Voices on the radio carry listeners to different points of view and states of mind, exciting curiosity, rousing debate and provoking laughter. For these and other reasons, many radio personalities have left an indelible imprint on their listeners.
Two stations in Pikesville continue to share legends in the Baltimore radio community daily with listeners. Hosting the “Morning Show with Sean and Frank” on WCBM-AM are Sean Casey, program director, and Frank Luber, a nearly 20-year veteran of WJZ-TV who left the station after Jerry Turner died and joined the talk radio scene in the 1980s. The “Rouse and Company Morning Show” with Steve Rouse and co-hosts Tracy Hart and Pat O’Neill can be found at WQLL-AM. And returning to the airwaves for an after-noon show at WQLL-AM is Mickey Cucchiella of 98 Rock fame.
“Talk radio is the first social media,” Sean astutely commented, a telling insight that imbues both stations and their completely different programming. WCBM, one of the longest running stations in the U.S., has undergone several transformations since 1924. At one point, it was the flagship station of the Baltimore Colts with broadcasters Vince Bagli and Chuck Thompson. Over time, the station evolved from adult contemporary music to today’s talk radio programming with some syndicated shows.
“I have been through assassinations and the civil rights movement and thought I saw it all, but nothing like the past two years,” Frank said, about recent news developments and how the “unpredictable has become predictable.”
Listeners seeking anything but news on their morning and afternoon commutes can follow the humor and light-hearted conversations of Rouse and Company
and Mickey’s program. Steve hosted “Rouse and Company” from 1988 to 2005 on WQSR-FM, after which he focused on voiceover work and purchased land where he raised chickens and engaged in organic farming.
Eventually, he returned to radio, working in Havre de Grace, where he met co-host Tracy. An interview over a runaway blimp brought them together. Six months later, Steve and Tracy went to WQLL-AM and recruited Pat who produces the show and handles traffic.
“Our goal is start our listeners’ morning off with a smile,” Tracy said. “It’s like going to a party and not having to put your makeup on,” Steve added.
After “Rouse and Company,” listeners can get lost in the music until the afternoon show begins with Mickey, who has returned to radio after a four-year break. His show that began in June is driven by his comedic timing and personality-driven energy.
After battling depression, he decided to return to radio, because “I miss the purity of it.”
To experience the intellectual and social texture of Baltimore, one need only turn to these stations and listen.
For more information about programming, visit wcbm.com and q1370.com.
by Therese Umerlik | Editor