Monday, May 31, 2010

The Beginning and the end

A few years ago we traveled to Pittsburgh and traveled up the clog incline to the top of Mount Washington to get a view of the city. The joining of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers to form the Ohio River was a beautiful cite. A park, fountain and other amenities made it a must see destination.

Travel 981 miles down the river and the story is quite different. No lovely fountain. No beautifully maintained park, although a nice park was once at the intersection.

The birds flying in the picture were birds scared up from a viewing platform. There were hundreds of them. How long they had been there is for someone who understands the habits of the birds better than me to explain. My guess is they have been there for a while.

The park where the rivers meet is largely neglected and poorly maintained, i maintained at all.

Granted, the park seemed to have flooded recently, as standing water and muck covered much of the peninsula that made up the park. But the neglect clearly has gone on since long before the waters swept over the land in the recent past.

Notice the weeds that have grown up in the playground area near the swings. A picnic area was in the same condition.

Cairo, Illinois. Where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi. Two of the most important rivers in the nation. Yet the view is much different.

Where Pittsburgh has transformed largely from a steel town to something entirely new, Cairo has been on a decline since the civil rights era of the 1960's.

It seems the races simply couldn't find a way to get along. And now the city has been on a several decade decline.

Large stretches of the city are largely in decay or abandoned.

An assistant at the Illinois Welcome Center noted that the city had at one time been considered as important as Chicago in the world of commerce.

No longer.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Your Little Buckeye Buddy

Along with Laverne down at the truck stop on Route 23 and Wirt* the WRFD Janitor, the Real Bob James in the Morning made mornings fun at WRFD for a little over a year.

Lot's of production, energy, fast talking, great jingles and Moooooosic, Bob created a winner at Mooooosic 88, WRFD.

The Real Bob is now Professor Bob at Middle Tennessee State in Murfeeboro, Tn.

I always wondered if Wirt was really Adam Stover brought back as a comedic artist.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Be Careful What You Portray Because It Can Come Back And Bite You

Probably one of the few newspaper articles that really impacted how I viewed things was printed on February 13, 1973. And a follow up piece just one week later.

It first was a puff piece on radio written by Sherry Woods of the Citizen Journal about WTVN radio. And when I say puff piece, I'm not suggesting it should have been written differently. There was simply nothing negative in the story. And for the most part, probably for good reason.

The headline read "WTVN radio has made its mark" with a sub headline of "A formula for success."

When I first read it, I beamed with pride as this was my favorite station. And I dreamed I would someday work on air there. With these hosts in place and be part of this team.

In a way, it was confirmation and justification of a seventeen year olds thought process.

Ms. Wood's story went on to tell about the success of the station and why it was at that time a ratings leader in Columbus.

One key to that success was the fact the station had a stable talent base, especially in key dayparts. These hosts knew their listeners and they knew Columbus.

Most had been on the station for many years. Two had been in there for longer than 10 years. Both Dave Logan and John Fraim had been with the station over 10 years. the same for news director Bill Patterson. Afternoon host Bob Conners was there just over 7, having joined in January, 1966. A solid bedrock situation.

Except all that was going to change and soon.

One week later, Sherry's column had the headline "Bob Conners joining WBNS Radio."

Readers learned that Bob Conners notified management at the end of his air shift the previous Saturday evening that he was leaving for cross dial rival WBNS and would begin hosting mornings on that station effective March 5th, 1973.

Two things happened with that second headline. The first and probably not so significant was I lost my favorite afternoon host to a station I seldom listened to, as the non daytime signal of WBNS simply couldn't be heard where I grew up.

But more importantly, it left me with the perception never to crow about your situation. In my mind, that article had WTVN bragging about the stability of their hosts which was a big factor in their success. In a weeks time, that bragging point withered away.

Radio is a constantly changeing business. Formats change and hosts come and go.

But since that time, I've always been gun shy about blowing my own horn as lifes situations change. And as that series of events demonstrated, something could and usually does change.