The following is adapted from original material and from articles in the Patriot-Ledger, Wikipedia, and the Website of the Music Museum of New England.
In 1968 Sam Kopper arrived back in Boston after graduating from Syracuse University, taking a sales job at WBCN. WBCN was a cultural icon in Boston for nearly two decades and is credited with both spurring the city’s student protest movement and helping launch the careers of bands like U2. “Selling [time on ‘BCN] was not hard,” he once told an interviewer. “[The station] was coming out of every window in Back Bay, so places like head shops and record stores totally got it.”
His job in Sales didn’t last long, however, as he quickly got a shot as a DJ one night in May, filling in for Joe Rogers (air name – Mississippi Harold Wilson). Sam’s timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Within days, ‘BCN began programming rock 24/7, and the station went on the hunt for jocks to fill out the expanded schedule. Sam was added to the first full-time lineup, doing mornings. For two years, he was also the first Program Director at the new WBCN, remaining at the station for a decade and supplementing his on-air talent as a broadcast engineer who helped facilitate many on-air concerts.
Sam has worked with just about every big name in the business at one time or another, including Aerosmith, The Cars, Bob Marley and The Wailers, The Police, U2, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, James Brown, and The Pretenders. He has also produced live-to-air music broadcasts in nearly every music genre (Rock, R&B, Blues, Reggae, Country, and even classical) for WBCN, WCOZ, WATD, WGBH, WERS, WUMB, WBRU, WBLM, WNEW-FM and scores of national network broadcasts.
Today, Sam is still the keeper of WBCN’s heritage after it went off the air in 2009, starting up the digital-only streaming HD radio channel: “WBCN – Free Form Rock.” Some of its broadcasting is live from the “Gypsy Dancer,” a converted school bus that spends most of its time parked in his Hingham driveway. One of its popular programs is “Live from Sculler’s,” which Sam and Fred Taylor have been producing for WGBH Radio for the last three years. Its first broadcast in the Fall 2015 series, in fact, will be later this afternoon, following the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame ceremony inducting – who else – Boston broadcasting icon and the owner/operator of the “Gypsy Dancer,” itself, Sam Kopper.