Mark Curdo: Here’s How I Became CYY
As we celebrate 20 years on the air today as WCYY, all the guys are telling stories of their starts with the radio station. So, here's mine.
Being here today at CYY wouldn't have happened for me without the Facemelter, Shawn Jeffrey. I went to the same college as Shawn, Saint Joseph's College. When he graduated in the early 90's, I was just heading in there. We met around that time and have been cool ever since. We both worked crazy hours at the college radio station so there was a bond from that as you can imagine.
A few years later while Shawn helped start CYY, I was just getting out of school. A year or so later I moved to Jersey to work for a record company. All along the way I kept in touch with Shawn and the local scene. I saw CYY grow and explode even from a far away vantage point. This was before social media too folks. To get a sense for a station's success and popular demand from a few states away is saying something.
I moved back to New England in 2002 and continued some music industry work. Shawn was still on CYY now with like 7 years under his belt and doing great things with Spinout, which I always admired. That was the realest radio to me. I even brought bands I represented to CYY to have Shawn interview them on Spinout.
In mid 2004 I started to come into town (Portland) twice a week, to work on a compilation album I was making for my own record label at the time. The album, Beautiful Locals was all locals covering other locals in Portland. So I would spend a day in the studio with the bands, then usually have breakfast the next day with Shawn and tell him how it was going. In late summer, Shawn told me about a girl he met in Portland for the summer that he fell for. Unfortunately she was from... Alaska. A-friggin-laska! A month later he'd go out to visit her. We had breakfast again one morning in the late Fall and he told me, "I'm gonna do it, I'm moving to Alaska". He fell head over heels for this girl. When dealing with love, well... nothing else matters. You're defenseless and it's ok.
"Dude, thats so awesome", I said. Love rules! So you're done at CYY then I guess? Wait... dude, what the hells gonna happend to Spinout?"
Shawn instantly said to me, "You've gotta do it". Keep in mind I hadn't done radio in 10 years now. "Me?" Shawn confidently pressed on, "Yeah, you dude. You're the only one who can do this show. You've known the local scene since like 91, you've worked with bands, you know radio, you know music so well. It's gotta be you. I'll let them know. I'll go in and push for you with the higher ups... if you want it??"
I thought about Spinout and how true and real that show was and how good it was for music and new bands and local bands and I was like, yeah, I want to do that show!
In early February 2005 I had breakfast with Shawn in Nashua, NH. Outside a partially frozen window of a pretty good diner I could see his hard shell top jeep with small U-Haul trailer hitch. Both packed to the gills with all he owned at that time. When we finished our eggs and toast, he took off for an 11 day drive to Anchorage.
I would come back to Maine and start a pretty good run. On February 17th after a 10 year absence on radio, I turned on the mic for the first time on CYY. I hosted Spinout that night with local guests Animal Suite Drive By dropping an accidental F'n A-hole bomb in the second hour of my first show. Off to a nice start! A week later, I released the Beautiful Locals compilation on my record label, Labor Day Records which I continued to run whilst working at CYY. Yeah, that was a super nutty month.
The first song I played was, "Beautiful Local", from my favorite local album of all time by Gouds Thumb. Also, the inspiration for the title of my compilation. That night I signed off with something I still say to this day when I wrap up Spinout... "Goodnight Alaska". A tip of the hat to my pal Shawn for not only opening the door for me here and believing in me, but maybe most importantly for... leaving me his bathroom key and parking pass. Those were important over the years!!
This is Shawn and I on Tuesday July 28th 2015. WCYY'S 20th Anniversary.