Music Troll - Home Page Link WPGC People:
John Dowling

Contact the Webmaster
Add this site to your Favorites

Air Personalities
Morning Shows

News Guys
Money Girls
Program Directors
General Managers
Sales Types
Other Alumni
The Good Guys Today
Radio Heaven
Alumni In The News
Alumni Speak!

A Brief History
Newspaper Articles
Print Advertisements
Press Releases
Ratings Like You Wish!
Weekly Playlists
Photos - People
Photos - Promotions
Station Logos

Sports Reports
Traffic Reports
Sound Offs!
Misc. Audio

Sales Related
Engineering Stuff
WPGC Sister Stations
The Great Strike
Market Competition
Other Radio Tribute Sites
Oldies Stations Today
Legendary Air Performers
Special Thanks

Server space provided by:

Click above to hear more vintage broadcast radio airchecks from the
Reel Radio Repository.

Your tax-deductible contribution to REELRADIO, Inc. will help keep this site online

This site is in no way affiliated with WPGC Radio today, or with
CBS Radio, Inc

WPGC today logo

Click above to visit WPGC today.

Dedicated in memory of Jim Collins


John Dowling was a mainstay in evenings at WASH for seemingly countless years before he left for afternoons at WMZQ. From there he arrived at WPGC, initially for nights but later moved to afternoons when Bruce Kelly left for B94 in Pittsburgh. John later moved to the West Coast where he worked at Program Director at KJOI 98.7 in Los Angeles in the late 80's. Today, he is retired in suburban Washington.


Long John Writes:

This morning there was an old jingle rolling around in my head. To the tune of the Warner Brothers cartoon intro, it went "It's Jerry G on the Big PG." Just had to see what Jerry was doing these days. I ended up spending most of the day on What a great site!

My entry was fun to see. Let me update you. I retired from WorldSpace in May 2008, shortly after my 62nd birthday. WorldSpace went under the following Fall. In fact, when we came back from my retirement lunch we discovered the company was unable to pay the entire staff that payday. It went downhill from there. More on WS later.

When I was PD at 98.7 in LA it was easy listening KJOI when I got there (March '89), and "Touch 98.7" when Viacom bought it and let me go (May '90). Alan Hotlen (who hired me and was the Ops Manager) invented a new format mixing light jazz and sensual AC, a precursor to the Smooth Jazz format. It was doing well but unfortunately Viacom replaced it with their wimp rock format, which promptly failed because it had already been beaten to death in LA.

On Growing Up With WPGC

Although I didn't work at WPGC until near the end of its heyday, my relationship with it goes back a lot farther. I started listening about 1961, and became a big fan in early '63 when I got my driver's license. That spring a lucky encounter at Glen Echo led to my buddies and me becoming pals (and more) with a bunch of young ladies who attended a DC Catholic girls' school. To our everlasting surprise and pleasure, they thought public school guys were cool! We immediately had two things in common: The Mighty Mo at New Hampshire Ave. & East-West Hwy., and WPGC. The girls seemed to follow the DJ's everywhere, and of course we followed the girls. We followed them to dances, concerts, and most especially hung around the Summer remotes at the Hampshire-Langley Shopping Center. Radio was getting in my blood.

Also that summer my friend Jim and I figured out who had the keys to the Good Guys Car. It was a used Chevy Impala convertible, and all summer they were broadcasting clues to the person who had the keys. Jim narrowed it down to somewhere in the Hampshire-Langley Shopping Center. His last name was a color, and his first name was the same as a local department store. When they broadcast the clue "Ask the manager of a furniture store" we knew it had to be State Furniture - one of PGC's biggest advertisers. I tore up to the store (only blocks from my home) and found some dork with his arm in a cast waiting for the manager. His story was that he was sitting in his car at the Hot Shoppe across the parking lot, looked up and saw a furniture store. Years later I was talking about it with Walt Rubin, and he told me the contest was (surprise!) rigged. The guy with the keys was Morton Brown, by the way.

The same year my then-girlfriend asked me to drive her over to see a sick aunt. One of her girlfriends came along, and when we got there they asked me to wait in the car because their aunt wasn't up to meeting me. So I sat there for about an hour, after the girls disappeared around the corner. Only later did they admit their "sick aunt" was Harv Moore! That's as close as I ever got to meeting Harv. I never had the chance to work with him. Wish I had. What a talent!

