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Elliott & Woodside - 10/20/80


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Dedicated in memory of Jim Collins



 

Listen To This WPGC Aircheck

 

WPGC 26th Anniversary Show

Jim Elliott came to WPGC from WEAM (where he was Program Director), for middays & Music Director duties in 1975. He had previously worked in Washington doing late nights at WRC. In 1977, following The Great Strike That Struck Out, he returned to the station to do mornings, initially teamed with Don O'Day. In the Summer of 1978, Scott Woodside joined him for morning news from sister station, Z-93 in Atlanta.

Elliott & Woodside left the station in early 1982, accepting a then staggering offer from Q107. Jim later did mornings at B106, middays at WAVA & eventually became VP of Pop Promotion at Arista Records in NY. Today he runs his own airplay consulting firm while Scott is in Atlanta.

First, let's dispense with the factual error that 10/20/80 was WPGC's actual 26th Anniversary. In fact, a Construction Permit was issued by the FCC to Washington electronics engineer and former FCC employee, Harry Hayman on November 12th, 1953. (The FM had been on the air since January 18, 1948 as WBUZ-FM). The tower for WPGC-AM was erected in April, 1954 and broadcasts began on April 24, 1954 from a studio in Morningside on the farm of Duval B. Evans on Walters Lane off Suitland Road.

Having said all that, the Fall ratings period made an excellent excuse to celebrate the long standing heritage of the station. The highlights of this aircheck are in fact the old WPGC airchecks that were played including one of former WPGC Morning Mayor, Harv Moore from 10/10/72 which originated with a vinyl album distributed by Cashbox Magazine / MCA Records to radio stations across the country called, 'The Ultimate Radio Bootleg'. It featured brief excerpts from leading morning shows around the nation including DC. Why Harv wasn't called to talk about the old days is unknown; his whereabouts in Buffalo at the time (and to this very day) were widely known.

Also featured was a WPGC aircheck from November 1975 of another former WPGC morning man, Columbus on his last day before departing for WLS as he signed off for the last time and handed over the reigns to Jim Elliott. Elliott & Woodside's comments as the tape is playing are worth the price of admission alone!

Various 26th Anniversary production pieces also spiced up the show, among them the WPGC Disc Jockey Hall of Fame roll call, narrated by Program Director, Scott Shannon as midday guy (and future WPGC morning man) Dave Foxx reads off a list of some of the station's illustrious on air alumni.

Of particular interest is a recreation of WPGC-AM's sign-on in 1954. Also narrated by Scott Shannon, the anonymous announcer's voice with a slight hint of a Southern accent heard at the beginning was none other than WPGC General Manager, Charles Giddens.

Old station jingles, IDs and stagers added to the retro feel of the day. As for contemporary mechanics in use at the time, morning teams were beginning to become in vogue and the WPGC morning show was now officially being billed as 'Elliott & Woodside' instead of merely Jim Elliott.

Elliott & Woodside had several recurring comedy bits, notably the fictitious 'Armadillo Country' theme park, an example of which is included herein. Later they would also use the syndicated 'Hiney Winery' bit. Although not planned, you'll hear them make reference to WPGC's new studios. The station had moved just days before from the Parkway Building in Bladensburg where it had been situated since 1965 to Beltway studios in Greenbelt overlooking 495. This comes to light when someone in another studio begins playing the previously mentioned 1954 AM sign-on recreation not aware that the studio was live on the air.

Coinciding with the new studios, the station also introduced the then novel notion of an 800 number request line (800-492-0832). Unfortunately it only worked in Maryland as multi-state lines were cost prohibitive, a fact which led to its removal the following year.

Speaking of phones, Ma Bell was in the early stages of being broken up. Listen for a commercial for new competitor MCI which explains there were now two long distance companies. Likewise, a spot for C&P Telephone Bell Center stores now offers consumers the revolutionary option of purchasing their phones for the first time!

Commercials on this tape (and there are a lot of them!) are for the most part agency produced and are National or Regional in origin. Predictably, an abundance of them are for car dealers (who would have guessed?!). The pipes heard on the tags at the end of the Red Rose Tea and Pan Am spots is Assistant Program Director (and future WPGC Program Director) Steve Kingston. A 7-Eleven spot for coffee doesn't mention it, but Elliott & Woodside commuter coffee cups were available at the time throughout the Metro DC area.

And if you've ever seen the film, 'A Christmas Story', you'll recognize the film's writer and narrator, Jean Shepherd's voice (of WOR, New York fame) on the commercial for Household Finance.

A 'WPGC Wants To Make You Rich' promo by midday man (and future WPGC morning man) Dave Foxx illustrates the no holds barred skirmishes common between WPGC & Q107 at the time. The same thought is echoed with a live mention by Jim Elliott later in the tape. Dave also appears with Scott Woodside on a promo for a charity event for the Ronald McDonald House.

The voice on the sweeper for 'More Music, WPGC' is John Young, who happened to be the Program Director at WPGC's sister station, Z-93 in Atlanta. The station's other primary identifier was 'WPGC-FM 95.5 and 1580 AM'.

Concurrent with the alleged 26th Anniversary, contesting included WPGC Birthday Suits and tickets to Frank Sinatra's first film in ten years, 'First Deadly Sin'. Other benchmarks of the morning show included Day Off With Pay and Chooz Yer Nooz.

Much of this tape consists of Scott Woodside's newscasts. Billed as the 'WPGC Newsmagazine', the approach was tabloid in nature and often lighthearted, including stories about Channel 5 accidentally running its sign-off announcement at 8PM on the previous Saturday night and Woodward & Lothrop celebrating its 100th anniversary. Traffic reports were done by overnight DJ, Shauna while weather came from 'Accuweather' clone, 'Compuweather' and meteorologist Joe Reo.

Elliott & Woodside's tenure lasted a little more than another year before they left for big dollars and big disappointment at Q107, a move that essentially began the painful demise of WPGC when management made the ridiculous decision to change the format to Adult Contemporary late in 1982.

 




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