Sunday, February 21, 2010

So Long JM in the AM

I received a phone call yesterday from my friend Mark telling me that long ago former morning host at WRFD Johnny Martin had passed away. Said he saw it in an article in the Dispatch. Johnny was 87.

JM in the AM as the show was called was a blend of standards, instrumentals, big band classics, farm market reports and Johnny Martin weaving it all together to make mornings a little better. And as the ad from the old Columbus Citizen indicates, he did some midday country music too.

Johnny sat behind the WRFD morning microphone from 1957 until about 1970. My recollections are he left the station when it dropped its standards format to become Ohio's County Giant.

After a brief stint running a bank, Johnny returned to the Columbus area to work for the Ohio Farm Bureau.

Although I'm unsure what his specific duties were, Johnny would do analysis and commentary during and as a part of WRFD's midday farm hour from the OFB's offices.

Johnny was a big band music fan and I had the opportunity to chat with him a couple of times when he called me on the air at WOSU when I was hosting Big Band Saturday and Moonlight Swing.

During our conversation I asked if the Dispatch had done an article or if it was just an obit. Mark replied that it was an article, but that so much of what Johnny was involved in was left out. But as we chatted, we both realized that it had been 40 years since Johnny was waking up Columbus and central Ohio. Many of the people who were JM in the AM fans likely are no longer with us either.

Johnny is probably now sitting behind an old Western Electric mixing board with an old Altec bird cage microphone on a boom with a couple of washing machine sized turntables playing Glenn Miller's "In The Mood" for thousands of angels.

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