On November 11, 2008, the largest crowd ever gathered in the parking lot at the Museum of Work and Culture to honor Woonsocket veterans, but more especially those of the Korean War. Please excuse the sound difficulty
On October 28, 2006, the Woonsocket High School music department conducted their first ever "Musical Marathon", a 4 hour, on-air, live fundraising broadcast from the high school auditorium with the aim of raising thousands of dollars to buy new uniforms for the band and chorus. Enjoy the performances of this fine young artists.
Last November 11, 2006, WOON marked 60 years of continuous local radio service to the Blackstone Valley. The occassion was highlighted by a six-hour Memory Marathon, hosted by Tim MacNamara. Assisting Tim were Tom Irons and Dave Russell. We're going to break up the broadcast into six segments so we can list the guests that appeared on those portions, rather than subject you to one very long replay. As we edit segments, we'll add them to this archive page. Meantime, here's the first segment with guests, former mayor's, Kev Coleman, Jack Cummings, and Charley Baldelli. Jim Kane, former McCarthy's President, was also there, and former local businessman, Terry McKenna, called from Florida.
The second segment of the 60th Anniversary Memory Marathon features appearances by former Councilman and Milk Fund Chair, John Dionne, Mayor Susan Menard by phone, former Mayor Frank Lanctot, long-time Woonsocket Clothier, Phil Auger, former WOON Program Director and personality, Steve Bianchi, by phone, and former Woonsocket Chamber of Commerce Executive, Jim Bilyak, by phone from North Carolina.
In this third segment of WOON's 60th Anniversary Memory Marathon, you'll recapture memories with early staff announcer Mario DiNunzio; Liz Simmons, a lovely person who did news in the '80's, and then went on to much bigger things, called from Baltimore; Former Mayor Frank Lanctot had more comments on this segment, too. Joe Callahan, a former newsperson in the late '80's called in to reminisce, as did Aaron Frechette, who began his communications career here, then moved on to newspaper work. You'll also hear several listeners calling in with their memories.
The WOON 60th Anniversry saga continues here with former announcer, Vinnie Chiviatta, joining the group. Vinnie did a bulls-eye immitation of Rodney Dangerfield years ago which you'll hear on this segment. You'll also hear an except from our 40th Anniversay show that featured such wonderful friends as, Joe Solano, Muriel Beaudet, Norm Rock, and Ed Zarn, one of the first 'ON staff announcers. The sound quality is poor on that old tape, but it's still worth hearing. A whole bunch of other callers offer their memories, too.
We're up to five...and counting. By this time on the 60th Anniversary Show, most of the original guests had left, but many listeners continued to call and reminisce with Tim. Also, Tom Irons, long-time staff announcer recalled the fun of producing original on-air skits with Chief Engineer, Ron Deslaurier. About 30 minutes into this segment, don't miss a replay of a few commercials that ran for businesses no longer in operation, including McCarthy's.
And so it ends. Here's the final segment of the 60th Anniversary Memory Marathon from last Nov. 11th. You'll hear popular Autumnfest stalwart, Paul Jacob, and long-time 'ON weather man Arthur Cadoret, Jr. Also, calling from Denver was Alan Archer, with a great story of his chief memory of his tenure as an 'ON announcer. Then you'll hear an original skit created by Tim MacNamara, which highlights 'ON staff members of former years. Finally, everyone recalls the station's involvement during the great blizzard of '78. We hope these segments brought back many memories for you too. Thanks for being a part of 'ON's geat history.
Was there ever a "Grander" Woonsocket Lady than Vi Berard? Anyone who was priviledged enough to have known her and worked with her knows the significance of that question. One is simply lost for adjectives to adquately describe Vi's impact on those that most needed her tireless dedication. Vi rests now after giving of herself for a lifetime without asking for a single thing in return. Back in 1995, she was given the honor of being named Autumnfest Parade Grand Marshall. At the pre-Autumnfest reception, a number of speakers paid tribute to her work and WOON mikes were there. The briefest of all the speakers was Vi herself, typical for so humble a public servant. In succession, you'll hear then Mayor Frank Lanctot, followed by, Sen. Marc Cote, Rep. Roger Picard, Concressman Patrick Kennedy, Chamber Executive, John Gregory, Chris Stephens,of the No. R.I. Community Mental Health Center, Louise Bouley, Quota Club President, and Diane Picard, Parade Chair, then Vi Berard's brief acceptance.
The Woonsocket Hall of Fame roster contains some very impressive names. Now, however, the list has gained even more stature with the inclusion of Andrew P. Palmer, former publisher of The Woonsocket Call. Andy was duly honored on Thursday, December 7, 2006 at ceremonies at Woonsocket High School. One would be hard-pressed to find a person more deserving than Andy Palmer, Woonsocket's staunchest supporter. The ceremony is yours for the clicking. Our thanks to Darin Smith, camera operator, for his professional coverage.
