No more Woo Woo
Arnie "Woo Woo" Ginsburg, who introduced both radio and video generations of Bostonians to the hottest platters that matter, has died. He was 93.
From his start at WBOS in 1956 through his move to WMEX to his role in starting up both Kiss-108 and then V66, Ginsburg influenced the pop and rock scene in Boston. And he was, the Music Museum of New England reminds us, the man who introduced "Louie, Louie" to America. Also:
Ginsburg’s Friday night Record Hops at the Surf Ballroom at Nantasket Beach, where he introduced Frankie Avalon, Gene Pitney and local garage acts like the Rockin’ Ramrods to Massachusetts audiences, remain fond memories for numerous New England rock ‘n’ roll fans.
Ginsburg recalls how he got his nickname:
Ginsburg retired in 1986 and moved to Maine. Ginsburg's husband, Carlos Alberto Vega, remembers him:
Arnie´s first love was radio. By the age of eight, Arnie had built his own short-wave radio. Arnie had originally no intention of being a disc jockey. He imagined himself as a technician and a producer, not an on-air broadcaster. He didn't think his voice had the timbre of the classic radio announcer.
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I met him in 2016
After a day at Ogunquit Beach I went with some friends to an outdoor bar in the center of town to kill time before our catching our train home. We began chatting with a few older gentlemen sitting at the next table over from us, Arnie was one of them. He told us stories about a quick stint at WRKO (a station I knew well and early, its transmission towers are in the town I grew up in and the signal there was so strong that the handsets on hung up telephones in nearby homes would pick it up. One girl I grew up with swore that they could hear it over the elements in her family's toaster oven!), WMEX, WBCN, and when he helped establish V-66 (a station near and dear to my heart, as my family did not subscribe to cable TV when I was growing up, so it was my siblings' and my only source for music videos). He more or less gave us a history of pop music and radio broadcasting in Boston in a one hour conversation.
RIP Arnie and Thank You
Arnie has gone to the great Adventure Car Hop in the sky.
I started listening on the crystal radio kit which Santa brought me circa 1962. That was the only station I could pick up, because the transmitter was in the Neponset River Marsh in North Quincy. Arnie was one of those amazing manic geniuses in the relatively early days of rock. He related perfectly to kids and understood the significance of the market. We in his audience felt like we were part of a (very healthy) club. It was great fun and revolutionized the entertainment media.
I never got the chance to meet him
But, my grandparents had retired up in Ogunquit, ME, before they passed away. Believe Arnie had a place right at the edge of Perkins Cove up there. My grandmother pointed out his car (or it might have actually been a scooter) with his ME vanity plate that, if I recall, just said "WOO" on it, adding that he was a well known radio personality. I'm not sure if they were familiar with each other or friends. Ogunquit's a pretty small community nonetheless. I wondered about him when I was up in Ogunquit last summer, because that time with my grandmother had to have been about 15ish years ago. Looked around for his car or scooter and didn't seem to spot it.
Anyway, all that to say this story hits a little close to home. Sad to hear of his passing.
WRKO is 50,000 watts
...and transmits from an array of three towers next door to the Burlington Mall. Yes, you can hear it in things like toaster ovens. When I used to work at WCRB, there was an AM station in the same building that was only 5,000 watts, but one of my colleagues used to stand on his desk, stick a pencil into one of the ceiling tiles, and hear music from the AM coming out of the tile. AM is like that when you have a transmitter nearby.
If you live near a radio station transmitter...sometimes your toaster or other appliance can pick up an AM signal...She must have lived near the transmitter!
Damn! I loved that guy. He
Damn! I loved that guy. He taught me what a DJ should be. A Boston institution.
He opened the door
Ginsburg's style and playlist was a clear departure from anything else in Boston at the time. 'BZ and 'HDH played some top-40 music, but it was part of a mix trying to appeal to everyone. 'MEX's afternoon and early evening mix was directed at us kids, and Arnie's off-the-wall style sold it. (And let's not forget that 'MEX was also ahead of the game with Jerry Williams' call-in talk show later in the evening).
Bon voyage, Woo Woo.
May he rest well.
Woo Woo "The Great"
Wow....grew up listening to 1510-WMEX...and Arnie was the top guy.....Kick-ass station with Fenway in the morning..and Woo Woo at night.
I got to see him do his show one night at the Kenmore Square studios.....
He was an engineer at WBOS for my dad, Norm Prescott.......
Great guy and gave me a Good Guys sweatshirt which I kept for decades......!
I used to listen to him on my little transistor radio. I'm glad that he had a long and apparently happy life.
Who knew he was gay? Not me
Who knew he was gay? Not me.
Is this true?