Donnie Simpson has only appeared in this blog once, and I blame not keeping notepads in my car. Following Simpson’s WPGC exit, let’s talk.
Simpson was my favorite DJ, and I was sad to hear him go this week. Elliot, Jack Diamond, sorry. Simpson felt like D.C. every morning, ready for lunch at Ben’s and dinner at an embassy. KYS competitor Russ Parr made his national broadcast feel like our neighborhoods. But Simpson, turning down syndication offers to stay local, made our neighborhoods feel national. Parr’s approach was smart and respectful — he phoned into Simpson’s final show — but Simpson had the harder path. Here in the capital, we all testified regularly to losing track of our city’s scope. Simpson’s success beyond entertaining was keeping our perspective.
And for sure, he entertained.
I blogged about him when he played Stairway to Heaven in its entirety — undoubtedly a D.C. urban-format first — panicked all of WPGC, then laughed and laughed and talked more lovingly of the song than any classic-rock jock I’ve ever heard. Even more in my iTunes wheelhouse, he played John Legend like no one else on the city’s air. He went all-out for charity, aired novelty Redskins songs, got rich without getting mean, gave Tony Perkins his start, and went out in style yesterday.