Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's sort of funny. When I first set out working on trying to piece together some of the radio memories from my youth and early career, my focus was entirely on about a dozen people or events.

I changed that about 4 or 5 months ago to try to catalog all the names, stations, faces and places concerning radio and radio personalities. The data bases that I am aware of don't list the comings and goings of people I listened to or in some cases worked with. So I decided to create one myself.

I started at 1970 and am currently up to September, 1977. I will go until the CJ folded and the internet has a search-able way to find the info on the internet. Once I have all that, I'll go back and do the 60's.

So what have I learned?

1) Until 1976 or 77 the Dispatch did very little coverage. Cynthia Robbins would write an article or two periodically in the early mid 70's, but it wasn't until Bud Wilkenson was hired that they wrote on a mostly daily basis.

2) The Citizen Journal did a pretty good job for some stations, but didn't always capture all the information. Examples? Jim Lohse becoming program director of WTVN in 1968, Keith Curtis replacing and then leaving about a year later Lohse on the air and Dave Parr replacing Curtis. While I have that information from memory and other sources, the paper didn't mark those events. Or WCOL, WVKO and WMNI didn't get much coverage, while WTVN, WBNS and WRFD did.

3) There was no article when WNCI dropped "The Young Sound" for progressive rock. I'm guessing it happened about the same time that WRFD went country, which was the first of the year in 1970, but can't find a sure change date. WNCI was a pioneer in this area for that kind of change.

4) Radio station WBBY had a decent amount of coverage when they first came on the air, but sort of fell off the cliff after that. A lot of memorable personalities came and went from that station and nothing was noted. For example, Scott Stevens, Rick Seiler, Jay Wayne, Bob Smith and Chris Ward. Joe Gallagher was never mentioned. Diane Townsley got some early mentions, but nothing ever mentioned when she left or where she went.

5) My interest was higher in the late 60's and early 70's time frame. That was more of my coming of age days. As I work in the later 70's, it just doesn't seem as interesting. I'll have to think about why.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Power of Advertising

The little block advertisement to the left supplied wagging tongues in Columbus with a lot to chatter about as well as had many Capital City announcers wondering if they were on the chopping block.

The ad appeared in Billboard Magazine on September 13, 1975.

DJ chatter about the ad gave Citizen Journal Radio-TV editor David Drake enough ammo to write a column a week or so later about the ad with denials from all area program directors that they had placed it.

I'm not sure if anyone ever owned up to the advertisement. As my review of the comings and goings or radio hosts continues, maybe I'll find the article that links the ad to the smoking gun radio station.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

John & Bill

One of the more popular morning shows in the late 60's and through the late 70's was anchored by radio host John Fraim with news provided by Bill Patterson. Photos from a 1974 newspaper advertisement campaign.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Beginning of the Best Buckeye Coverage

Starting with the 1973 football season, Ohio State contractually had just one station to anchor statewide coverage of home games. The prior year, at least 6 local stations described the grid iron coverage to listeners.

WTVN won the rights to the games. It was the first time in many years that WTVN had carried the games.

Tom Hamlin and Dale Conquest were selected to provide play by play and color coverage. Neither had worked together prior to the announced pairing, yet they had seen and heard examples of each others work.

They promised lively coverage that wouldn't be cluttered by X's and O's.

Conquest however drew a kiss of death. In addition to his Buckeye football coverage, he was also settling in to be sports director for sister station WTVN-TV. He didn't stay long. The next year he was replaced by Marv Homan, the Sports Information Director at OSU, on the radio broadcasts. Homan and Harman would broadcast the 1974 and 1975 season for WTVN and the Ohio State Radio Network. In 1976, announcer change would happen again with neither Homan or Harmon in the booth for WTVN.
But my favorite radio station had the rights.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

OSU Football

Tomorrow night, Ohio State opens it's 2010 season against Marshall. The game will now be carried on television and one AM/FM combination radio station.

There was a time when just about anyone who had a microphone and a transmitter could broadcast the games from the Shoe. Prior to the 1973 season when WTVN was awarded sole rights to home OSU games, WBNS, WBBY, WVKO, WMNI, WRFD and WOSU all had play by play announcers describing the X's and O's from the Shoe's pressbox.

While the WBNS ad shows Ted Mullins, 1973 would be the first and last year for Ted broadcasting the games. Prior to Ted taking the microphone, the calls were handled by Bill Corley with color provided by Bob Adkins, Irwin Johnson and Les Spencer.  Sherry Wood's "Citizen Journal" radio column described some of the letters she received from readers who were less than happy with Corley missing from Saturday afternoons and replaced with Mullins. Corley and Adkins as well as Irwin Johnson when games were play at home and Les Spencer when the games were away in the early years were probably the most listened to of all announcers.

Another who made the gridiron calls at that time was the late Ed Johnson of WRFD. While Ed was known to central Ohioans as the voice of agricultural broadcasting, he also did a year or two behind the microphone doing play by play with his rural drawl. For WRFD's final season to broadcast the Buckeyes, 1972, Stan Savran was brought in. And by the end of the season, management had invited him to move on as WTVN was awarded exclusive home broadcast rights. Savran's talents would no longer be needed.

Back to Ed Johnson for a moment. Ed also broadcast many high school basketball games on WRFD's sister station WNCI and was also sports director for both stations. I personally don't remember Ed on WNCI. But I simply can't picture in my mind Ed, with his rural tone and drawl, giving sports reports on a progressive rock FM station.

Back to OSU. Martin Petree manned the mic for WMNI and for the few years that WBBY carried the games it was Joe Hill. Not to be forgotten was WVKO/WSPO. Station president Bert Charles was the play by play announcer. If I recall, it was OSU sports information director Marv Holman who did the play by play by WOSU. He later would join WTVN along with Dayton broadcaster Tom Hamlin when Dale Conquest left. That arrangement lasted until the 1976 season when Ken Coleman and Bob Conners occupied the press box.

Powerful WRFD with it's power line up.

I've lost the trail on morning man Robert W. Knight and evening host Mick Titer. Mid-day host Greg Campbell entertains the Heart of Ohio mid-days on WVNO (Mix 106) and afternoon host Len Anthony passed away several years ago while in the Atlanta area.