Retro Dee writes about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s on this site. Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every Wednesday.
Hi folks, this is Retro Dee and it’s my pleasure to wish a Happy Anniversary to my favorite Oldies Show, WCWP’s The Grooveyard!
The Grooveyard is hosted by DJ Alan Seltzer. The show comes out of LIU’s WCWP 88.1 FM on Saturday Nights at 7pm/6 central. Alan Seltzer can do a better job of telling you the history of The Grooveyard than I can, so be certain to tune in on Saturday for even more details!
However, In honor of the 9th anniversary of the show, I would like to write a tribute. So in this post, I will highlight my own personal experiences as a listener, as well as how I became a weekly contributor to The Grooveyard website.
For me, it all started back in 2018. I hadn’t been blogging for very long. I soon connected with a fellow named Bob, who was also writing a blog about the 1950’s. But Bob has an advantage over me: he was actually alive then! Yes, Bob’s blog “The Past Is Back” is a delightful read that looks back on the era through Bob’s own eyes as a child in the 1950’s. (I definitely recommend it, if you haven’t checked it out already!)
While looking at Bob’s blog one day, I noticed a link to an oldies show called “The Grooveyard”. For my relatively young age I’m surprisingly old school, and I had never listened to the radio through the internet. I wasn’t even sure how it worked. I wondered: “Do I just click the link? Or do I need to go to the local tech shop and talk to someone even more clueless than I am?”
One Saturday afternoon I decided to give it a try, so I went to WCWP.org and clicked on the link to listen to the show. It worked! I was thrilled. That’s when I first heard Alan Seltzer’s voice. He really engages his audience. His show is so full of fun and interesting facts, themes, and things I’d never heard before. I learned so much just listening.
What really got me excited, however, were the Song Surveys. I couldn’t believe a DJ was having a poll in which listeners could vote for their favorite 50’s and 60’s songs, because I was just thinking how much fun that would be. It was as if Alan Seltzer read my mind. (And that would have been pretty impressive since he didn’t even know me yet.) The first song survey I ever voted in was The Summer Song Survey in 2018.
The day of the 2018 Summer Song Survey was hot, so I set up my laptop in the bathroom by the AC vent so it wouldn’t overheat. My cat Chelsea sat nearby on a stack of towels, as if she too, wanted to hear the show. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was a lot of fun.
By then I was hooked, and listening to The Grooveyard every Saturday. This went on for months. In the fall of 2018, DJ Alan Seltzer announced another survey called “The Great 88”. This is an annual survey that is just the kind of thing any lover of “Malt Shop Era” music would want to partake in. So I grabbed my faithful cat Chelsea, a note book and some paper and began choosing songs.
Once the songs were chosen, I voted online daily. Eleven of the songs I voted for were by my favorite artist, Buddy Holly. Why eleven? Because that’s how many of his songs were on the poll.
On December 29, 2018, I tuned in, excited to find that all 11 of Buddy Holly’s songs (with and without The Crickets) made it onto that year’s Great 88. Listening to the countdown was so much fun, I decided I’d write a blog post on it.
Turns out, Alan Seltzer read the post. And he invited me to be a weekly contributor to The Grooveyard website. My column would go up on Wednesdays. I couldn’t think of a more exciting collaboration. Me, writing about the 1950’s for an oldies show online? If you’d told me I’d ever get to do that, I might not have believed you!
I excitedly took Alan Seltzer up on his offer. That Saturday, I was listening to the show when a childhood dream of mine came true: Alan Seltzer introduced me, Retro Dee, and my blog on the air. And what’s more, he played “Peggy Sue” because I had written about it in my Great 88 post.
Growing up, I had this obsession with Peggy Sue. To me, she was a metaphor for the American Dream. From the moment I first heard the song as a child, I could somehow, some way feel the excitement that she felt when her song made it to Number One. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like, most girls wanted to be Britney Spears; I wanted to be Peggy Sue.
That week, I submitted my first post, which detailed my experience listening to The Great 88. The next thing I knew, Alan Seltzer told me he was going to dedicate an entire show to me, to Welcome me to the WCWP Family. Never was I so honored… and so shocked!
On Saturday, January 12, 2019, Alan Seltzer played several of my picks for The Great 88 in the first hour of the show. I wondered what listeners were thinking when he mentioned me. They were probably like, “Who is this Retro Dee?” But I was tickled at the mere idea of it. What a great Welcome into the WCWP family and what an unexpected dream come true.
As kids, my cousins and I would play downstairs at our Grandparents’ house in Uncle Frank’s weight room. One night we were listening to the radio (which we weren’t allowed to do) and my cousin Nick decided he’d sneak and use the phone (which we also weren’t allowed to do) to call the local radio station and request a song. This was just about the most exciting thing we could think of, especially for me.
For a half-hour Nick tried and tried to get through to the station (I can’t remember what song he wanted to request) but it was to no avail. Finally, after several attempts and nothing but a busy signal, he told us “It’s ringing!”
I remember standing by the phone, looking up at him, excitedly. “Did they answer, did they answer?” I asked.
“Shh!” Nick said.
Just then, my aunt came down stairs. She saw Nick on the phone and said, “What are you doing? Hang that phone up now! You know you’re not supposed to be making calls here!”
Nick quickly hung up and apologized to his mother. I was disappointed. We were so close! How exciting would it have been to hear Nick’s name on the air and have the song he wanted played.
In my overactive 9-year-old imagination, we might as well have been trying for a spot on National TV… But the point is, music was always a big deal to me. In fact, there was a period of time when I wanted to be a D.J. myself… So being a weekly contributor to The Grooveyard ties in with my childhood dreams of participating on a radio program. Triple bonus points for the fact that it’s an Oldies Show!
Well, folks, after two and a half years of contributing my blog posts to The Grooveyard, I can say that it’s been a true pleasure. Not only because I get my writing featured, but also because I got to know Alan Seltzer over email. I’ve also enjoyed being a small part of one of the greatest things mankind has ever invented: Rock N Roll.
So thank you, Grooveyard and Happy Anniversary.
Best Wishes Always,
Listen to “The Grooveyard” following “Rick’s Redneck Ranch” each Saturday night at 7 PM on 88.1 FM on Long Island or by clicking the 88.1 FM link on wcwp.org, via the TuneIn app. or the WCWP app on your iPhone or Android device. You can also follow us on Twitter. and on the Facebook groups for the show and WCWP.
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