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As one of WBCN’s cornerstone talents, who would be part of the legendary daytime triumvirate including Charles Laquidara and Mark Parenteau, Ken Shelton made the midday shift his home for well over a decade. Growing up in Brooklyn, he loved the rock and roll music of Elvis Presley and then embraced the counterculture, hanging out in the Village and seeing The Fugs and The Blues Project as well as The Band at the Fillmore. Shelton graduated from college with a Bachelor’s in Speech and Theater, ostensibly for a career in television. “It was 1969; Vietnam was still going on, so the goal was to stay in school,” he remembered. “I looked around for graduate schools and ended up at B.U.”
Later, Shelton pulled stints at Channel 4 TV, working as the floor manager on Rex Trailer’s “Boomtown” show; at WBZ-FM, where he landed his perennial nickname, ‘Captain Ken’; atWCOZ-FM, from its inception in 1975 as a thorn in ‘BCN’s side till he left three years later; at ground-breaking soft-rock station WEEI-FM; and finally replacing Matt Siegel at WBCN in 1980. Shelton told The Tab in 1988 that he considered himself “as the calm between the two knucklehead storms – Charles and Mark.” That was true; the less-cluttered, more music-oriented shift became a relatively peaceful interlude amidst the morning and afternoon mayhem. Shelton interviewed dozens of artists and became famous for his “Mighty Lunch Hour” of requests and special lunch songs created by the WBCN production department.
After a 13-year reign, however, Ken Shelton’s relationship with the station’s managers had soured. The jock walked away from his long-standing midday home in July of ’93 to assume morning drive-time duties at Infinity’s new Classic Rock acquisition, WZLX. The irony was that Ken Shelton now competed for listeners in the same time slot as his buddy, Charles Laquidara, the radio maniac he had clowned around with during Mishegas cross-overs for so many years.
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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.