Marcel Desroches, Dave Balfour and Dave Richards make the annual trip up to the "Big E", the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts and take you through the Rhode Island building. From September 19, 2006.
Meeting with seniors at the Woonsocket Senior Citizen's Center on September 25, 2006, answer questions about the ongoing impass between the hospital and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Rhode Island. (Video)
The Tim Gray World War Two documentary, "D-Day Plus 62" years was premiered with an appropriate speaking program at The Stadium Theatre on Sunday, May 28, 2006 and was broadcast live over O-N TV. Click here to see and hear that broadcast again.
Stadium Coffee Concert. The third and final one of the 2004-2005 season, on March 16th, 2005 with Charley Desaulniers, Louise Tetreault, Jack Cook, and starring the Stadium's Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. In broadband and stereo.
Landmark Medical Center is Greater Woonsocket's community hospital and has undergone great and numerous positive improvements over the past few years. They commissioned a video project which spotlights their movement into the future of healthcare and have given us permission to broadcast it. It's only 8 1/2 minutes long, but says a lot.
King Jace the 11th, (Tom Ward) the mysterious and merry monarch of the 2005 Woonsocket Mardi Gras, shares his 'home movies' and snap shots--in broadband. From his visit to the children's Mardi Gras in the afternoon, to his unmasking in the evening, King Jace sets the pace of having fun.
"Coffee Concert" at the Stadium Theatre November 10, 2004. Featuring Charles Desaulniers, Emily Luther, and Jack Cook at the Stadium's Wurlitzer Organ. This was the first in what is hoped to be an every-other-month series of daytime concerts of this type. Sorry, it is offered in broadband only. If you have a dial-up internet connection, this file will not play for you.
The second in the Stadium Coffee Concerts was performed on January 12th, 2005. Joining Jack Cook at the mighty Stadium Wurlitzer is opera soprano Marilyn Ross, and the very talented Gorgone brothers, Alex and Matthew.In broadband.
The Woonsocket United Veterans Council prepares for the dedication of the Korean War Veteran's Memorial by burying and sealing the time capsule containing messages and memorabilia from current living veterans as well as the names of the 26 area Korean War vets and the names, state by state, of all who made the Ultimate Sacrifice. The time capsule is an ammunition box which Commander Robert Ducharme has carried with him since his service in Korea, along with a mitten which served him in the same war.
A circus was held at Woonsocket Plaza in the early 90's. Dave Richards did his morning show from the site, including mentions of area people enjoying birthdays that day. On hand were a number of Woonsocket Rotarians who volunteered to sing their "special" version of Happy Birthday. Dave was apparently unaware that since the early '70's, Rotarians had created a deliberately off-key version that soon became their trademark at every Rotary meeting and whereever else they could find people brave enough to let them sing. Listen as Dave tries to have them all start together, which is not possible, and listen to his reaction at the end. It's priceless!
Here's another in the series of home-spun events that WOON has covered over the years. The primary purpose then and now is to highlight real people doing everyday, non-heroic, things that are meaningful in the overall make-up of a community. Listen as Dave Richards speaks with volunteers at the annual Burrillville Family Fun Fair in the mid 1990's.
Former Woonsocket Mayor, Charles Baldelli, was anything but a shrinking violet. The only thing flowery about Charlie was his speech and his clothes. During his tenure as a State Representative, he orated dramatically at times, but never more pointedly than when he publically chastised radio talk show host, Steve Kass. His tirade was captured here on tape for posterity. Mr. Kass probably feels that Charlie should have been captured long before this...
We enjoy capturing past local events for this site because they always involve numerous names and personalities that played major roles in The Blackstone Valley's history. Back in 1992, The Woonsocket JayCees honored Ann Sutherland Auclair, as its Citizen of the Year for her work with the Woonsocket Task Force Against Substance Abuse. Here are some edited comments from the lenghty program, first from Betty McCue, Ann's close friend and associate; then Ann's brother Bill speaks for her family, followed by Ann's remarks.
The "Good Ship" Blackstone Valley Explorer was launched with deserved fanfare downriver in Pawtucket. Here's an excerpt from that big event with a local band playing a most appropriate number, followed by WOON's Dave Balfour acting as purser reading off the list of notables on board. Then, Bob Billington, intrepid leader of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, always with a smile in his voice, exclaiming about "The Explorer" and its future.
Goodfellows Day for the Milk Fund started with the very first effort back in the early 1930's, and the tradition continues to this day. The Woonsocket Lion's Club has been the driving force among area service clubs and other anizations for many years now and defends its title with fierce determination each year. Here's an example from 1994 as WOON, after reporting from various area locations on Goodfellow's progress, set up at Lion's headquarters and sent out the good news.
WOON has covered every election, even when paper ballots were still being used. However, this one on 11-9-1994, featured a first. Local businessman, Roger Jalette, was running for City Council. He didn't have a huge campaign machine, nor a place for a possible victory celebration. He was right there beside our michrophones when the final, unofficial, count was sent to Dave Richards from the Board of Canvassers. Listen to his reaction and right after to the gracious comments of his opponent, Rosena Hunt.
