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Jim Connors - aka "JC"

JC in studio 1972
Born May 7, 1940(1940-05-07)
Pawtucket, Rhode Island, U.S.
Died February 24, 1987 (aged 46)
I-95, Virginia, U.S.
Occupation Radio personality

Jim "JC" Connors (May 7, 1940 – February 24, 1987) was a popular radio personality (disc jockey) of the 1960s through 1980s in the United States.[1][2]

Highlights

Jim Connors earned 13 Gold records for discovering artists during his career including; Harry Chapin and his hit song "Taxi". Chapin later went on to write a song inspired by JC's life called "W*O*L*D". This song was based on a phone call Harry over heard while in studio with JC at WMEX-Boston. The gentlemen began discussing what life as a "jock" is like, which led to Harry's inspiration for the hit song. Connors also earned gold with Chuck Berry for "My Ding-a-ling", Wayne Newton for "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast", Joe Simon - "Power of Love", Mouth & MacNeal "How Do You Do", and many others, for 'discovering' their songs and breaking them through to the mainstream audience.[2]

Connors was well known amongst Radio programmers of the 1960s and 1970s for his Programming and Promotional abilities along with his Think Sheet. The 'Think Sheet' was a monthly publication he would draft and send to fellow Radio Programmers making recommendations on new artists for National air, along with jock jokes and trend analysis based on market research. He was granted the opportunity to speak at the 2nd Annual Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.[2]

Career & Life

Connors graduated from Pawtucket, Rhode Island West High School in 1958. Upon graduating he entered the United States Air Force which led him to his primary duty station in San Antonio, Texas, where his career as a radio announcer began as a Program Director for the Armed Forces Radio Network. He also held numerous other billets during his Honourable time served. While serving in the United States Air Force, Connors was assigned to President John F. Kennedy's special communications team in the Florida Keys, which directly aided in the Cuban blockade, during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Cuban Missile Crisis.[2]

WJET Erie, Pennsylvania was his first official radio job outside of duties performed in the U.S. Air Force. At WJET, he held the title of Production Director for WJET Radio & WJET Television channel 24. Initially, he was the mid day host for WJET and was rated #1 in this market ahead of the morning drive team, it wasn't long before JC was promoted to the AM drive. While in Erie, JC met his first wife and had two children. Over time his marriage would unfortunately fail due to numerous reasons.[2]

After a long run at WJET, Connors was hired at one of the largest stations in the country, WMEX in Boston, Massachusetts, where he was the Music Director and AM drive host. His daily program was consistently rated #1 in the New England marketplace in the early 1970s. This is where he earned 13 Gold Records during his tenure for discovering artists and/or being first in the nation to promote their music. This is where Connors and Harry Chapin became friends, and JC helped launch Chapin's career. Foster Brooks and Connors befriended each other during this time as well. This friendship, and similar style of humour, would be a talking point for the two men for years to come. JC earned the majority of his gold records while working at WMEX. The one gold record JC was most proud of came by the vinyl of Chuck Berry for "My Ding-a-ling". Discovering and pushing this song in the United States was dear to JC, simply for the fact Chuck Berry was a childhood icon of his, prior to his career in Radio.[2]

After having great success in Boston, and becoming Nationally renown by many record executives for his Programming and Promotional abilities, JC chose to move towards Erie, Pennsylvania to be closer to his children from his first marriage. The impact of Chapin's song "W*O*L*D" hit his ex-wife hard, as the local 'Jocks' in Erie would often take their shots at him and his life on air. Soon he found an opening at WYSL in Buffalo, New York, where he could be closer to his children while working through some family concerns. Connors was the AM Drive host in Buffalo, NY, his program was Nationally rated #5 by Arbitron, which was quite a substantial fact considering Buffalo was ranked 26th in the Nation during those years. JC had great success in the Western New York marketplace, and would frequently feature many of the Nationally renown performers he had connections with on WYSL. While in Buffalo JC would meet his 2nd wife, and the couple would find out they were pregnant with their first of two children shortly before moving to Rochester, New York for a job at WROC.

At WROC, he was Operations Manager & AM Drive Host. He also made multiple appearances for WROC-TV Weather, as the company worked through the largest media strike in Rochester's history. He left WROC and moved back to New England during this time due to the death of his father.[2]

After the passing of his father, JC found a strong desire to be back in New England with the rest of his family. He was offered a position with WCIB in Falmouth, Massachusetts and Cape Cod, Massachusetts where he was appointed Vice President of Operations and AM Drive Host, with multiple levels of on air production responsibility.

After a fairly decent run at WCIB, JC moved on to WBSM in New Bedford, Massachusetts as the AM Drive Host with numerous levels of on air radio production & copy writing. While at WBSM his second marriage would fall apart, leaving him with no choice but to move on to another market and start over again.

Shortly after his second divorce he moved away from Massachusetts for a position with WKRI in Providence, Rhode Island and Warwick, Rhode Island as the Morning Drive Entertainer. His career in the North Eastern United States would soon come to an end, as he packed up and headed for another new beginning in his life on the Gulf Coast of Florida. While living in the Bay Area of Tampa, Florida JC would frequently cut commercials and feature on numerous local spots. His time in Florida was brief. On February 24, 1987 on a trip returning to Rhode Island, JC was involved in a fatal car crash on I-95 in Greensville County, Virginia. At the time of his death JC was survived by four children.[2]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Radio Broadcasting History "Radio Broadcasting History" "Jim Connors", Radio Broadcasting History - 440 Satisfaction, 2008-04-27. Retrieved on 2008-04-27.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Connors, Jim (2008-04-27). "Jim Connors" (in English) (html). Jim Connors. http://jimconnors.net. Retrieved 2008-04-27. ""Here you will find information about the Legendary Radio personality Jim Connors, from the golden age of radio, and information about his son with the same name who in his own right has embarked on a successful career in Television.""  
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