WHOoPLA: The Greatest Rock Radio Stunt Ever
Much to the consternation of the critics, the death of freeform fm radio heralded the beginning of the biggest rock radio wave ever. The self enveloped, verbose dj’s of the past were finally muzzled and the wimpy and whiney 70’s “pranksters” music was culled out and replaced with only that which kicked ass. It was the early 80’s and the next generation had taken over with a vengeance.
In 1982, set against that backdrop, the Woodstock descended, legendary rock band The Who announced that they were about to embark on what would be called their “Farewell Tour.” As was the case for most mega bands of the period, The Who were going to pass over the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in favor of Chicago and Minneapolis. Milwaukee lacked a large enough venue and had long been considered a sister city to Chicago. Thus, the basic economics and mere proximity relegated the city to second class status.
In what has since come to be considered an urban legend, a true hearted DJ named Tim The Rock N Roll Animal decided he was not going to stand for it anymore. As he stepped out onto the 21st story ledge of his tiny independently owned rock radio station’s downtown penthouse, he vowed to stay out there in the cold Wisconsin fall elements until The Who would promise to add Milwaukee to it’s already planned and started American tour.
WHOoPLA: The Greatest Rock Radio Stunt Ever by V Scott Beddome is the true story of how that now mythical event came to be. It’s a true Milwaukee tale about a time and place so abstract in comparison to today it almost seems like fantasy. From the inner workings of rock radio wars to the “cocaine culture” to the burgeoning early 80’s new music scene, it all comes together in this FM meets Almost Famous meets Boogie Nights meets Blow non-fiction narrative.
Above cover photo by Hank Grebe. Thanks!