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Jean Shepherd

Newly-discovered 1970s Jean Shepherd promo

Jean Shepherd Princeton

Former WPRB DJ Douglas Quine ’73 recently submitted a small pile of early 70s WPRB aircheck cassettes for our review. We’re now in the midst of digitizing them, and the audio goodies are practically throwing themselves at us already. Witness: this great promo for the annual WPRB-sponsored Jean Shepherd gig in Princeton.

For the sake of convenience, we’re pairing it with the above image of a Shep gig poster from around the same time, which someone anonymously donated (OK, “abandoned” is actually a better word for it) during the station’s 75th Anniversary banquet last year. Stay tuned for more audio from the WPRB/Quine archives in the coming days!

The Razor Sharp Mind of WPRB’s Jeff Meyers

Photo: Jeff Meyers (aka Rod St. John) with Jean Shepherd
Text: Gregg Lange

The late 1960s was a highly active and diverse era for WPRB. News staffers aggressively covered coeducation, plus anti-war and civil rights demonstrations; the sports department traveled with Ivy champion football and nationally-ranked basketball teams; classical music was beginning to assert itself seriously; and the earlier preponderance of middle-of-the-road music was blown away by underground rock and a fabulous jazz department that appeared almost overnight, experimental specialty programs and even a highly popular Top-40 show, all by students. Meanwhile, the station sponsored concerts of all sorts, and its annual presentation of raconteur Jean Shepherd at Alexander Hall became the stuff of radio legend.


WPRB DJs Arrested in Washington, 1970

[Jeff Weiser (left) and Bruce Snyder help cover the 1972 election live on the air.]

By Douglas B. Quine

I joined WPRB in my freshman year of 1969-1970 and trained on WPRB-AM before serving as a newsman at the May Day protest demonstration in Washington (1970) and the election night headquarters of Nixon and McGovern (1972). In Princeton, I took on the folk & blues shows on WPRB-FM, served as Traffic Director and assistant business manager, and finally served on the Ivy Network Board of Directors.

I have many memories of WPRB, including lighting fluorescent lamps by the radiated antenna power on Holder Tower, talking with stoned listeners who called into the studios, organizing the Beach Boys, Fish, Jean Shepherd, Weather Report, & Poco concerts, and the first WPRB Tee Shirts (blue shirts with a yellow smudge at the bottom which was supposed to represent a voice print). The stories that I’ve retold the most times, however, must be the “WPRB arrests in Washington” and “The Do Me Bird”.


WPRB at the DNC, Sting from the Police, and Freeform vs. Format

By Jordan Becker

I started at WPRB during the second semester of my freshman year in 1979. The ability to have the entire record library—and it was still all vinyl—at my disposal was intoxicating. Unless that was the fumes from the records.

At the time, the station’s rock programming was still very much beholden to the freeform model of the late 1960s-early 1970s. In fact, to my memory, the only requirement that we had was the obligation to play a certain amount of jazz during a rock show. That all changed, though, when Ashley Ellott became station manager, and Jason Meyer became program director. They attempted to turn the rock programming into something more consistent and more rock oriented. To me, there is something to be said for listeners having a general sense of what they might hear when they turn on the radio, and having some consistency from day to day and time slot to time slot theoretically results in listeners staying with the station for longer periods. On the other hand, they also insisted that we use the slogan “Your Music,” which was generally reviled—it might have worked at a professional commercial station, but was a bad idea for a college radio station.