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On the fabled first night of WBCN’s “American Revolution;” March 15, 1968; DJ Tommy Hadges stood at Joe Rogers’ side as the latter placed the needle on Cream’s “I Feel Free” and commercial underground radio fired its first shot in Boston. Both jocks were Tufts University students who found their way to M.I.T.’s WTBS-FM and the attention of entrepreneur Ray Riepen, who hired them for his fledgling radio project. When the overnight experiment succeeded and classical music WBCN yielded to rock and roll by May ‘68, Hadges was one of the first regular jocks on the station, along with Rogers, Peter Wolf, Sam Kopper, Al Perry and Jim Parry.
But, less than a year later, the Brockton native would depart, only showing occasionally for fill-in shifts as he concentrated earnestly on his studies at Tufts Dental School. Eventually the pull of music and radio overwhelmed the desire to fill cavities and listen to that noisy saliva-sucking device all day. Hadges returned full-time to ‘BCN and by 1976 he was holding down the morning shift following the initial exit of station star Charles Laquidara. A year later he had been named Program Director and made three critical moves by coaxing Laquidara to return, hiring Oedipus, and inviting promotional maestro David Bieber onboard.
As Boston dug itself out from “The Blizzard of ’78,” and even before David Bieber had settled into his new office, Tommy Hadges decided to accept the offer he’d received to join ‘BCN’s rival WCOZ as its Program Director. After two years he moved on to program legendary FM rocker KLOS in Los Angles and in 1985 joined radio consultant Jeff Pollack’s company, which has grown over the past thirty years into an influential global company. Hadges is President of the Worldwide Video and Radio division of Pollack Music and Media Group where he enjoys working closely with individual stations overseas. When he’s not racking up ridiculous amounts of frequent flyer miles, he lives in Santa Monica.
(by Carter Alan)
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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 at http://www.upne.com/1555537296.html as well as from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.