Tiger Bob Raleigh (Rolle Ferreira) was a different story. My first radio job was as a summer relief board op at WWDC in 1966. Bob was there by then, and we became friendly. He was my first radio mentor. He spent the summer doing his show from Glen Echo, so I didn't get to work with him except for a couple of weekend shifts. I have never seen anyone who enjoyed being on the air as much as Bob. The times I board-opped for him were an absolute blast! I learned a lot from him at the same time.

It's funny how your memory works. I'll always think of Marv Brooks as "the new guy". The girls dragged us to see him at a few record hops, too. That's how I recognized him when I was working nights at the Hecht Co. in Prince Georges Plaza. As always, Marv had a beautiful girl with him. I had just started working at WMUC, the campus station at the University of Maryland. I approached him and told him I was interested in working in radio. He was very friendly and spent a half-hour talking radio with me. He couldn't have been nicer, and with that gorgeous young lady waiting. I always remembered that later in my career when guys wanted to ask me questions.

About ten years later I would see Marv now and then, as we both worked the freelance commercial circuit. Marv was very good, and had a reputation for chasing down every bit of work he could find. Once, Marvin Himmelfarb of the Abramson-Himmelfarb agency engaged Vincent Price to do spots for a local Mercedes Benz dealer. Supposedly Marv told him "Marvin, I can do Vincent Price!!" One job he did get had me sworn to secrecy at the time. When Marvin got the Capitol Cadillac account, he wanted a sophisticated sounding African-American male for their radio spokesperson. Marvin told me he auditioned every African-American male he could find, but the best guy for the job - hands down - was Marv Brooks. He had the gig for years.

As an aside, among the other WMUC alum who worked at WPGC: Gentleman Jim Madison #1 [Walt Rubin], Loo Katz, Greg Cole, former Suitland High classmates Skip Nelson and Columbus, Walt Starling, Alexander Goodfellow, Bryan Lawrence,
Lee Chambers and Gene Baxter.

On The Change In Format

I finally got to work at WPGC after PD Bob McNeil fired me from WMZQ. In the Spring of 1983, General Manager, Jeanne Oates hired me as part of their transition to Adult Contemporary. Talk about mixed feelings: The mainstay radio station of my youth was going away, but - hey - I needed a job! Personally, I think the station could have altered it's music far less, and still picked up most of WASH's drifting audience.

I started out doing a night time oldies show, while Jeanne hinted that Program Director, Jerry Steele and some on-air personnel were soon to depart. It should be noted that the call letter change from WPGC to WCLY (Classy 95) resulted in a near-insurrection by the air staff. To the last person, we were all opposed to it - vehemently! It seemed to most of us that AC was a natural transition for much of WPGC's core audience, and there was no need to blow off the calls to reflect the format change. We thought the heritage was a plus; management thought the opposite. Glenn Potter -- brilliant as ever. Rumor had it that the image line was to be "Sassy Classy 95", but morning man David Burd swore he'd quit before he'd say that on the air.

Baker and Burd were the first major contribution of legendary Program Director, Al Casey. Jeff's voices were brilliant. Watching him work was like seeing someone channel another personality. After David left, I did the morning show with Jeff for a while. He was pleasant to work with on the air, but there was no real chemistry. David had a knack for words that I've never heard in anyone else. Even stuff he said off the air. For instance, he called sad ballads "cheese pistol specials." When I asked him what that meant he said "You know" and made the gesture of sticking a gun in his mouth. One of our staffers was addicted to colonic cleansing, which David called "butt hoovers". When Baker and Burd reunited on WASH, one of their characters was a spoof of Major Montgomery of Montgomery Donuts fame. They called him "Bud Hoover, the Donut Mover."

