Last Wednesday, dozens of former WHFS DJs and other personnel gathered at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club to unveil the beloved radio station’s first bumper stickers and T-shirts in more than 30 years to promote Feast Your Ears: The Story of WHFS 102.3 FM, a documentary in progress by Jay Schlossberg.
Schlossberg announced that he plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign and a new website for the project this September. He has already spent nearly two years making the film.
Feast Your Ears will focus on the station’s heyday from 1969 to 1983, when it was a beacon of anarchic music and personality in a sea of bland corporate radio. The documentary features interviews with HFS staffers and period DC music luminaries like Nils Lofgren, Bill Danoff from the Starland Vocal Band, Mark Noone of the Slickee Boys, and 9:30 Club owner Seth Hurwitz. Marshall Crenshaw, Roger McGuinn from the Byrds, and Terry Adams from NRBQ are among others who will appear.
DJ Jonathan “Weasel” Gilbert, who was for many the signature voice of the station and is a consulting producer for the documentary, received the evening’s loudest cheers when he and other station fixtures were introduced before a performance by NRBQ. He was joined by a line of colleagues wrapped in thick applause including DJs Ty Ford, Thom Grooms, Josh Brooks, and Fred Sirkey.
“This is old home week,” said Adele Abrams, one of the station’s few female jocks in the early ’70s and into the ’80s. Today Abrams has a law firm in Beltsville, but the reunion took her back via “good flashbacks” to a time when DJs set their own playlists, changed songs on a whim, and generally did whatever the hell they wanted while on the air.
Some brought old HFS paraphernalia to compare against the new stuff, but Abrams may have retained the best souvenir of all: 4,500 LPs and 1,500 45s stored in her Takoma Park home. “Someone who wanted to steal my collection would need a strong back and a big truck,” she added.
After Schlossberg finished the introductions, Weasel jumped on stage to welcome the “WHFS house band.” NRBQ founder Adams saluted the HFS crew as his band kicked off its set. And for a night, the sound of the old WHFS was back in the air, if not on it.