Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg, the legendary Boston top 40 jock whose unique style made him one of the country’s most influential radio personalities of the 1950s and ‘60s, died Friday night at his home in Maine at the age of 93. Ginsburg took his nickname from a woo-woo whistle a fan gave him in the 1950s when he was a popular DJ with his “Night Train” show on top 40 powerhouse WMEX-AM, according to the Boston Globe.
But the whistle wasn’t the only sound effect the popular personality used during an era when top 40 dominated the airwaves and AM was king. He also employed bell, horns and a squeaking squeezable carrot.
“Mr. Ginsburg quickly became one of the most recognizable voices in New England, partly because his voice was far from the usual radio fare,” wrote Bryan Marquad in an obit published in the Globe on Saturday.
“In an age when all announcers sound like graduates of the same broadcasting school, Arnie’s voice has always been distinctive, a whine that even he mocked by referring to himself as ‘Achin’ Adenoids,’ or the ‘Velvet Voice’ – I’ve heard better, but never worse,” the Globe’s Jack Thomas wrote in a 1988 profile.
“No disc jockey of the ’50s and ’60s was more popular in Boston than Arnie ‘Woo Woo’ Ginsburg,” according to his bio, posted on the website of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall Of fame which inducted him in 2008. “Ginsburg was one of a kind: with his unique voice, self-deprecating personality, and a collection of bells, whistles, and sound effects, his “Night Train” show was not to be missed.”
Ginsburg, whose first love was radio engineering, started on WBOS. After coming off the air, he moved into station management and other functions at such Boston stations as WRKO, WXKS and WWEL.