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Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I wasn't much of a vandal when I was a teenager, but childhood friend Kevin and I did commit one particularly memorable act of mindless defacement, the evidence of which is barely hanging onto existence today almost 25 years later.

Back in the late 70s and early 80s there were three competing rock radio stations in Boston, each bearing its own distinct personality.

There was WCOZ 94.5, "Cozy" as it was nicknamed. It was on the soft side of the rock slide rule, heavy on the Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac. Their logo matched their programming, a swirly yellow neon glow with pink edges spelling out the call letters on a black background. Captain Ken Shelton was the top dog DJ. Ken was as mellow as his drawly baritone.

There was WAAF 107.3. They were hard rock/heavy metal. That's where you went for your Led Zeppelin, your Who, your Aerosmith, your Deep Purple, and oddly, your Heart. Nothing cozy about that end of the dial. It was hard edged and so was their logo, all chrome and highlighted letters with hard beveled edges like something forged in a foundry. Harvey Warfield (a.k.a. "The Commander of the Rock and Roll Air Force") was the man at 'AAF and his bass voice came thundering out of my Infinity's and made the Mountain Dew on my dashboard tremble.

And then, in between, in every way, was WBCN 104.1. These were the goofballs, the ones who didn't take themselves or anything else at all seriously. 'BCN made the best use of comedy. Charles Laquidara, who seemed to be on most of the time had a manic alter ego, one Duane Ingalls Glasscock who would show up occasionally and hijack the station. He also ran for President of the United States. I still have the campaign buttons to prove it. I know it must have been a simpler time because such a thing somehow avoided seeming contrived. The station's logo honestly looked like a high school kid did it in art class. It's hard to describe. It was kind of swooshy but kind of hard edged. It was, well, in between.

Kevin and I were loyal to WBCN because we liked to laugh and also because Kevin's older brother Paul worked as an intern there. He told us crazy stories of DJs getting high and of the time the Rolling Stones came in for an interview and looked like a bunch of tiny, frail old men.

"That's so cool!" we'd moon.

Paul hooked us up with lots of merchandise from the station including bumper stickers. One boring Sunday, Kevin and I were walking back to his house after playing frisbee at the football field and decided to show our support for the station by affixing two WBCN bumper stickers to the top corners of a set of double doors on the side of our high school. I remember we commented to each other as we frantically pressed the bubbles out from under the adhesive sides of stickers, "I wonder how long they'll stay up?"

They're still there. Kind of. Barely. Niece Kate goes to school there now. She and brother-in-law Bill took these photos recently.

ken sheltoncharles laquidara


At 5/18/2006 6:38 AM, Anonymous said...

Did you know that Charles Laquidara has risen from the dead and has an hourlong show called "backspin" on weekday mornings on WBOS 92.9. He chooses some year from the distant past, like 1984, and plays music from that year for the hour. His voice sounds kind-of weak...don't remember if that is how it used to sound. I think you can get WBOS streaming over the web, if it interests you.


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