Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yeh Boy!

What could have been the biggest train wreck in radio pairings became one of the greatest. Jack Evans and Dick Zipf. To their thousands of fans, they were simply Jack and Dick.

Jack and Dick were paired together for a variety of reasons and probably not all of them good. WBNS radio was undergoing a lot of change, and Jack and Dick ended up being paired together. By choice? Maybe only they knew.

Jack was a smooth voiced urbane jock. Dick was the baritoned voiced country boy. Dick was doing farm reports on the station, much as his father had done for many years previously. Jack was already a jock at the station having arrived in 1972 from Buffalo New York when along with Dave Hammond who was returning to Columbus to program WBNS.

How this odd couple pulled it off was amazing.

Jack and Dick became the talk of the town. Dick's famous Yeah Boy after making declarative statements became part of the vocabulary in Columbus and eventually turned out to be a huge billboard campaign for the station. Jack kept the board tight and the show on track. It was great fun.

They immortalized the small town of Obetz on the fringes of the Columbus outerbelt with the fictional Obetz Arms. I know at least one year where a calendar was printed featuring the "hotel" that featured an old run down building. I believe the calendar s proceeds went to charity.

They would often play a piece from a comedy album. Often the cut was from a Bickersons recording, the famous radio arguing couple team of Don Ameche and Frances Langford. Evans would always open with it being a cut of John and Blanche Gordon during a recording made in their home. Gordon was the play by play announcer for the local ball club, the Columbus Clippers.

Dick was killed in an auto accident in 1998. He never left the Columbus area. Jack moved on in the early 80's and for many years was in parts unknown. I recently learned he does weekends at a country formatted station under the name of JR Evans in Florida.

I never had the pleasure of meeting either man. Still, they left a favorable impression and made mornings fun.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Another Passing

Over the past few weeks, Columbus radio has lost two key folks.

Wes Hopkins, who held the morning slot at the old New WCOL passed away a few weekends ago in Florida. In Columbus, WCOL was the top 40 station of record and despite its low power commanded a significant portion of the audience. Wes was a key part of that audience building for over a decade. Wes had worked in several markets before coming to Columbus including many in NE Ohio.

Wes retired to Florida many years ago and passed away after a fall outside a hospital.

Scott Kahler, former production director at WTVN recently passed away at his home.

I first knew of Scott when he was working mid-days at WBNS AM when they were doing what was then known as Saddle Shoe Radio. He later left and went to Buffalo for a few years only to return to Columbus in 1977 to help launch Q-FM-96 as the morning man. During a short weekend stint at WTVN myself, I remeber Scott and other staffers preparing for that Valentine's day launch sitting around sorting and labeling albums and getting them ready for play the first day. Columbus radio listeners were in for a shock as FM 96 changed from an elevator music format to album oriented rock at 12 noon. Q-FM-96 was only a studio window away from the WTVN studio. It was fun watching the launch of that new station. The new station was full of new jocks that had come from a different format genre than I had come from. If I recall, the first line up was Scott, Bill Dancer, Tom Tueber, Frank Baum and I forget the name of the overnight guy. Dancer's wife Jo did some weekend work.

I never knew Scott well and my association with the Q's sister station WTVN ended about a year later. I do remember Scott as being a pro. Very even keeled and a production room whiz. I never understood the magic he did with an equalizer, a tape block and audio tape. I can only imagine his magic in todays world of audio files.

One of my radio heros, Bill Smith, once told me that the best radio man in Columbus was Scott Kahler. Smith was holding the fort in the evenings at WTVN while Kahler was doing his midday magic at WBNS. I always remembered that everytime I heard Scott's voice doing a commercial or positioning statement for WTVN.

For those hosts who worked closely with these two very classy acts and to the family members who may happen upon this blog, may you find peace in spite of the loss of these two great men. Columbus radio was never the same after their voices left the airwaves. Now that loss is permanent.