Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bill Smith Says Goodbye Columbus

WTVN radio has brought me the best of times and the worst of times.

The best of times for some of the great programming that I so wanted to be a part of growing up.

The worst of times in two instances. The first was when I was let go by the station after having only worked there a little over a year. And mostly through my own actions. (ok, so I wasn't grown up at the time.) The second was when they let Bill Smith slip through their fingers.

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I am a huge fan on Bill Smith. I remember listening to the station during the summer of 1974 and Smith wasn't on the air. Mid July and no Bill Smith. A day, then two and then a week went by and no Smith holding down the evening shift. I was needing a fix. And it wasn't coming.

On July 18th, I knew why.

David Drake of the old Citizen Journal wrote in his morning column that Bill and station management couldn't come to an agreement on salary. Bill had quit. Drake had noted that WTVN's ratings were at their highest in that time period with Bill at the helm.

But that was to be no more. That summer turned out to be one of the longest summers ever.

About a month later, Drake again in the CJ told central Ohio listeners that Smith had landed a part time gig at WBZ in Boston. A station even more of a legend that WTVN.

But it meant that I could only hear Bill when the sun went down in the winter months and you could hear the waning moments of his Sunday show or when he filled in for someone in a late shift. I remember more than once listening to him on the way home from a shift at WBBY as he was filling in for weekend overnighter Robin Young or some of the periodic Sunday shows during early sundown. It was almost as good as the old days.

Then things got worse. Well maybe not for Bill but for me. Bill began working for FM stations in the Boston market. No more sky wave hit skip from a 50kw flame thrower to bring great tunes and a master spinning them my way. For almost 35 years, no Bill Smith drifting through the night skies entertaining us.

In recent days I've been exchanging emails with Bill. He's shared some of how he began his broadcast career and other insights.

He's one of the best!

No comments: