Thursday, March 1, 2012
Doctor Bop, WCOL-AM
I was a youngster of six years old, the oldest of four brothers and I was laying in bed one night, listening to WCOL-AM. The voice I heard was of Hoyt Locke and he said, “This is Dr. Bop on the sceeeene, with a stack of shellac and my record machine. A little country boy from across the track, so down with it baby that I’ll never go back.”
Now, let’s make clear that Hoyt Locke was not the first deejay playing rhythm and blues/rock and roll on Columbus airwaves; that distinction comes to WVKO’s Eddie Saunders, who in 1955 was Jumpin’ Jive at Five-O-Five. But Dr. Bop was the first to create a rock and roll culture in Central Ohio.
Locke and his brother, Edgar, came to WCOL-AM in 1956, as clients for Bop Records, located at 474 E. Main Street. They were at the studios creating fifteen minute infomercials, when the announcer got up an left, leaving the the station without a voice. The studio engineer asked Hoyt to take over and the fifteen minutes became a six hour, all night broadcast.
The first paid advertising for Dr. Bop was City Service Gasoline, at Garfield and Mt. Vernon Avenues, purchasing three months worth of air time. Soon it was followed by City Gas, Certified Oil, the Beverly Drive-Ins, Buckeye Potato Chips and other locally owned business.
Dr. Bop was flamboyant, controversial and his race wasn’t hidden. He referred to his “silver foxes”, young White women who followed his show. He stayed with WCOL until 1959 and in 1960, he went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to star in radio there.
Locke was born in Chatanooga, Tennessee, March 11, 1912 and his family moved to Barthman Avenue on Columbus’ Southside. He attended Reeb Avenue Elementary School and he passed away a month shy of sixty-four on February, 24, 1976. But, according to the book Life is a Jukebox, by former WCOL announcer Rick Minerd, Dr. Bop popularized rock and roll/rhythm and blues among Whites and created an identity for WCOL that made it the number one station for the next several years.