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Skip Nelson


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Skip Nelson today


Skip writes:

As a teenager with acne growing up in PG County, I'm pretty sure it was required to listen to WPGC, though only AM at that time (only the Martians had FM in '64.) I never listened to the radio or rock music until the Beatles broke in early '64. WPGC helped open up my ears to a whole world I had been missing while collecting trading cards, comic books, and Famous Monsters Magazines.

 

On the 'British Walkers':

Early in 1965, WPGC brought the British Walkers to Marlboro Raceway in PG County. It was at the time of their first 45 on Try Records, 'I Found You' backed with 'Diddly Daddy'. Both sides featuring Roy Buchanan on guitar as a member of the group. Dean Griffith was the master of ceremonies and I seem to recall several other jocks there. It was a gas!!

 

On Interviewing the Staff at WPGC as a teen:

While working for the Suitland Echo High School newspaper as sports editor, I convinced Bob Howard to let me do a story on the station, figuring they would give me some free 45s when I visited, which they did. I interviewed Harv Moore, Tiger Bob Raleigh, Jim Madison and a couple others. Read the article.

 

On Harv Moore producing his record:

A couple months later, we had a group of students at Suitland cutting a demo as Adam's Apples, they later changed their name to Nobody's Children and Harv Moore produced their first 45 on UA, 'Junco Partner', and published the flip, 'Let Her Go' (written as I recall by Lee Travers from the band). Harv had already had a 45 out on his own on American Arts, a Beatle break-in novelty with him singing on the flip, called I Feel So Fine.

 

On the Radio Rollercaster:

As for me, two years later in 1966, I was Music Director at the University of Maryland's WMUC (for three years), went on to part-time at WSID-FM and WINX, and later became PD & MD & on-air at WINX after getting out of the Army. I became Steve Kingston's first on-air boss.

To digress a moment, Pierre Eaton was on a kick where he felt for name recognition the jocks should have similar names to Rock stars. When I first started there as a part-timer in 1968, then PD Bob Edson changed my WMUC name Sam Doug to Frankie Nelson.

The previous year, I worked as Doug Franklin at WSID-FM in Baltimore, with Dave King as PD / MD. He had just left WINX and wanted me to help get a progressive format on the air. Bob Duckman, who had worked with me at WMUC had worked at WINX with King and recommended me due to my musical knowledge. (I was music director all three years at WMUC, as well as Record Librarian, then Asst. PD (to John Dowling), then PD (supervising the hiring of Connie Chung for the news department).

Anyway, back to WSID, I started there Fall of '67. I did the 6pm-mid shift on Saturday, hung around the studio all day Sunday (I didn't have a drivers licence yet), did 6pm-midnight Sunday, then took a bus back to College Park, getting back to my dorm or building FF (WMUC) at 3 or 4 in the AM. I know I was working there the weekend Otis Redding died, and I think also when Bobby Kennedy died the following Spring, about 8 months or so.

UBC didn't keep that format long and went Top 40 as WLPL and I went to WINX as a weekender working with Joel Denver. We pretty much did Sundays between us (after all the Public Affairs crapola). By the time I got out of the Army in early '72, Edson was gone, Pierre had been PD, Bill Vickers was the MD / Engineer, and for some reason Pierre wanted to hire me as a three in one, Morning Drive, PD, and MD. All for $100 a week starting salary!!

 

On Steve Kingston & WINX:

I did that for awhile, but got tired real quick and hired someone else for mornings. I did mid-days, eventually ending up at 7-midnight again. That's where Kingston comes in. He was a high school pal of Harvey Fisher (Bruce Diamond, now Jack Diamond of MIX 107, maybe someday Neil Diamond, who knows??) His buddy Harvey had convinced Pierre to hire Steve as the station janitor, and although he rarely spoke and was very moody, he and I got along fine. He and Robbie Norton both loved sitting down at the end of the counter where interviewees sat and stare my ass off while I'd be talking on the phone to girls. They didn't like girls, at least at that time.

At this point, doing nights, I had created a concept called Heavy Metal Thunder, which was all hard rock after 7pm. Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Amboy Dukes, Runaways, it all fit and WINX has never had better ratings then during that all too brief time. Occasionally, I would have something else to do and I originally put Steve on just playing the records, graduating to speaking and eventually to replacing me when I quit in '73 or '74 to go manage Variety Records in Wheaton Plaza. I'm pretty sure Big Don O'Bryan subbed once and played Eagles and such, and was not invited back.

I had built up a good crew before I left as PD, we had Terry Steele, Darius Pope, Sam Diego, and at one point, I passed on hiring Greaseman (he ended up at DC-101). One last WINX story. We had this wonderful listener who was mentally challenged but passionate about the station, Sue Ann Richardson. She listened to me when I was Frankie Nelson, and after the Army, I was Skip Nelson. She couldn't quite grasp why we sounded alike, so the guys told her Frankie was my brother, and he had gone in the army. For a couple of years, she would call, and always ask first, "How's your brother Frankie?" We had to keep the story alive; would have been cruel to do otherwise. As a result whenever I e-mail or talk to Kingston, he either calls me Sue Ann or Pierre.

 

On doing WPGC's Sunday Night Oldies Show:

Years later when Scott Shannon left WPGC for Q105 in Tampa and Steve took over in 1981, he brought me in on Sunday nights to play oldies at $50 an hour.

Later in the mid '80s, Flash Phillips got Mark St. John to hire me at WAVA doing Rock Of The '90s at $25 an hour. Now, I've closed my record store down after 25 years in Rockville, and Yesterday & Today Records is an internet / mail order function only. Though I'm hoping to get a gig at Metro Traffic at maybe $5 an hour. Good Times!!

 

 

Print Materials

Articles

Echo Visits with WPGC

1/12/66

(Special thanks to Skip Nelson for the above.)

 

 

Sound Files

Airchecks

7/04/82 - Sunday Night Oldies Show - 2:25




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