Music Troll - Home Page Link WPGC Aircheck:
Bruce Kelly - 11/18/82

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Listen To This WPGC Aircheck


Bruce Kelly left Y100 / Miami to join WPGC in the Fall of 1981 when Don Geronimo left for KIIS-FM. Initially he did nights, then afternoons. He left the station in the Spring 1983 for B94 in Pittsburgh. He later did mornings at WHTT / Boston and at KZZP / Phoenix.

The beginning of the end was underway by the time of this aircheck, precipitated earlier in the year when Elliott & Woodside left the station, accepting a staggering offer from Q107. The real change in direction however for WPGC accompanied Program Director, Steve Kingston's resignation at the end of Summer. In his place, First Media's, Jerry Steele was named the new Program Director, despite having had no programming experience of his own other than having been Music Director at sister station, KFMK in Houston.

Perhaps WPGC's longevity and the fact that the teenagers who had made the station so successful in the '60's were now Adults who still listened to the station led management to the erroneous conclusion they could blow off the teen audience and live off Adult numbers alone. That in itself might have been possible had the station not wimped out in a painful way, eliminating any songs from the library with even the slightest edge to them and replacing them with a greatly enhanced reliance on Oldies the station had made famous playing as current records 15- 20 years earlier.

The disasterous result speaks for itself. WPGC had led Q107 comfortably since the Summer of 1981 following the ill fated, 'Q Phase 2' repositioning campaign (inspired by the success of Howard Stern at DC-101). But in the Fall 1982 Arbitron survey, WPGC lost a mind blowing 50% of its cume audience. Predictable as night & day, virtually all of them went over to Q107 which shot to #1 by virtue of default.

The morning show fiasco at WPGC following the departure of Elliott & Woodside only heightened the death blow. No fewer than three different shows had debuted in the time between Elliott & Woodside's departure in January and this tape in November. Dave Foxx initially had been teamed up with Redskins' quarterback, Joe Theismann and morning news guy, Loo Katz. Displaced by the Elliott & Woodside move to mornings at Q107, Dude Walker joined the station in the Spring and by Summer had been teamed up with Dave Foxx as 'Dude & Dave'.

What hope remained when the pair debuted that Summer was quickly extinguished when Dave moved back to middays that Fall and Dude was teamed up with morning news guy, J. Robert Howe from sister station KYAK in Provo, whose lack of major market credentials was as painfully obvious as Jerry Steele's inexperience as a programmer.

With all this a backdrop however, the station continued to live off it's rapidly dwindling cume audience for a while longer. Bruce Kelly would soon depart for B94 in Pittsburgh where he joined former WPGC Program Director, Steve Kingston.

Considering the wholesale format change, the station still sounded reasonably decent. The wall to wall (((reverb))) was still on the audio chain but had been toned down for more 'adult' ears. Produced station imaging included sweepers cut by Randy Reeves (midday guy at sister station Z93 in Atlanta) as well as 'Whisper Drops' from JAM in Dallas. As the name implied, the package consisted of the station's call letters whispered by jingle singers and were used to quickly identify the station between songs with interrupting the flow of the music.

Contesting took the form of tickets to WPGC night at the Capital Centre to see the Bullets take on the Supersonics. A long string of 'After Work Parties' had also begun as a vehicle to engage working types (primarily female) that might listen to the station in their offices.

Commercials heard on this tape are predominantly agency produced and of National or Regional origin. One exception is the commercial for Dash's Designer voiced by overnight jock, Max Wolf. The female voice at the end of the McDonald's spot is that of late night DJ, Lisa Kay.

The adoption of an Adult Contemporary format for WPGC became a long, slow downward spiral. With each further attempt to steal the AC crown once worn by WASH-FM (which ironically had recently changed format itself to Rhythmic CHR and experienced equally disasterous results ratings wise), a sad end came to the single most dominant station of its kind in Washington radio history.

In the Fall of 1984, following widespread resignations from the remaining air staff left over from before the format change, station management vainly attempted to commandeer a new identity for the station as 'Classy 95'. By then the station had become an embarrassment, scorned by market competitors and industry insiders.

When the opportunity came to rid itself in early 1987 of what had become a radio albatross, First Media wasted no time in selling WPGC and all its sister stations to Cook Inlet, a minority run company that was equally expeditious in bringing back the legendary WPGC call letters, blowing up the putrid Adult Contemporary format and relauncing it as Rhythmic CHR. Ratings rebounded almost immediately bringing with it some restoration to the station's tarnished but once glorious heritage. Today, WPGC-FM is once again a contender in Washington.


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