I wanted to be in broadcasting.
My father said to me, "I went to law school, you should learn everything you can about your craft!"
He got me a subscription to Billboard Magazine, and right there in the first issue that landed on our doorstep was a story on WPLJ's 20th anniversary at that time AND the hiring of their big morning host (and later my mentor Scott Shannon) in spring of 1991.
In the story, I was mesmerized by the bigger than life presentation, the strategy of the station, the idea of doing what I wanted to do in a giant city down the road from my hometown in Rhode Island... and? The two vice president's running the place? They came from my hometown of Providence and "made it there" to NYC.
From that point in the 2nd grade and into my career I had one goal: to work at WPLJ in New York.
Over the NEXT 20 years I visited the station several times as I came to know some of the staffers and eventually in 2011 began a two year run as a DJ, production voice and programming assistant to Scott who took me under his wing (and continues to do so).
It was never lost on me as I'd step off the elevator at the studios above Madison Square Garden and look down the long hallway to the control room... a hall that not only we lucky 1 percent of radio DJs who get to work in the number one media market walked but everyone from Paul McCartney to Katy Perry.
As the station signs off, there remains some major connections alive and well right here at WOKQ and The Shark on the Seacoast.
1) Myself as afternoon DJ on The Shark: several features like "Party Patrol" and the "5 O'clock whistle" were inspired by similar WPLJ elements.
2) WPLJ jingles were re-worked and are currently among the many played on WOKQ.
3) The announcer voice of The Shark, Dan Kelly, was also the voice of WPLJ from 2001 until now.
4) Ralphie Aversa, a DJ on WOKQ, was the night time DJ on WPLJ for several years and worked with me.
Great memories. Thank you 'PLJ....