By Spencer Seymour
For Doug Cooper, airing Sunday Morning Memories on St. Marys Radio has brought his almost five decades-long broadcasting career full circle.
Originally from St. Marys, Cooper’s name may be familiar to you for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, he was born and raised here and his first job in broadcasting was with a local cable television channel. Maybe the name rings a bell from his years working to help people with disabilities gain more fair treatment and recognition as a member of the People First of Tillsonburg, Community Living Tillsonburg, or Special Olympics Ontario. Or, you might remember the name from his 48 years in the radio and television industry. Whatever the case may be, it’s safe to say that Cooper has left an indelible mark on the communities he’s lived in.
Out of those 48 years in broadcasting, 32 of them came as Program and Operations Director at Tillsonburg’s Country 107.3 and Easy 101.3 radio stations, where he also was the host of Sunday Morning Memories. As Cooper has described it, the two-hour program is meant to make the listener feel as if they were cruising down an open road with the windows rolled down and the radio turned up, as it explores hit music from yesteryear every week.
Many years ago, before Cooper began hosting the show, Sunday Morning Memories was started by Fred Woodley, an avid record collector who had to rent apartments just to store all his records. Years later, after Woodley sadly passed away, Cooper volunteered to host until a permanent replacement was found. Cooper, nor the stations, would ever look back, as he would host it until his retirement from terrestrial radio.
However, Cooper found himself missing the show after his retirement. Feeling it had more to give, he began producing the show in his free time and trying to broadcast it online. So, when St. Marys Radio put an ad in the Independent late last year seeking new content, it was a perfect fit, and a full-circle moment to bring his long-running show to the place his life and career got started.
Oh, and you can’t mention Doug Cooper without the Tillsonburg Citizen of the Year award, which he won in 2020. This was as a result of his extensive work with people with disabilities. This has become a passion of Cooper’s just as much as broadcasting, with Cooper telling the Independent, “Working with people with developmental disabilities has taught me a great deal. We need to care more for each other regardless of our abilities. People that are labeled with developmental disabilities are harder-working people than the average person on the street and are all valuable contributors to society.”
After a long and prosperous career, Cooper now enjoys his semi-retirement, as his passion for helping those with disabilities, and his love for the broadcasting field, continue to occupy his time. If you’ve listened to Country 107.3 or Easy 101.3 over the years there’s a good chance you have listened to Doug Cooper. Now, you can listen to him once again on St. Marys’ own community internet radio station. Join Doug Cooper for Sunday Morning Memories, Sundays at 8:00 a.m. at stmarysradio.com.
By Spencer Seymour