Friday, October 5, 2007

With Studios Downtown in The Buckeye Federal Building

Growing up, one of the icons of my youth was WTVN 610 radio. I've mentioned this in previous notes.

WTVN was located on the 16th floor of the Buckeye Federal building in downtown Columbus, Ohio. As a teen in the late 60's and early 70's, I would frequently drive to the "big city" and hop the elevator to ride up to the studios for a tour. To me, it was fascinating to watch Dave Logan, Bob Conners and Bill Smith at work spinning records (yes they did that then), voicing commercials and other associated DJ work. Each and everyone of these gentlemen were heros to me.

The title of this piece refers to a bottom of the hour trade id voiced by one time program director Jim Lohse. His soothing baritone voice would do the 9 second voicer...."This is the friendly giant, WTVN Radio, studios downtown in the Buckeye Federal Building, 42 East Gay Street, Columbus, Ohio". And the ABC Entertainment network news sounder would begin to roll with the latest national news.

I was out for a walk downtown the other day and walked by the Buckeye Building. Buckeye Federal as a savings and loan long ago folded during the savings and loan crisis and scandals in the 80's and 90's. And while the building housed the S&L, it was also a general office building, housing law firms and other business entities. I noticed the building was getting a makeover. From what window vantage points I could see, it appeared it was a total internal renovation.

The walk brought back some great and not so great memories. That childhood dream of working at WTVN did become a reality for about 2 years. I was fortunate enough to work there. Yet once there, I was unhappy. Part of it was that I was young and naive. I didn't understand the realities of what was expected of me. The other
was I was in reality nothing more than a step and fetch it. The announcer part of it was nothing more than finding someone halfway decent to host the overnight show. But that's all you were. Someone to plug and play in the host chair.

While never articulated, it was an expectation that the undesireable tasks of the hosts were your responsibility. Production left undone. You finished it. Remote that didn't pay a talent fee. My responsibility. Other misc unpaid work. It was mine to do.

When I started to push back, things began to fall apart. Suddenly, I wasn't willing to "grow" with the company. Pay raises were something not mentioned. In fact, they were taboo.

In the end, I was let go. I was crushed. My dreams of a radio career, while not totally snuffed out, in reality it died. Like a fresh corpse, my career would jerk and lurch toward opportunites. But in reality, they were DOA.

WTVN left the Buckeye Building sometime in the 80's and relocated on Dublin Road. Due to radios ongoing consolidation, they outgrew that facility and have since relocated to a building on 5th Avenue overlooking an old quarry.

The Buckeye Building will be enjoying a makeover. In many ways I have been enjoying one too.


Anonymous said...

Lohse was Lousy!!!

Robert McGee said...

I was there as an announcer on WTVN-FM in the mid 70's. Dave Parr was my Program Director. The people were fun to work with however the company at the time, Taft Broadcasting, was a typical stodgy and conservative company. That was very typical in those days.