1998 - Prequel
Based upon talks in an old Java-driven chatroom on Gary Larkin's Oldies Unlimited site, four people discussed starting a club that would draw doowop lovers from around the world to one central location.
Kewl Steve Stedman, Barbara Ann Yatsko, Bruce Woolf, & Frank Pellicone wanted a club that would enable doowop lovers to converse, relate, and share their memories & feelings about the music we all love.
1999 - The Beginning (KSDW)
Steve's Kewl Doo Wop Shop (a Yahoo Group/club) was founded by Barbara Ann "Circe" Yatsko & "Kewl Steve" Stedman, along with Bruce Woolf & Frank Pellicone on Sunday, July 25th 1999.
Doowop music fans began joining and it grew quickly, becoming Yahoo's premier Internet doo wop club. During the next six months, the club members who operate the club to this day all joined and lent a hand to provide support.
Bruce and Frank decided to open their own club "The Doo Wop Corner" geared more toward the hardcore fans and vinyl collectors.
2000 - Expansion
In August 2000, Jack "BigJack" (aka "furjack") suggested starting an Internet Radio Station. Soon after, testing began on KSDW (Kewl Steve's Doo Wop)
Internet Radio, followed by the station kickoff (part-time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday eves). Fridays featured Clarke Davis & Kewl Steve. Saturday night was Andy D., & Sunday was Woody. BigJack provided tech support and filled in if needed.
Several DJs have been with the Café station from the beginning months - BigJack, Woody, Terry G, Dr. Phil , (all original KSDW "Good Guys"), and Big Steve Cole, another KSDW "Good Guy" (Kewl fired him-we brought him back!) as well as Andy D., who Kewl also fired & brought back several times. Yes, the early days were a real rollercoaster ride!
Some of the club members met up in Long Island, NY in what was to be the first of many "real life" parties, formal and informal.
2001 - Rough Times & Big Changes
Paul from Florida provided us with the "Doowop.Net" web site in March 2001. In May 2001, a weekend party was held in New Jersey, in conjunction with a UGHA event. An informal party in Pittsburgh was held by a group of club members.
About the time Dr. Phil X became the newest KSDW "Good Guy", Kewl Steve quit the club, removed Steve's Kewl Doo Wop Shop from Yahoo, and shut down KSDW Radio. The station went "off the air" temporarily in early August 2001. With Kewl gone, Barbara Ann had to run the club alone...a task that she almost did not accept. But, with the moral support and assistance of long time members Woody, BigJack, Gino and Renée, our disc jockeys, and the demand of our club members, it was decided to rebuild, starting with a contest to decide on a new name. Can't call yourself Kewl Steves Doo Wop Shop with no Steve!
During August and into September 2001, various efforts took place to get the club reestablished, Woody founded "Our Doo Wop Club" as a "place holder" club while we voted on a new name. "Doowop Cafe" was the name chosen by the members. While we were voting for a new name, FurJack (BigJack) worked out a deal with Chief and the gang at Gold Radio (http://www.goldoldies.com) and we conducted our radio shows on Gold Radio for about two or three weeks during August and September 2001.
On Saturday, September 8th 2001, Gino "restarted" the Doo Wop Café on Yahoo Groups. By the end of the month, BigJack had the Doo Wop Café Internet Radio server/station set up and running. Also, all club functions moved to the new Yahoo Doowop Cafe Group and BigJack set up our permanent web site - http://www.doowopcafe.net aka http://www.doowopcaferadio.com - in order to have a place for a chat room, the station schedules, info about our DJs and club members, The Yahoo Group, the web site, and a radio station server remain in use to this day.
2002 & 2003 - More growth
The Club and Radio station continued to grow as we added more club members, more DJs, and more shows to the station schedule. Member Jukeboxes and "Circe's Mystery Song" contests were added to the website, along with articles about the music by Billy Vera and others. Our online stores carrying Doowop Cafe branded items, were created.
We needed someone to accept donations from members and keep track of the "books". Doug & Chris Vacchelli stepped up and have been our "finance ministers" since we started the Café club.
2004 - Modernization
Our original radio station, as KSDW and then the Doo Wop Café, was an old Real Audio server, with a "dialup" speed audio stream. In June 2004, BigJack coordinated a conversion to more more modern technology ... a new server setup using Winamp/Shoutcast. This required a major effort by Jack, Woody and others to train all the DJs with the new software and switch over to the new server. We added a "broadband" speed music stream and the DJs began broadcasting on both streams simultaneously.
Our Doowop Cafe party was held in Washington DC near the end of June and we filled the hotel for the weekend with friends, new and old. Lillian Leech of the Mellows and other performers, attended our Friday night party. Nate Thomas led our "Doowop Choir" ! The Doowop In DC event Saturday at Howard University was the icing on the cake !
2005 - Continued Growth
Another PARTY !! In June 2005, we got together in New Jersey for the weekend in conjunction with one of Ronnie I's VGHA shows. Friday night, the Doowop Cafe Radio station, with the assistance of Big Steve Cole, broadcast from our party at the hotel ballroom, and many of the attendees had a chance to say HI to the listeners out there ! A great time was had by all.
2006 - Loss and Reorganization
We at the Doo Wop Café may not have realized at that time but our beloved founder was fighting for her life. On May 17th 2006, Barbara Ann "Circe" Yatsko, after fighting the good fight, lost her battle with cancer.
The club moderators decided to keep the club open in her memory and as a resource for all of those out there who love vocal group harmony music.
We continued to grow ...
and grow ....
and grow ...
and .... that's right ....... grow ............
Informal luncheons and parties were held by club members who gathered in various places throughout the country, to meet each other and share their love for the music.
Regular luncheons in New York City are held during the summer months and attendance at them increases each time.
2011 - Present Day
Our DJ staff has grown over the years to its present size of over 40 people who dedicate their time to bringing us the music.
Many have helped in keeping the music alive through their work at this club. The current Moderators are David (Woody Woodster) Woodring, Renée (missdoowop) Bourdeau, Jack (BigJack) Mizzer and Gino (lugino) Alfano.
This great Internet club and Radio Station has survived and thrived, thanks to all of our moderators, the great volunteer DJs, our listeners and those who support us financially.
We couldn't do it without you.
A special thanks to Bruce Woolf and RetroRay, both of whom have gone 'above and beyond' over the years to support us in many ways.
We have lost many friends over the years. We'd like to remember the following, and hope we can meet them again someday, under the streetlight:
Barbara Ann, Dotty, Marsha Grant, Jim the DJ, Annie Silagy, Bill Hoff (dowop57), Carrie West, Jack Flynn, Ann Sullivan ( Richie's wife), Iris X.( Doc Phil's wife) Mickey Dabulis, Grandtime Rich, Billie Jean Norris, Johnny Mosca, Len Scher, Elkster, Jimbo, Jerry Skokandish (Tuneman), Jim McKissick (DooWopDaddy), Pam Powless (leadeast4evr), Cassie Roberts, and others.
A note: Due to the nature of the Internet, it's easy to lose touch with people. When someone "disappears", we sometimes don't know why, but we do know that we miss each and every one who has moved on, for whatever reason.
We would like to thank Chief and Chriss at our sister station, Gold Oldies, with whom we have shared DJs and support for many years.
Last, the Doowop Cafe has "spun off" a number of oldies and doowop Internet Radio Stations over the years, as DJs moved on to other interests or decided to branch out on their own. We continue to wish each and every one of them the best.
There can never be enough oldies and doowop music playing in the world.