BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- In the early days, radio shows consisted of a microphone, live performers and no recorded audio, but over the years that has changed and today many stations are automated and offer digitized and pre-recorded shows.A Morgan County man who traces his announcing career to the early days has adapted to these technical changes but not the newer music. Jim McCoy is offering old style country music over the Internet.When McCoy introduces himself you can imagine him announcing into a studio microphone."Hello, my name is Jim McCoy,'' he says. "Well I'll be 83 years old in April. I been in music all of my life.''
McCoy grew up in Morgan County but spent most of his career working for radio stations in nearby Winchester, VA, starting in the 1940s."I was involved with Patsy Cline in the late '40s when she came to the radio station, WINC, and wanted to sing with my band,'' McCoy said. "And we knew from that day on that she would be something else, and to make a long story short, I stayed friends with her right up until she got killed in the plane crash.''McCoy's first radio job was in Hagerstown, Md., where at age 15 or 16 he sang on a show at WJEJ."And my dad back then, you know, we didn't have much money and he would take me over and Bud Messner had a show on at six o'clock in the morning and I went over, just me and the guitar and his band, and I played with him and that was my first appearance,'' McCoy said.According to the website Hillbilly-music.com, Messner's show ran on WJEJ for about five years.
"And then I went to Winchester in the late 40's and in those days they only had country music on Saturday morning and we had a live show,'' McCoy said. "I had a band, we called them the Melody Playboys, and we had a half hour show.''After spending more than 40 years as a radio disc jockey, musician and recording studio owner, McCoy retired. Twenty-five years ago he opened the Troubadour Restaurant, Lounge and Park near Berkeley Springs, and moved the recording studio there."I had a voice problem,'' he said. "I was a DJ all of my life and I got polyps on my throat from playing and singing and all that.''McCoy is once again in the radio business, but instead of broadcasting over the air to the surrounding area from a studio, he operates an Internet station that streams worldwide. McCoy's station offers listeners an alternative to modern country music."I don't like the new country; they ought to make a new category for that,'' he said. "It will never happen I guess.''"But the independent artists cannot get played and I told my buddy, I said we're going to put this station on the air. We're going to do old stuff; we're going to play the independent artists, and see what we can do,'' he added.
McCoy's station runs through a web site called live365.com in Seattle, Wash."And we download all of our playlists to them on MP3,'' McCoy said. "I might mention this, this is interesting, we've got 53,700 songs on an external hard drive and it took years to put that together and we still are going through everything and it takes a lot of time.''McCoy is not the announcer on his new station. A friend takes on that duty.Aside from traditional country singers like Patsy Cline, Ernest Tubb, Eddie Arnold and Jim Reeves, the station plays some music recorded by independent artists at McCoy's studio. In the future he hopes to go live from the Troubadour.