Rock and Roll Play Doh

Jules will play all genres of classic rock with a stretch. There may be a few special and features mixed throughout. Friday nights from 6-9pm from your community radio station WAPJ.  



Julie Norton has found her voice.

She has overcome her shyness to put on her first weekly radio show that displays her eclectic taste in music. Her show is called “Rock n’ Roll Play-Doh” and it airs on Friday nights from 6 to 9.

Julie, 54, credits the name of the show to her trainer, Barrie Soucy, the station’s former program director and founder of the Miscellaneous Morning Show, where he still appears on Wednesdays from 7 to 10 a.m.

“Barrie plays mostly rock n’ roll,” she said. “I like to play everything.”

Indeed, she does. Every week, she has a different theme. Recently, she had an instrumental theme. The week before it was a dance theme, where she played a lot of classic disco tunes.

Julie said she has always loved music and the notion of DJing had long been at the back of her mind. She said her older brother DJ’d in college and he exposed her to a lot of the bands that were big on college radio at that time, like R.E.M.

A Bristol native, she lived in Los Angeles for 20 years after graduating State University of New York in New Paltz. While she was out West, she said she was constantly praised for her voice. She even had a chance to do a voiceover for a character in a cartoon that a friend had submitted into a new animation contest. The friend did not win but it was worth the experience, she said. Voiceover work is something she’s contemplating.

“That was fun,” Julie said. “That was like my first big Hollywood break.”

She said she grew up in a family that appreciates good music and was almost always playing something. She and her other brother played in the band at St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol, her on clarinet, him on flute. She said she did try to pick up the saxophone and guitar but didn’t get too far.

Her family, though, is a bit famous in Bristol. The Nortons founded Lake Compounce in 1846, making it the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States, and her father, the late J. Harwood “Stretch” Norton, was the city’s mayor from 1969 to 1971 and a city councilor for several terms.

Back in the day, Lake Compounce hosted many of the biggest names in music, from big band legends like Count Bassie and Glen Miller to jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong to country western stars like Box Car Willie and Dick Curless. There was also a bit of rock, with Rick Derringer, Buster Poindexter and NRBQ. Julie believes her appreciation for different genres of music, at least in part, is due to this exposure to a wide variety of musical styles.

Julie returned to Bristol roughly 10 years ago and a few years later, she was involved in promoting the short-lived Bristol Beat radio station and podcast. It never panned out, and without a closer option, she got in touch with Barrie Soucy and his wife, Stacey, in Torrington about doing a music show at WAPJ. Her older brother went to school with Barrie and she went to school with Stacey in Bristol.

Barrie invited her as a guest on the Miscellaneous Morning Show to talk about Lake Compounce. Then she co-hosted with Barrie and Stacey on Friday nights for a few months until the COVID pandemic hit and from then on, she has been on her own. She said Barrie told her she was ready.

“I finally got the confidence and here I am,” she said. “But I was scared s—-less. I was like, ‘I’m gonna press the wrong button. I’m gonna do something wrong. I know it.’”

So far, Julie seems to be pressing all the right buttons as her fan base grows. She said she spends hours putting playlists together but still loves it when a listener requests a song she doesn’t know.

“It exposes me to new stuff and I like that,” she said.