Most of my local radio listening was on 3 AM stations, WBKA and WBET and WOKW. WBET was originally located downtown at the corner of Crescent and Main Sts. WBKA was located in a new Art Deco studios at 205 East Ashland St. (across from the Carey Hill Plaza Shopping Center). WBET eventually took over the WBKA studios and later moved them to 60 Main St. in the Enterprise Newspaper Building. WBKA’s Art Deco studios were similar to broadcast stations seen in the old Gene Autry Cowboy movies. WBKA was home to two famous dj’s, Bill Pierce and “Doc” Jones. Mr. Pierce was co-host on Dorothy Dale’s show but later became nationally known. He became the voice of Public Television’s “BOSTON POPS” for than 30 years. Bill was a bona fide Yankee/Scot and grew up in New Bedford. He was a graduate of both Hebron Academy and Bowdoin College. On his father’s side, Mr. Pierce was descended from Mayflower passenger William White. In June of 1961, the last local station hit the air. WOKW signed on as a TOP-40 Station from its Linwood St.studios on the west side and the first song played was “The Fish” by Bobby Rydell. The station used radio names and they were Tom, Dick and Harry. No matter who did the morning show, his name was Tom Bell, middays were always Dick Jones and afternoons were hosted by Harry Scott (Jerry Clark).
Click on play below and hear Bill Pierce.
After Bill Pierce joined WGBH in Boston and WBKA went out of business, Arthur “Doc” Jones turned up on WBET and became the big frog in the little pond. Arthur Jones arrived in Brockton the same year as the first baby boomers, 1946. My parent’s kitchen radio was permanently tuned to his program thru the mid-1960’s. He announced my name when I was born at the Goddard Hospital and 18 years later was the first of several program directors to hire me. “The Jones Boy” had great credentials. He had been on the air in Hollywood, Coast-to-Coast on CBS Radio, on KCBS San Francisco with Chet Huntley and on WEEI Boston with Carl Moore. Doc was an interesting guy, he flew his own airplane at Brockton Airport, owned a construction company and a travel agency but he drove a Volkswagen. I always found that confusing. He had the uncanny ability to often get fogged in on Martha’s Vineyard at 9PM on Sunday evening. He then phoned me in the studio during my program and assigned me the task of passing the word down that he wouldn’t back in time for Monday Sign-On. So I called a replacement, usually his biggest fan Dick Benham who lived in Easton. Next, I phoned a slightly upset Mrs. Jones in West Bridgewater to break the news. “Doc” later divorced that wife and married Janet Bolls who hosted a homemaker feature on his program and she resided on the Vineyard. That really made me wonder about the weather?
WOKW’s Jack Raymond in Studio A (1965)