Very few people know that I went to and graduated from broadcasting school. Yes, at one time I had aspirations to be a radio personality. However, with the news today ofBoston’s WODS being no more, I realize why I stopped trying to hit the airwaves.
I am beyond despondent at the fact that CBS has made this change. Research may have showed that the “biggest group” of people listening to the radio in Boson prefer contemporary music; however, my generation and the boomers before me are a “big group” of people also and the music that made WODS is what we enjoy hearing. We will miss it. It doesn’t leave much choice for us on the radio dial.
WODS has come full circle. I remember listening to the station as a teen when the call letters where WHTT and all they played was Michael Jackson and Madonna. Then I remember when they became WODS and were theREALoldies station, playing just 50’s and 60’s. Then they dropped the 50’s and just did 60’s and 70’s. Next they dropped the “oldies” part and started playing 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, which really appealed to me, since I grew up listening to music from the 80’s. And now this. It’s like flipping back to WHTT except I’m not 14 any longer and instead of Michael Jackson and Madonna they’ll be playing Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. If I had a teenager, I’m sure they’d be thrilled. But I am not.
I am angry that I more than likely will not be able to turn to 103.3 two weeks before Thanksgiving and hear Christmas music. Teens don’t listen to as much Christmas music as us old folks. Now I have to find a station that is going to be playing Christmas music BEFORE Thanksgiving, 24/7, just as WODS was well known for. I am just as angry at the fact that there isn’t going to be a “Back to the 80’s” Friday night any longer. Of course kids born in 1999 have no idea that long before their year of birth, there was the song from Prince.
What I will miss most about WODS is not the music, but the people entertaining us every day:
Karen Blake – what can I say about my favorite radio personality that has not already been said? I’ve been listening to Karen since her days atSTAR93.7, although I know she was on the airwaves long before then. IronicallySTARwas taken off the airwaves and replaced byMIKE(which no longer exists either) and that’s how Karen ended up at WODS (after briefly not being on the air at all). That was about seven years ago, I believe. I remember being home on maternity leave and turning on WODS one afternoon and hearing Karen’s voice. The station got it right when they put her on during the morning drive, replacing Dale. And despite what Karen’s mother may say—I remember the bit she played on the radio where her mother was telling her that she needed to get a better job, as she was getting up way too early!—Karen Blake was made for the morning drive. I remember the brief (thank GOD) stint Bob Lobel had with Karen in the morning shortly after she took over the AM drive. And then my ultimate radio fantasy dream came true when Chris Zito joined Karen on the airwaves. It was a match made in Radio Heaven, as far as I was concerned. You know a deejay is dedicated to their craft when they come in to the station at8:00 p.m.to talk to their listeners about the passing of Michael Jackson. That was Zito and Karen. After Zito left the station, Karen was on her own for a while. Then Karen was reunited for a brief stint with Ralphie Marino, whom she had worked with back atSTAR. And most recently John Laurenti. Because of Karen I know of the old dance club “Faces”, and I also know stuff about towns in this state that I never knew before (thanks to “What’s My Town”)! And who could forget all those quick polls?
Like I always do every morning I listened to Karen and John today on my way to work. Karen was right when she said you need to be yourself in radio. Karen Blake has the kind of personality that makes you feel like your best friend is talking to you. There are a lot of fakes on the radio airwaves; Karen is not one of them. She is very real. Karen, I know WODS is not your last stop on the radio ride. WODS’ departure is not your good-bye. It is just your “I’ll-see-you-somewhere-else-down-the-dial”.
John Laurenti – I don’t know much about John but in reading his bio, I know he’s been in radio for quite a while. When he came to WODS I wasn’t sure what to expect. But he and Karen jelled just as well as Karen had jelled with Zito. They really work well together and I’d love to hear them working together again in the future.
Paula Street– To me Paula will always be synonymous with WODS. She was the first radio personality I knew of on the station when I began listening to it. I’ll admit I don’t know too much about Paula and I often am not listening when she is on the air, but I know she did a hell of a job getting listeners through the work day. I hope to hear Paula on the air somewhere else in the future as well.
JJ Wright – The afternoon drive will never be the same. I was listening to JJ when I first learned about Michael Jackson’s death. I looked forward to5:00 pmon Friday so I could hear JJ’ play his bit where the lady says “I’m so excited I just wet my pants”. And then he would play Loverboy’s “Working For the Weekend”. What a great way to end the work week, a bit that is truly going to be missed and a radio personality that will be missed as well. Hopefully we will hear JJ on the radio somewhere down the road once again.
As I write this WODS is in the final 15 minutes of its run. Twenty-five years is a good run, one that should never have ended. Unfortunately, I don’t have a high def radio and although the option to hear the music WODS played will be offered via streaming on the web, it will not be the same without the personalities there, nor do I have that option while riding in my car.
So I move on down the dial of the radio, trying to develop a new listener ship with some other radio station. I’ll probably just be listening to CDs for a while, since those are usually better than anything on the air anyway. I know someday I’ll turn on the radio to some unknown station and Karen Blake’s lovely voice will greet my ears once again. Maybe JJ will once again join me on the ride home from work. Or Paula will liven up the work day. Until then, farewell WODS—it was nice listening to you.