Sunday, September 25, 2011

94 WCGY, "The Rock Garden"

Does anyone remember WCGY-FM 93.7, of Lawrence, Mass., otherwise known as "The Rock Garden" and owned by the late baseball broadcasting legend Curt Gowdy? Always a second-tier Boston area rock station, WCGY, nevertheless, built up quite a following to those who wanted an alternative to other rock stations like WBCN, WBOS, WAAF and WZLX. With a strong signal, WCGY also became popular in other parts of New England, including southern New Hampshire and Maine, as well as the Worcester, Mass., area.

Playing predominantly familiar classic rock songs while on air from the 1970s into the mid-1990s, WCGY also featured a terrific lineup including Mike Morin (currently on WZID-FM Manchester, N.H.), Cheryl Ann Gowdy (daughter of Curt) and Jerry Goodwin. Dan Roche, now a well-known WBZ-TV sports reporter, was Morin's morning sidekick, delivering sports scores with a sense of humor. WCGY gave way to WEGQ in 1994, which eventually became WQSX (Star 93.7), a soul and dance music station. Recently, 93.7 in the Boston area belonged to WMKK, "Mike FM," a rock station with no air staff and a format that "plays everything." Now, it is WEEI FM, simulcasting the famous 850 AM sports radio format.

In a sense, WCGY was the precursor to Mike-FM, as Gowdy gave his staff carte blanche when on-air. Instead of the Mike-FM "We play everything" slogan, The Rock Garden personalities did anything that they felt would help the format (anything from not sticking with the "script" to some impromptu humor during the morning show). Morning man Morin perhaps took the greatest advantage of this window of opportunity having contests like who could drink the most water without going to the bathroom and featuring "Louie from East Boston," with his wise perspectives on life. It should be noted that while on another station, Morin announced that the Tall Ships were coming to Lowell, via the Merrimack River. People fell for the ruse, traveling to Lowell to await the ships, thinking these stately water vehicles could circumvent the shallow riverbed and all the bridges along the way!)

But I digress. WCGY-FM didn't always sound like a major market station, but somehow always ended up as a major part of our radio listening during the 70s, 80s and 90s. In this day of corporately-owned tight radio formats with little room to breathe and create, we look back at WCGY and hope someday that radio will lighten up and return to this type of airwave glory.

3 comments:

  1. WCGY had some cool marketing stuff, with the black background and neon looking letters, I think I still have a pack of rolling papers they handed out! LOL

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  2. I remember the "Rock Garden" competing with WCOZ (94.5fm) which played "kick-ass rock and roll!" according to their
    slogan

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  3. I did mornings there the mid 80s.
    John Lee

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