In this week’s issue… NE radio pioneer dies at 100 – Hall sells remainder of PA cluster – New live night host at Q102 – CT LPFM overcomes complaint – AM sale in MA
By SCOTT FYBUSH
Back in 1951, Maurice Cohen was a young World War II veteran who’d been working for RCA when he and his brothers Ike and Teddy secured a license to put a second radio station on the air in Lowell, MASSACHUSETTS.
WCAP (980) hit the air as a thousand-watt daytimer from studios above a bar on Central Street at the south edge of downtown Lowell, and for 57 years that’s where it remained with Maurice at the helm.
Maurice (pronounced “Morris”) outlived his brothers, eventually taking sole control of the station, which he ran with the firmest of hands and the most intense involvement. If you were the weekend morning news guy in the early 1990s, as your editor was early in his career, it wasn’t at all uncommon to see Maurice or Ike around the station fixing aging equipment or working on the books. If the tower needed climbing or the remote van needed repair, it was often Maurice himself doing it – and when your editor finally visited the transmitter site, 15 years after working there, an 80-something Maurice was the tour guide then, too.
After outliving his brothers, Cohen finally sold the station in 2008, watching in the years that followed as the two co-owners battled in court and one prevailed. In more recent years, as WCAP moved out of its longtime studios and struggled with transmitter problems, Cohen had been struggling with illness himself. He was 100 when he died June 3 in Boston, though news of his death was only made public last week.
Funeral services were held on Friday for Cohen; for our part here at NERW, your editor takes a moment of personal privilege to say how fortunate he was to have started his career under owners like Maurice and Ike Cohen, who are few and far between in today’s corporate radio world.
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