North country veteran’s radio show delivers Vietnam-era music with contemporary message

Updated: Oct. 21, 2020 at 2:50 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s a great rock music fix along with news and advice for vets – all in one place. It’s “Cup of Joe Radio.”

At 4 in the afternoon on any Friday tell Alexa or Siri “Rochester Free Radio” and you’ll hear producer Mike Spotswood say something like this:

“Good afternoon everybody. You’re listening to ‘Cup of Joe Radio’ on WRFZ 106.3 out of Rochester.”

What follows is 2 hours of mostly music. Much of it’s from the Vietnam War era. Noted music author Doug Bradley puts the music together.

“That was a war that I think more than anything in some ways was defined by the music,” said Bradley.

That’s where Spotswood served. He left Norfolk at 17 for the U.S. Marines. He was with a Force Recon and flew into the jungle.

“Vietnam was a rock and roll war,” he said. “So it brings people back who have served. And some good times too. They remember their friends.”

But it’s about more than just the good times. It’s also about things like post-traumatic stress disorder, something Spotswood struggles with. The music helps.

“We believe, through music, there’s a healing process and we feel that veterans are being healed,” he said.

Spotswood and his wife, Irene, produce it in Tupper Lake. In between the Rolling Stones, Credence and others is news, commentary and advice – all tailored to vets.

“What’s happening with the VA. What’s happening with veterans. What are veterans doing now with COVID,” said Spotswood.

The guys putting the show together are mainly Vietnam-era veterans. But they’re reaching out to younger vets as well, especially those soldiers coming back from conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Anyone anywhere can listen to “Cup of Joe Radio” using the app. It airs from Rochester Free Radio at 4 p.m. Fridays. It also airs on Wreaths Across America Radio at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Fridays.

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