|Jim Connors - aka "JC"|
JC in studio 1972
May 7, 1940|
Pawtucket, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Died||February 24, 1987
I-95, Virginia, U.S.
Jim Connors earned thirteen Gold records for discovering artists during his career including Harry Chapin and his hit song "Taxi". Chapin later went on to write "W*O*L*D," a song inspired by Connors' life. This song was based on a phone call Harry overheard while in studio with JC at WMEX-Boston. The men began discussing what life as a "jock" is like, which was 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 for "Power of Love," and Mouth & MacNeal for "How Do You Do," along with many others, for exposing the songs to the mainstream audience.
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 wrote and distributed to fellow radio programmers making recommendations on airplay for new artists, 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.
Career and 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. There, 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 time served. 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, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
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 midday host for WJET and was rated #1 in the market ahead of the morning drive team. It wasn't long before JC was promoted to the AM drive shift. While in Erie, JC met his first wife and had two children, although his marriage eventually failed.
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. He earned thirteen Gold Records during his tenure for discovering artists and promoting their music. 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 humor, 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 gold record JC was most proud of: Chuck Berry's "My Ding-a-ling." Discovering and pushing this song in the United States was dear to JC becauseChuck Berry was a childhood icon of his.
After having great success in Boston, and becoming nationally renowned by many record executives for his programming and promotional abilities, JC moved 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, and his program was nationally rated #5 by Arbitron, which was quite a substantial feat, considering Buffalo was ranked only 26th in the nation at that time. JC had great success in Western New York, and on WYSL he frequently featured many of the well-known performers with whom he had connections. While in Buffalo, JC met his second 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.
After the passing of his father, JC wanted 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 on-air radio production & copy writing. While at WBSM his second marriage fell apart. He moved on to another market and started 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 northeastern United States soon came to an end, as he packed up and headed for another new beginning, on the Gulf Coast of Florida. While living in the Bay Area of Tampa, Florida JC frequently recorded commercials and appeared in numerous local spots.
His time in Florida was brief. On February 24, 1987, on a trip returning to Rhode Island, JC was killed in a car crash on I-95 in Greensville County, Virginia. At the time of his death, JC was survived by four children.
Notes and references
- Radio Broadcasting History "Radio Broadcasting History" "Jim Connors", Radio Broadcasting History - 440 Satisfaction, 2008-04-27. Retrieved on 2008-04-27.
- Connors, Jim (2008-04-27). "Jim Connors". Jim Connors. 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."