City radio disc jockey Johnny Dark


February 24, 2007|By Jacques Kelly

Disc jockey Johnny Dark is on the air five hours a day, seven days a week -- but don't try listening in the U.S. He is now on WorldSpace satellite radio and commutes to its Silver Spring studio three times a week from his Reisterstown home. At last count, he is heard in 132 countries around the globe.

"I get e-mails from Qatar and sunny South Africa," he said yesterday about his music and his program, The Hop, which features songs of the 1950s through the early 1970s.

"There are no commercials, and I find myself educating people about the oldies. We play a lot of doo-wop and B-sides and hits that were popular in England and France that might not have made it in the U.S."

Dark, who is 73 and was born in Cambridge, Mass., was heard evenings at Baltimore's WCAO-AM for many years. He was the master of ceremonies for the Beatles' September 1964 appearances at the old Civic Center, where he taped an interview -- and had dinner -- with George Harrison between the pop group's two shows.

When Dark speaks at high schools and colleges, he tells students, "Find what it is you love, and if you get paid for it, it's even better."

His take on a life spent in radio? "On the 30th of May, I will go into my 54th year in the business, and I've never worked a day in my life."

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