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After WBCN moved to its second location, on Stuart Street, Sam Kopper hired Andy Beaubien, a recent University of Rhode Island grad who had begun working in local radio when he was only 16 and did shifts at some small Rhode Island stations throughout his schooling. “As I was wrapping up my college years, I was saying to myself, ‘I’m getting kind of tired of this radio thing.’” Beaubien laughed because, as it turned out, being a DJ and radio programmer would become his lifelong career. WBCN’s newest addition debuted in a slot that Kopper was having trouble filling, because all of his DJ’s were heading west to Upstate New York. “I started [during] the weekend of Woodstock, August 1969, so that’s why I didn’t go [to the concert]!” Beaubien immediately fell in love with his job. “It was the most fun radio experience I ever had, even more fun than college radio. The station was truly free-form, no restrictions at all. The only thing we tried not to play was something we’d done in the previous couple of shows; the idea of repeating something was bad.”
Beaubien remained a full-time member of the air staff until 1977, when he left the midday slot to pursue a career in artist management. Interestingly, after only a couple years, he returned to radio, but as a DJ and Program Director at WBCN’s slick, Top 40-oriented rock and roll rival, WCOZ. Contrasting sharply with his earlier free-form days at 104.1, Beaubien rode ‘COZ’s fantastic rocket ride of success with its “Kick-Ass Rock and Roll” approach, then gathered what was left of the pieces when that format crashed and burned by 1982. He proved to be resilient and knowledgeable, transitioning from ‘COZ’s demise into a lifelong radio career outside of New England.
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(by Carter Alan)
Carter Alan is a former WBCN DJ now heard on WZLX-FM in Boston. He is the author of Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN (University Press of New England, 2013), available here as well as from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.