By Steve Sears
Al Cocchi saw the sadness during the COVID-19 pandemic. It loomed everywhere, especially a place he loves, the radio airwaves.
He had a solution: create his second radio station.
“I had this idea a year ago as the pandemic was getting really bad,” Cocchi explains. “I said with all the negativity on the radio, and the sad songs, we do need something more uplifting and positive. So why not create a radio station that people can listen to where there’s no negativity? No sad songs? Do it that way. And that’s what it is.”
Rock Party Radio went live over Labor Day weekend 2021. It took Cocchi, a veteran of over 40 years in radio, about a year to create the station and get all the songs logged in. “It’s something people can turn to in these troubled times,” Cocchi says.
Cocchi explains the Rock Party Radio 960-strong playlist, which features songs from the 1960s through the present. “The whole thing is, it’s a mix of everything. All good songs that people can listen to. And it varies from song to song.”
Cocchi studied radio at Seton Hall University, starting out in the mid-1970s with WSOU radio, the on-campus radio station. “The highest power radio station in college radio – 2000 watts! I said, ‘Okay, this is for me,’ and I introduced myself to people, got involved and helped out wherever I could, and got really interested in radio.” Upon graduation, he started at WAVP Cableradio in Bloomfield and also ran his own record shop in that same town for a few years while Video Spotlight, a cable television show which lasted 14 years and featured the best in music, especially heavy metal performers. “People want me to bring that back,” he says regarding Video Spotlight, “because I met Madonna, Paul McCartney, and other stars. It was fabulous. One week we actually did a broadcast live from the Meadowlands parking lot here in New Jersey, and then the Scorpions, the Heavy Metal rock band, they loved us. Anytime they were doing a new album or video, they said, ‘Let’s get on Video Spotlight to promote it. Those guys are awesome!’”
Cocchi also worked for Cousin Brucie’s WRAN radio station in Dover (“That was a blast,” he says), followed by Clear Channel Radio (which became iHeart Media) in 2004, but prior to that he created his first radio station. “My first station that I created was CyberStorm radio back in 2002, and it’s still running, and I just started this new radio station now. So, I’ve got two radio stations, and I’m also on about 10 other radio stations across the country with what we call these days, voice tracking.”
Rock Party Radio is developing a nice following. “So far we’ve got a bunch of listeners,” Cocchi says. “I’m working on some ways to promote it and get the app for it; that’s in progress right now. And you know, I think it’s doing pretty good so far. Sometimes these internet things take a while to build up the full audience. When I’m on the Arizona radio station, Country 99.5 FM, I have at least 300 listeners every day between the three-hour period that I’m on. It takes a while for people to catch on with these things.”