Remembering Roger McCall

Uncle Roger

Uncle Roger

 

Roger McCall was an original supporter of the growing alternative rock scene back in the early days of Scorgies.  

As the overnite DJ on WCMF, he had a special relationship with everyone working trick shifts at Kodak, or the other factories, or the 24hr Wegmans, etc.  In the early days after college, as I was job hunting, I did a lot of short term factory work, often on overnite shifts. No matter where I was working, his show was always playing in sync out of countless small radios, echoing all over the warehouse floor.

He started a show called Homegrown where he played local bands tapes or indie singles, had them come in for live interviews, and always talked up their shows.  This led to a series of Homegrown compilation albums where many of the local bands had their first (and sometimes only) recordings released.

He & Kevin Patrick started up a late nite show on ‘CMF called “Import/Export” where they played a lot of the UK singles Kevin was collecting as well as good stuff coming out here that the station normally wouldnt touch. National recording acts that passed thru to play Scorgies often stopped by ‘CMF after their show to talk with Roger. 

He wasn’t at a lot of Scorgies shows, because he was on the air at that time, but I can’t think of another local media personality that was as supportive.  He was never malicious, even in private he would never say anything negative about any local band.  I remember Paul & Peggi & I doing an impromptu little collaborative recording & performance project called the Three Stools. We recorded 3 or 4 songs in my bedroom. I knew Rogers tastes in music enough to know he wouldnt like this stuff at all.  I also knew him well enough to think that he would tell me that he didnt like it. There was a lot he could pick apart about it, but when I asked him what he thought all he would say was “I love the concept”. A true gentleman.

I moved to NYC & hadnt seen Roger for well over 10 yrs, when I ran into him unexpectedly at 6:30 AM one morning during a visit home.  I was leaving the East Ave Wegmans with coffee, as he was coming in, having just gotten off the air.  It was literally like we hadnt talked in a week, it was so great to see him.

Roger was murdered near Bulls-head a few years ago. Killed on the street at nite, in a crime that was never solved. Maybe others can shed some light, but to me it seems like there wasnt much effort to solve it.  I never heard much about WCMF leading the charge or putting pressure on the city to go the extra mile in finding the killer. He definitely deserved more.

One thing I know for sure, there isnt a band in Rochester, then or now, whose path isn’t somehow easier because of Roger McCall and his support for local music.

Duane

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  1. Simon Ribas’s avatar

    Very nice piece on Roger. It really is hard to put into words just how much Roger did for the music scene, and the way he did it. He would interview bands, and regardless of the style of music, he still treated everyone fairly, with respect, and with a great sense of humor. I remember going up to see him nights when he was at Leighton Ave, and just yak it up with him, or call him on the phone and request songs after the bars closed, and he was always the same. I don’t think I ever heard a nasty word out of his mouth, he was just a great, great human being. I really do miss him.

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  2. Stan the Man’s avatar

    I remember hanging out with him at his apartment; it was off Monroe Ave, around the corner from Arby’s. A super friendly guy! The fact that there has been NO progress on catching his murderer is crime in itself!

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  3. Jason L. Brown’s avatar

    Roger’s generosity is signified in my memory by his playing Santa at the Uncle Sam Christmas shows. I didn’t know him well but to the extent that I did every testimonial I’ve read and heard from those closer to him rings true.

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  4. Michael Baldwin’s avatar

    Though I was never in a band, Roger was a true friend to me. I videotaped Rog for a high school project in ’79, and up until the time I left Rochester in ’91, I would stop by the studios after work (or after the bars had closed) just to hang out. He called me Mike Video. Like Duanne said, there were long periods of time that I wouldn’t see him, but when I did, we’d just pick up where we left off.

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  5. heidi’s avatar

    Rog was my mentor. He taught me what it took to be musically creative on the air back at the Leighton Ave studio … he truly understood the language of music

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  6. Drew Bellavia’s avatar

    Played with Rog in 3rd Rail in the 80′s. A great friend, music supporter and musician. Still miss him lots.

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  7. Daniel DiVita’s avatar

    I was interviewed by Roger in preparation for a music festival in Rochester back in 94 or 95. I had no idea. what a great person he was!

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  8. Christopher R. Amann’s avatar

    As a lifelong alternative music fan, I owe a big debt to Uncle Rog for Import/Export. He helped form the soundtrack to my life. I wish I’d had the chance to tell him. Back in High School, I’d keep my radio down low so Dad would not hear it, and stay up late listening.
    Back in the early 80s, on break from cleaning Doctor’s offices at Genesee Hospital, my friend Mark and I were at the nearby 7-11. Rog came up to us and offered us concert tickets. Since we were working, we could not accept. But I remember walking away thinking how cool that was; and how Uncle Roger was just an outright good guy.
    Salute, Roger McCall. And Thank You. You are missed.

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  9. Rob Cullivan’s avatar

    I initially met Rog when he and I and Joff Wilson along with Bam Bam McCarthy briefly hosted an open mic at Rumors in the late 1980s. Only a few weeks later I was hired at WCMF where I worked as a tele-surveyer for one year, and got to know him very well. We stayed friends up until his death, and a highlight of my musical life was when he interviewed my band, The Urban Squirrels, on Homegrown right before our record release party in 1992. I can’t count all the nights I hung out in that deejay booth talking with Rog about music, life, religion, politics, women, war, you name it, we rapped about it. On a few occasions when he was playing bass in The Fugitives, our bands would do shows together, so I have those memories as well. What I most remember was he was so easy to talk to and never turned me out of his booth, even when I was clearly plastered at 3 in the morning and probably getting on his nerves! I don’t know why I thought of him tonite, but thanks for having this page here, it’s nice to share those memories. RIP Rog, hope to see you on the other side!

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  10. Raymond Guasp’s avatar

    I met Roger in 1968 when we were enrolled in Rothman Job Corps in New Bedford Mass. after wich we both went to parks Job Corps Center in Pleasanton,Calf. i left to go home and we lost touch, the last i heard from him he said he had finished his course, and had goten a job @WKGO ( Channel 5) in San Francisco, i believe he said as a film editor i got that letter when i returned from Viet Nam. have been trying to get in touch ever since, well i want you thank all of you who posted your comments to help me fill the gap to all of you who got to know him & got to spend time with him my deepest condolences. i can still see his facial expressions,and not likly to ever forget my dearest friend during those difficult times R.I.P. WEESUL! love you still !!

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