Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Remebering Dr. Bop, a Columbus legend of the early Rock 'n Roll days!

Arnett Howard, a well known Columbus musician and band leader, has long had a passion for collecting memorabilia and stories relating to the Black music experience in town. In honor of Black History Month, he sent us this little piece of (almost) forgotten radio history. Legendary DJ Dr. Bop introduced thousands of local teens, me included, to the joys of rock music in the late 50s. Thanks Arnett.

Among my first memories as a child growing up in West Columbus in the mid-1950s, was listening to WCOL-AM 1230 late at night on our family's Westinghouse transistor radio. From nine at night until the wee hours, WCOL-AM featured Doctor Bop and his introductory patter went, "This is Doctor Bop on the scene with a stack of shellac and my record machine. A little country boy from across the track, so down with it, baby, that I'll never go back." Doctor Bop's real name was Hoyt Locke and his family ran Bop Record Shop in 1956. When hot new rhythm and blues records came out, he would call the radio station and bug the disc jockeys to get with the musical program. In time, he talked his way onto the air and stayed on WCOL-AM for several years. Doctor Bop was the person who introduced the high energy music of Elvis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry to Columbus teenagers. The accompanying photo, taken by Kojo Kamau, shows the good doctor at a local dance. The band in the background is led by legendary jazz saxophonist Ronnie Kirk, also known as Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Bop eventually migrated to a Milwaukee radio station and he died there in 1984. But he was the announcer who brought rock and roll to Columbus audiences in the 1950s.
The sound file is about five minutes. Feedback is good. A

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