Walt Starling and I met at WASH, but knew of each other before that. I knew him as the crazy guy doing traffic from an airplane; he knew me as the crazy guy who owned a caboose. [I did, but that's a story for another website.] We were friendly at WASH, and when we teamed up at WPGC he became my best friend. Under Al Casey, we did a virtual two man show with one in the air. The mic and radio in Walt's plane were so good, the engineers had to back them off so he wouldn't sound like he was in the studio. College Park Airport was close enough I could see him take off from the studio window. Days he was grounded he just came into the station. Damn, we had fun! We even did our own promotions. Walt came up with "John Dowling's Washington", which rewarded listeners with special events, like a private tour under the Lincoln Memorial or a performance at the Kennedy Center with a reception. We did about two dozen of them. Someday, I'll tell you how we got sued over the number of buttons on Teddy Roosevelt's statue. At one point we were beating Trumbull and Core in our target demo. At least that's my memory, and I'm sticking to it. That all came apart under Program Director, Alan Hotlen, who also steered the station even more AC.

Walt was a great and good friend who gave me sound advice both professionally and personally, and never stopped looking out for me. I can only hope he'd say the same about me. I still miss him, a lot.

One word about Ben Hill, who took over from Jeanne Oates as General Manager. He'd been an Adult Contemporary Program Director, but decided to take the station toward what it is today. At least he restored the call letters. I've been fired more than once, but his was the, uh, Classiest. He said "You play a hell of a violin, but we need a saxophone."

My last years in radio were the most fun. Ed Rodriguez [WPGC may be the only DC-area station where Ed hasn't been heard] hired me to voicetrack a country radio show at WorldSpace Satellite Radio, which had satellites that covered Africa, Asia and Europe. Yeah. American Country Music. It was one of their most popular channels. After Ed left to work with Steve Kingston at WINX-FM on the Eastern Shore, I took over his job as PD of the UpCountry Channel. The other two guys on the channel were the very talented pair, Marty Dempsey and Scott Carpenter.

Soon after I began working there I also met another guy who did the morning show on our European Pop channel [UPop] which also aired on XM. He immediately reminded me of Tiger Bob Raleigh [Rolle Ferreira]. Ted Kelly [Eduardo Ventresca] was another Northeastern Big City Italian-American boy who loved radio. We hit it off right away, and in addition to my other duties I became a sidekick on his morning show. By the time we wrapped it up, we were doing the Ted Kelly World Party on four satellites [XM and WorldSpace] across 17 time zones in 154 countries. We got phone calls and emails from Nashville, Bangalore and Nepal. We traveled to the Brit Awards [for the British recording industry] and broadcast live from Abbey Road Studio 2, the unchanged Beatles studio - with a parade of international recording acts. If you Google it, you can still see some of the WorldSpace Sessions at Abbey Road. And almost every day, I laughed so hard I got dizzy! Ted and I are still close. I couldn't have asked for a better final act in radio.

These days, my wife Denise and I split our time between a condo in Rosslyn, VA and a home near Naples in Bonita Springs, FL -- where I hear Barefoot Larry Justice might be my neighbor.




ADA Walk For Fitness - 1983

Not Lindsay Buckingham!




Print Materials


'Radio In Washington'

© The Washington Post Magazine - 3/27/83



Sound Files


5/21/84 Memorial Day 300 - 1:06 (with Entire Airstaff)


Small Print Dept.: This non-profit historical site is not affiliated in any way with WPGC Radio today or CBS Radio, Inc. Use of copyrighted material is consistent with the "fair use" provisions contained in §107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 due to the following characteristics: Use of copyrighted material is of a nonprofit, educational nature, intended for the sole purposes of research and comment and does not significantly negatively affect "the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work(s)." Use of registered trademark material is not subject to civil action or injunction as outlined in §1114 and §1125 of the Trademark Act of 1946 (the Lanham Act) due to the following characteristics of this work, and the registered marks published herein: Use of reproductions of registered marks is not for the purpose of commerce, nor is the use connected with the sale, offering for sale, or advertising of any goods or services. Use of reproductions is not likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception as to the affiliation, connection, or association of this work with owners of published registered marks, nor as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of this work by owners of published registered marks. Wherever possible, the copyright or registered mark owner's name has been noted near the copyrighted work or registered mark; however, all material used in this site, including, but not limited to, newspaper articles, syndicated themes, promos, commercials, photographs, playlists, press releases, ratings, airchecks, newscasts, traffic reports, sports reports, 'sound-offs', sweepers, bumperstickers and station logos, should be considered protected copyrighted material or registered mark with all rights reserved to the owner, named or unnamed. So there!