Illustrated Histories of 156 Am Stations in the Metropolitan Area, 1921-1996
Bill Jaker, Frank Sulek, and Peter Kanze May 1998 Mcfarland & Co Inc
ISBN #10: 0786403438
Storyteller Jean Shepherd developed a following with monologues that rambled on for hours. WOR's own publicity spoke of "reminiscences of his rural childhood_roots," disregarding the fact that Shep's hometown of Hammond, Ind. bears the same relation to Chicago that Yonkers does to New York City. If he ran low on words, the audience could be entertained by performances on the nose flute or even the amazingly resonant percussion created by Shep tapping on his head. Jean Shepherd's programs were bounced around the schedule from the 1950s through the 1970s, from Saturday afternoons to Sunday evenings, overnight, Saturday morning, and even a weekday-afternoon show called "Drive East."
His cult doggedly stayed by the radio as if dependent on an intimate relationship, causing Shep to repine years later, "I had five million listeners and each thought he was the only one." One evening, Shepherd asked his listeners to leave their radios and go to West Ninth Street between Fifth and Sixth in Greenwich Village - which happened to be where Shep lived - and mill around. Thousands of people responded, as did the New York Police Department when suddenly faced with reports of a mob in the streets. But the WOR listeners had been advised to merely "mill," keep quiet, and then go home. There was no disturbance. The cult and the legend grew. A staffer remarked of Jean Shepherd, "Nobody at WOR worked with him, instead they tried to work around him."