Pure Rock 103.1 WHVY The Underground! Rock and roll, motherfuckers!
In the Greater Washington DC area, big rock radio was DC/101. In Baltimore, 98 Rock. Then over in Annapolis, 103.1 The Underground. They played “pure rock”, which was basically AOR with a more metal tilt (see also 97 Underground). As credit towards my minor in Music Industry, I had to do an internship. I landed one at WHVY for the summer.
The summer of 1992, before my junior year. I recall getting an early listen to Jackyl’s I Stand Alone and the Music Director groaning about another AC/DC clone. The internship didn’t pay, but the perks were cool for 20 year old me.
Washington DC geography: I-495 encircles DC, straddling into VA and MD to enable the metro area to go round and round. WHVY was in Annapolis I lived at 9 o’clock on the circle, Annapolis was at 3 o’clock then east a bunch more. It was cool tho, because the office was located in the historic downtown area, which was really cool except for parking – everyone had to move their car every 2 hours. It was a long drive for me, but I enjoyed it. I rolled the windows down, cranked the tunes up, and flew down the highway.
Mary Kay Lemay ran the marketing department. She was cool, smart, killer sense of humor and attitude. Lot of fun to work with. There was another intern, a girl I only met once because we never worked on the same days (I just remember how tiny she was). The time we met, Mary Kay was needing us both for an on-site. It was a promo for a motorcycle dealership that was opening – the hook was a chance to win a Harley-Davison motorcycle. You listened to the radio, you were the 10th caller or whatever, you earned a chance – a key that might start the Harley. Then we had the big day on-site, each winner got to choose a key, and one person’s started it. I recall at our booth being surprised at how “metaled out” people got for… this? My mind’s eye can still see this one chick: perfectly coiffed mullet, long dangling metallic feather earrings, animal print spandex, blade sunglasses. Mmm Mmm Mmm. ‘murica. But it was fun, and Mary Kay was a great boss.
James was also in marketing. I remember he used to be something like the road manager for the band Heaven’s Edge (I always loved Find Another Way). The General Manager and Program Director were both from KNAC. The PD was Bryan Schock. I remember thinking “he’s old”. They brought a lady down from Canada, Shannon Rock – to form the morning show team, Shock & Rock in The Morning. Get it? Radio. I just remember it being awkward the few times I listened to it (which I normally couldn’t, because their signal didn’t reach where I lived; I think the tower was only 3000 watts). The Music Director was old too, but a cool guy and knew his rock. I think he did the afternoon drive, and he had a golden voice for radio. Karen Aylor did evenings. Late night dude, Matt something… this is when METAL took the airwaves. Mandatory Metallica and all that sort of stuff.
When I first arrived for the internship, the gal working the front desk was Betsy Sepesy. She was cute, and we both had instant attraction. I had arrived early so we got to chat a bit while I waited. We hung out a bunch. I remember her apologizing (feeling embarrassed) about the paper towels in her shoes – that the soles of her feet get really sweaty. Girl, that’s fine and all, but it wasn’t even an issue for me until you mentioned it and now I can’t not think about it. 😂 While Betsy was cool to hang with, I came to realize that she wasn’t the kind of girl I was looking for. She too got enamored with the music industry, packed up her things, moved to NYC, I think moved in with Steve Prue or something. I don’t really remember, but that was the last I heard from her. I remember she borrowed my core music industry textbook and I didn’t get it back. I loved that book!
In the early 1990’s, rock was changing but still cool. I got to see some bands at Hammerjacks like White Trash; Life, Sex, & Death; Lucy Brown. I got to listen to a lot of good music. I got to learn about radio. There was good rock and roll.