MONTICELLO, NY- On Sunday, October 12, the longest running show in the Catskills, WVOS’ , “The Bop Shop” hosted by John Manzi, will celebrate its 31th anniversary. The four- hour radio show is heard on Sunday nights from 8pm until mid-night.
The unique program which features music—mostly vocal group harmony records-- from the late 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s is heard on WVOS radio with local frequencies at 95.9FM and 105.7FM in southeast New York , northeastern Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey. And it is now heard world-wide on the internet at wvosfm.com.
“We have a fun program and we play enjoyable songs from small labels that never really go much airplay and since we’ve been on the internet we’ve been getting calls from listeners in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Long Island and all over the East Coast; even from Alaska,” Manzi relates.
“We go back to the roots of rock n roll and rhythm n blues playing great songs from what is now known as the doo wop era. Sure we play chart records but mostly we feature vocal group harmony records but we also play some rock-a-billy and blues records, too.”
Currently with features like “the name game”, “name that tune”, “same thing only different”, battle of the (record’s) b-sides”, “rate a record” and “common denominator”, Manzi tries to keep his audience involved in the show.
From time to time he has live in-studio a cappella from vocal ensembles like Larry Chance and the Earls, Guy Villari & the Regents; The Shallows; the Cliftonaires; Mystique; the Creations, the Arrogants, the Excellents; Sentimental Journey; and BQE, to mention a few; and recently, Little Isadore and the Inquisitors .
Every Sunday Manzi is joined by his sidekick, Joe “Doo Wop” Greco who has been with him since the beginning of the show in early October 1983. Also an integral part of the program are Steve “the Eggman” Ristano and Cindy “G”.
Besides playing the music, they inform the listeners of the background of the songs; talk about the personnel and where they originated from, as well as where songs placed on the Billboard charts.
Manzi has always been a fancier of oldies music. His collection of 45RPM records exceeds 50,000 and his albums number more than 3000. He still plays records over the airwaves.
For the first 25 years the Bop Shop was heard on WSUL-98.3FM but six years ago Watermark Communications, which owns both WSUL and WVOS, switched the program to WVOS-FM when that station began an “oldies” format.
When Manzi took over the Sunday night oldies show at WSUL radio in October 1983 little did he fathom that 31 years later he’d still be at it.
“And the beautiful part of this music is that even though the records are 50 years old, and older, I’m always coming across vocal group harmony songs that I never heard before,” Manzi said. “It’s like listening to new music.”
“I really look forward to Sunday nights. I love the music and I love our audience.”