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Sam Kopper hired 20-year old Maxanne Sartori from Seattle’s KLOL-FM to take over WBCN’s afternoon shift on Friday the 13th of November, 1970. Certainly no bad omen, that day marked the beginning of a fruitful and famous association that lasted nearly seven years. It was quickly evident that Maxanne, as she called herself on the air, liked to rock, as Debbie Ullman observed: “I was motivated by the counterculture – Jesse Colin Young, Incredible String Band, Jefferson Airplane, [but] she was really into rock and roll. She was much more tuned into what [would be] happening with ‘BCN by the later 70‘s.”
Maxanne will always be remembered for her association with a young Bruce Springsteen, who dropped in on the afternoon show with a truncated version of the E Street Band for a pair of famously-bootlegged and beloved unplugged performances in January ’73 and April ’74. Indeed, the unique and hilarious performance of “Rosalita” from the latter visit is easily one of the most memorable nine-minutes in WBCN’s entire history.
Infamous for running the studio speakers at maximum volume, Maxanne would be credited with championing Boston artists like The J. Geils Band, The Cars and Billy Squier, also counting some less famous names from the area as favorites, including Reddy Teddy, Nervous Eaters, Fox Pass and Willie “Loco” Alexander. Then there was Aerosmith: “The first person ever to play our record was Maxanne,” mentioned Steven Tyler. She persistently championed the group to program director Norm Winer, who refused to let her play the band at first: “I thought they were too derivative. But, of course, she was right.”
By the time Maxanne left, on April Fool’s Day 1977, she had become WBCN’s most powerful and distinctive personality. Trading in her headphones, the jock picked up a job doing regional promotion for Island Records, later working in the national offices of Elektra-Asylum and eventually as an independent promoter.
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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.