You've heard Dave Richards of WWON down through the years, including numerous times on these archived events. You'll seldom hear tension in Dave's delivery, but the exception occurs during this report. Actually, he wasn't the only one feeling tense because this story developed just a few days after the Credit Union crises in 1991. You'll hear Dave speaking from the lower level of the then Marquette Credit Union building. He later confronts John Dionne, the former Marketing Director, who is heard off-mike mostly, but Dave's retorts paint a clear picture of what was happening.
Following the dark days of the credit union and banking crisis as the '90's dawned, depositors and others affected, yearned for a ray of sunshine and hope. It finally came when Citizen's Bank leased the former Marquette Credit Union Building and opened a first-floor branch. It was in that locale that the Sundlun administration OK'd the first payouts to anxious depositors whose funds had been frozen. The ceremonies that day drew hundreds of politicians, depositors and media to the site. WOON was there to capture Governor Sundlun's remarks followed by those of then Woonsocket Mayor, Frank Lanctot. Always the frustrated Broadway performer, His Honor, regaled the happy crowd with his unforgettable rendering of an old Gordon McCrae number from "Oklahoma". The date was June 27, 1992
One wouldn't try this on network radio, but it's the essence of local community radio when the WOON michrophones can capture the fun of an event such as the Pascoag Firefighter's Bathtub Regatta several years ago. Once again, Dave Richards ensures that local voices and names predominate.
On these archive features, we try to find items that have soul with local people extending themselves to assist others. Here's an example: The midwest was hit with a devastating flood during the 90's and Chepachet area residents organized an effort to collect materials and non-perishables and truck them out to victims. Dave Richards of WOON was there at Pinewood Park to capture the scene.
This qualifies as historical: You'll hear the venerable Senator Claiborne Pell and Senator Jack Reed when he was still a U.S. Representative. As you know, Senator Pell has not spoken publically for some time, so you may find this interesting. The event was the signing of an important agreement for fisheries restoration on the Blackstone River. The Emcee was Edward "Ted" Sanderson.
The date was December 21, 1992. The talented St. Joseph's Choir performed in its annual Christmas Concert. We don't have the names of the individual singers, but if you were part of the choir, or even if you weren't, you'll enjoy these two excerpts.
As if you don't hear enough commercials... But, here's a fun twist. Click and listen to about a half-dozen spots that were played on 'ON radio in the 70's and 80's. All of the businesses are no longer in existance. You'll hear some pretty clever stuff too, as old favorites such as Steve Bianchi and Dave Richards, demonstrate their skills using various voices.
Here's a fun bit of trivia: Who was Woonsocket Mardi Gras' King Jace in 1995? Well, don't drive yourself to distraction, listen to the following account of his unmasking on February 25, 1995, with Emcee Dave Richards of WOON, assisted by Queen Gloria Jean.
Another example of public access is featured here. Listen to one of 'ON's most avid listeners in its history. The late Bob (Uncle Sam) Pawlowski called every talk show and even sang when given the opportunity. Bob, on this occassion, renders "America The Beautiful", followed by The Fire Prevention Misses", A group of area Fire Chiefs, and The 'ON staff, circa 1980, with unforgettable versions of Happy Birthday.
If ever a radio station was "user-friendly", it was WWON and the change to WOON hasn't changed that philosophy. Station management has always thrown open it's microphones to listeners and groups wishing to perform. Here are two examples: Alice Adams, as faithful a listener as it was possible to be, first sings and is joined by Tm McNamara, then a group of happy people (unnamed) sing Happy Birthday replete with infectious laughter.
We'll take you back to 1982 when the largest 'ON staff in history recorded holiday greetings. It's obvious that among these greetings are voices of many friends and collegues that have since left us. We still miss them.
Wait! There's more from 1984 and 1986. Many of the voices you'll hear sending you greetings were personnel that were on staff for perhaps only a few weeks during their training or trial period, for example. Many moved on to entirely different careers, but their voices are captured here for posterity.
Roger Begin, Woonsocket native and former Rhode Island Lt. Governor and Chairman of the Rhode Island State Board of Elections joined the Coffee An' Panel on May 25, 2006. Also appearing on the show were State Representative Roger Picard and State Senator Marc Cote commenting on the imminent vote in the House to put a casino gambling ammendment to the state constitution on the November ballot.
"Issues At Large" was a pre-recorded, weekly, (Saturday) feature of the O-N News Department. This half-hour show from the mid 80's is one of the few which survive. The host is long-time afternoon newscaster, Glen Manseau.
High School Hockey, Mount St. Charles vs. Bishop Hendricken, January 20, 1984. This game is the one and only example of Dave Richards doing play-by-play hockey announcing. Dave was scheduled to engineer and be the "color" commentator and was not prepared to go it alone. But the sports announcer couldn't make it to the game and, well, the show must go on. You'll find that while the announcing was not up to our usual standards, it was a very good game.