Much like other firefighters the country over, Dan McKenney and his colleagues in Ludlow will be passing the boot for Muscular Dystrophy this Labor Day weekend. Prior to that—this Saturday, Aug. 16—Ludlow has the added distinction of supplementing the organization’s charitable coffers with one of McKenney’s labors of love.
“We wanted to create an event that gave directly to local people in need who are affected by muscular dystrophy and other ailments,” McKenney explains. “This year will mark our fifth annual Rock The Boot concert, and with acts like Jonathan Edwards, Kerri Edwards and Lobsterz from Marz, we know we’ll have a great turnout.”
Tix for the 2014 Rock The Boot concert at the Ludlow Fish & Game Club are $20 and available at rockthebootludlow.org.
Speaking of getting the boot, the longtime pilots of the airwaves at 106.9 FM—better known as Hartford’s Rock WCCC—have begun commenting on the station’s recent, unexpected ownership change. WCCC’s Marlin Broadcasting reportedly sold the iconic rock station to the Educational Media Foundation for some $9.5 million. Then came a top-to-bottom house cleaning and an abrupt format change.
“As many may know by now, WCCC was sold with very little advance notice,” former senior marketing consultant Drew Wilder informed friends and fans. “So the station as we all knew it no longer exists, with Christian programming now occupying the 106.9 and 1290 frequency. Sounds like a horrible joke, but I’m sorry to say it’s true.”
If rock is dead, as some say, at least the station which was an early home to the likes of a then up-and-coming Howard Stern (who called in for The Rock’s final day of broadcasting Aug. 1 to express his sadness about the turn of events) is getting a proper Christian burial.
Others, like former production director Rich Conway, looked back at their decades-long careers with more nostalgic appreciation than angst.
“Where else could I go and be told, ‘Just go creatively crazy?’” he explained to his Facebook friends, family and fans. “‘[We] don’t care what you do, just do what needs to be done.’”
For his part, the Crawler must confess he was both an avid listener and a fan of the station, regardless of his strange little footnote in WCCC’s past.
In 2001, your friendly neighborhood Crawler was a regular guest on the Quinn & Cantara morning show on fledgling rival rock channel Lazer 99.3 FM. The morning men would call every Wednesday to get the low down on what would be in my column hitting the streets later that day, and other assorted music biz tidbits. One particular Wednesday, just hours before the Crawler was to hit Bradley International for a West Coast working vaca, Quinn & Cantara asked about Ozzfest.
“I have it on very good authority Ozzy and company will be coming to Hartford Aug. 5,” I stated matter-of-factly.
“Really? Because that other rock station has started a petition they want fans to sign or Ozzfest will go somewhere else,” they reported, referring to some promotion I was completely unaware of at that time.
“Well, sign if you want, but it’s coming Aug. 5 and I’ll be there.” And off I went.
Now, normally when I return from a five-day trip and find in excess of 100 voicemails on my home machine, I’m intrigued, to say the least. But based on what I had heard on my 25-minute ride home from the airport, I had a pretty good idea what had touched off the touchtone blitzkrieg.
“Go to wccc.com and sign our petition to bring Ozzfest to Hartford,” a house promo demanded over some heavy Sabbath riffing. “But Gary Carra says Ozzfest is already coming and this promotion is a sham.”
Cut to WCCC’s patented “big voice”: “Well, Gary Carra has his head up his ass.”
The next day I called afternoon jock Mike Karolyi and had a good laugh about the whole thing. Not sure if it was the petition or not, but Ozzfest did come to Hartford Aug. 5, too.
Anyway, farewell, CCC. Time to find a new station for my radio preset number six.•
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