Sunday, July 5, 2009

I Know Jack

Anyone who has followed this blog knows of my interest in broadcast radio. When I first got my drivers license, I began to become more active in my interest. By active, I'm speaking of going and meeting local radio people at the stations that broadcast their programs.

One of those I met was John Phillips. John (Jack as he would later become known) was employed by WDLR, a Delaware, Ohio based radio station. But John was located in my home county seat at a remote studio located in Marysville.

Now compared to my dream station of WTVN, WDLR was something of, well shall we say a dump. As my son Brian would note in the late 1980's, it was the junky radio station. But by far, the Delaware main studio was the Taj Mahal compared to the remote Marysville location.

The Marysville studio was located in the former Isaly ice cream shop. Phillips worked there gathering news by calling the local police and fire departments, he read the weather and he would play music on a program called the Marysville Matinee. Every weekday afternoon, Phillips was spending the afternoon with the wives of Marysville according to a want ad placed daily in the local newspaper as the station sought to promote itself and build a listening audience.

The program today would not survive long, as Phillips only had one turntable and fed the Marysville feed back to Delaware where the transmitter was located via a regular telephone line. Literally, Phillips would unscrew the microphone portion of the telephone handset and alligator clip the the feed from the mixer to the phone. It sounded like music being played over a telephone. High fidelity? Old 78 RPM recordings of the Big Bands played over a Victrola often had better fidelity.

I met Phillips sometime in 1972 at the Marysville studio. Prior to the Isaly Shop the station had been located at several addresses. The former Isaly shop location was opened in January, 1971 with Gene Kirby at the helm. That location ended sometime in in late 1972 or early 1973 when Phillips was moved to Delaware to broadcast his show. Other than remotes at the Union County Fair or at an advertiser's location, WDLR no longer would maintain a remote studio in Maryvsille after Phillips was relocated to Delaware.

I began working at the station in May of 1973 and worked with Phillips until he left after the station was sold to another owner. Subsequently, he worked for WNCI, WBBY and WRFD using the name Jack Phillips. The last two stations were jobs that I was able to assist in getting him on the air as they were looking for help and he was available. At WBBY he even became the morning host for a period of time.

He left the business to pursue a career as a respiratory therapist.

Back to our time at WBBY we even shared an apartment. He was working the morning shift at the radio station while I was working evenings while holding a real job at Capital City Products and then spending my evenings at the WBBY studios in Sunbury.

For a period of time he dated Marcie Rogers the program director of the station. That relationship didn't last forever and Jack moved on to another relationship. He subsequently married the new person and moved to Florida. My last contact was a few years ago when he was living in Pennsylvania.

Yes for a period of time, I could indeed say I know Jack.

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