Day At The Track

John Manzi's Bop Radio show 36 years

05:34 AM 12 Oct 2019 NZDT
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John Manzi, harness racing
John Manzi
USHWA photo
Monticello,NY- On Sunday, October 13, the longest running show in the Catskills, WVOS-FM's "The Bop Shop" hosted by John Manzi, will celebrate its 36th Anniversary. The four- hour radio show is heard on Sunday nights from 8pm until mid-night.

The unique program which features music--mostly vocal group harmony records-- from the late 40's, 50's and early 60's is available on WVOS radio at 95.9FM in southeast New York. And the show can be heard world-wide on the internet at wvosfm.com.

"We have a fun program and we play enjoyable songs from small labels that never really go much airplay and since we've been on the internet we've been getting calls from listeners in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, the greater New York area, including Long Island and all over the East Coast; even from Alaska," Manzi relates.
 
"We go back to the roots of rock n roll and rhythm n blues playing great songs from what is now known as the doo wop era. Sure we play chart records but mostly we feature vocal group harmony records but we also play some rock-a-billy and blues records, too."

Currently with features like "the name game", "name that tune", "same thing only different", battle of the (record's) B-sides", "rate a record", and "common denominator", Manzi tries to keep his audience involved in the show.

From time to time Manzi has had live in-studio a cappella from vocal ensembles like Larry Chance and the Earls, Guy Villari & the Regents; The Shallows; the Cliftonaires; Mystique; the Creations, the Arrogants, the Excellents; Sentimental Journey; and BQE, to mention a few; and recently, Little Isadore and the Inquisitors .

Every Sunday Manzi is joined by his sidekicks, Cindy "G" and Steve "the Eggman" Ristano. But it is not unusual that visitors, knowledgeable in doo wops, join Manzi in the studio from time to time.

Before his passing Joe "Doo Wop" Greco had been with Manzi since the beginning of the show which started in early October 1983.

Besides playing the music, Manzi informs the listeners of the background of the songs; talks about the personnel and where they originated from, as well as where songs placed on the Billboard charts.

Manzi recently retired from Monticello Raceway -after 41 years- where he had been the longtime director of publicity and public relations. He has always been a fancier of oldies music and his personal collection of 45RPM records exceeds 50,000; and his albums number more than 3000. Though it's rare in today's world he still plays his 45RPM records over the airwaves.

For the first 25 years the Bop Shop was heard on WSUL-98.3FM but 11 years ago Watermark Communications, which owned both WSUL and WVOS, switched the program to WVOS-FM when that station began an "oldies" format. Recently, both WSUL and WVOS have been purchased by Gold Bold Media.

When Manzi took over the Sunday night oldies show at WSUL radio in October 1983 little did he fathom that 36years later he'd still be at it.

"The beautiful part of this music is that even though the records are 50 years old, and most older, I'm always coming across vocal group harmony songs that I never heard before," Manzi said. "It's like listening to new music."

"I really look forward to Sunday nights. I love the music and I love our audience."
 
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