WCOJ

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WCOJ
City Coatesville, Pennsylvania
Broadcast area Chester County, Pennsylvania
Frequency 1420 (kHz)
Format Catholic radio
Power 5,000 watts
Class B
Facility ID 63593
Owner Holy Spirit Radio Foundation
Website holyspiritradio.org

WCOJ is a 5,000 watt AM radio station licensed to Coatesville, Pennsylvania consisting of a four-tower array broadcasting on 1420 kHz.

WCOJ airs religious radio programming under the control of Philadelphia-based Holy Spirit Radio Foundation. The Holy Spirit Radio Foundation also owns WISP in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.[1]

Coverage area[edit]

WCOJ's transmitter is located just North of Coatesville in West Brandywine Township, Pennsylvania.

The coverage area includes almost all of Chester County, Pennsylvania excluding only the extreme Northeast portion of the county known as The Main Line and the extreme Southeast part of the county along the Pennsylvania-Maryland border. The station also reaches parts of Eastern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In addition to Coatesville and West Chester, communities served include Phoenixville, and Kennett Square.

Programming[edit]

WCOJ airs programming provided by The Holy Spirit Radio Foundation and mirrors the programming it provides on WISP, including satellite-fed audio programming from the Catholic-themed Eternal Word Television Network's radio feed, locally produced programs and specials, and local announcements on the hour. Holy Spirit Radio began simulcasting on WISP and WCOJ on October 7, 2008 with a live Mass broadcast from the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul marking the 5th Anniversary of Cardinal Justin Rigali's installation as Archbishop of Philadelphia.

History[edit]

Founded by Bill Halpern and Lou Seltzer, WCOJ began operating on November 29, 1949. It originally broadcast as a daytime only station at 1,000 watts. The radio station was a day-time only facility transmitting with 1,000 watts. The station increased its power to the 5,000 watts and began full-time operation in 1952.

Originally WCOJ's studios were located at the Palace Theater in downtown Coatesville, and later (in the early '50s) opened an auxiliary studio/business office above Woody Pontiac-Cadillac Inc at 809 E. Lincoln Highway. Over the years the station has also had studios at the transmitter site in West Brandywine Township, at 3721 East Lincoln Highway, Thorndale and at 17 West Gay Street, West Chester. The Seltzer and Halpern partnership which founded WCOJ also branched into cable television in late 1967, forming "Cable TV of Chester County". Over the next five years CATV of Chester County engineered and installed community CATV systems in Coatesville, Downingtown, and West Chester, and expanded into nearby municipalities as funds allowed.

WCOJ was perhaps best known for much of the time it has been in operation for the morning program hosted for over 40 years by station personality Art Douglas. By his retirement in 1995, Douglas had become a widely recognized figure in Chester County. In 1955, he came to Chester County and worked for WCOJ Radio in Coatesville. He was the "Voice of Chester County" for over 40 years. He became general manager but continued to do the morning show along with his sidekick, Jolly Joe Piscoglio, and Clifford E. DeBaptiste. He also, held the Phone Forum show in the afternoon. He retired in 1996 due to failing health.

When the first flake of snow hit the ground, Chester County's children listened for Art's trip to the famed "switchover room", the squeaking chair rolling along the floor, Art's humming/singing, and finally (after coming up to full power), the much anticipated "All schools in the county are closed" announcement...

Art was also known on WCOJ for the birthday announcements, high school sports, and little league baseball. He was dedicated to the West Chester University football program, where he enjoyed doing the play by play on the radio. During his time with West Chester University Football, he had missed fewer than 5 games, also covering Chester County's high school football and basketball games with the same consistency. He was also known for broadcasting and announcing the Immaculata Girls Basketball team "The Mighty Mac's" where they went to the Championship Game twice under the coaching of Cathy Rush. He was a member of the Golden Rams Booster Club, and received an honorary award from the Golden Rams and he also was a member of many other organizations throughout Chester County. He was formerly on the board of directors of Brian House.

Art "Douglas" Marple died July 31, 2005.

While never being replaced, Art's morning show was taken over by longtime WCOJ announcer Bill Gillan in 1995. Gillan started at the station in 1980 doing the 7 pm to Midnight show. Later he move to mid-days and into the morning shift after Douglas retired. Gillan remained at WCOJ until 2000. After departing WCOJ Gillan joined the QVC Shopping network in the studio tour group. He died after a short illiness on June 6, 2002.

In 1984, WCOJ (which had been co-owned with Coatesville's local cable television system) became part of Lensfest Communications, which operated cable systems throughout the region before itself becoming acquired by Comcast in 1997. At that time, WCOJ was "spun off" and sold to former WPHL station manager Lloyd B. Roach. In 2003, Roach and venture capital firm acquired a group of radio stations in central and Northeast Pennsylvania and Southern New York state to form Route 81 Radio. WCOJ was absorbed into the Route 81 station group.

Bought by Philadelphia-based Holy Spirit Radio Foundation October 2, 2008 they began broadcasting on October 7, 2008 with a live Mass broadcast from the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul marking the 5th Anniversary of Cardinal Justin Rigali's installation as Archbishop of Philadelphia.

WCOJ also was the Philadelphia Phillies Radio Network affiliate for Chester County until 2008. The last broadcast was September 28, 2008.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°01′21″N 75°48′53″W / 40.02250°N 75.81472°W / 40.02250; -75.81472