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(A.K.A. “The Seagull,” “Steven Clean.”)
Charles Laquidara once commented, “Steven was the most brilliant disc jockey that ever existed – made Howard Stern pale.” In June 1968, when WBCN needed more talent to complete its first lineup of DJ’s, the station imported west coast underground radio veteran Steve Segal, who had been working for the legendary Tom Donahue at KPPC-FM in Los Angeles. Since every jock at WBCN had been encouraged to play their own choice of musical selections, Segal’s taste and greater experience would serve as a beacon for the others to follow.
On the air, Steven Segal became ‘The Seagull,’ commenting, “I guess [the name] had something to do with me coming in from California.” Don Law, busy running the Boston Tea Party, became the DJ’s first Boston roommate: “He moved in with me on Beacon Hill and we were the odd couple. He was a really sweet guy, but he had a very tough time keeping it together. He was as disorganized as an adolescent, but he was brilliant.”
“There’s no question as I look back, but I was quite insane,” Segal added. “I was clearly bi-polar.” Despite Segal’s instant success as a DJ, it became apparent that he might not be the best choice to lead the air staff, so Sam Kopper assumed that role, as he related: “It‘s been said that I was the first Program Director, but that‘s not totally accurate. When Steven arrived, he was the P.D. and, like, the ‘John Lennon’ of our station. I basically exercised and made real his visions.”
“The Seagull” returned to the west coast in 1970, but soon became disillusioned with the radio industry. However, when Maxanne decided to leave WBCN in 1977, Segal returned to fill her afternoon drive slot, calling himself “Stephen Clean.” For a year the DJ spread more free-form merriment and mischief before departing 104.1 for the final time.
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(by Carter Alan)
Carter Alan is a former WBCN DJ now heard on WZLX-FM in Boston. He is the author of Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN (University Press of New England, 2013), available at http://www.upne.com/1555537296.html as well as from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.