I continue to research and dig out information about Columbus and it's radio history. The personalities and formats of stations like WTVN, WBNS, WRFD, WCOL, WMNI and WVKO.
I've blogged about some of my findings or personal memories. But I have tons of information where I haven't had the time or the creative juices to memorialize. I've got plans for to make this a long term project (and I've already devoted many hours over the past three or four years).
It's been odd. I've found tons of information. But there are times when I hit an information hole. A piece of the puzzle is missing. Some key event, change, movement, format change, call letter change, person coming or person going wasn't reported.
It appears that some stations sought publicity or gave out information more than others. Jo Bradley Reed of the Citizen Journal once replied to a reader in her column that she often relies on the stations to get information in her hands so she can report it. I believe it had to do with reporting the programs in stereo that could be listened to. Stereo radio broadcasting was a novel concept at the time as the broadcast of stereo programming was approved by the FCC in the early 60's. FM stations in Columbus with the exception of WBNS were slow to move to stereo and then for a long period of time only broadcast a few hours a day in the beginning. But that's a different topic.
In some instances, I wonder if formats didn't appeal to the radio/television reporters of the time and they didn't report what they didn't listen to. Maybe a bigger story pre-empted the planned story of the day. As television became more of a focal point, radio seemed to get shunted aside too. But in general, there's a lot of information.
I've been fortunate in that I've been able to find some of the people of those times and the gap was filled from their memories and perspectives. Bill Smith now working in Boston, Keith Curtis who now is in Florida, Bob Cosart (Vernon with a V who worked for a brief time at WTVN-FM)and retired. Pete Gabriel now in Youngstown and retired. Bob North of WNCI and WTVN who now is a busy voice talent. These and other people have been great with their stories and background.
There have been many more. All have given I've found others who knew the person or event in question and they have quickly filled in the back story.
But there are two situations that allow the information hole to continue.
One is that the people associated with the missing information have passed on. People whose memories seem like they were here yesterday, yet have been gone from us for many years.
For example, I have traced former WTVN morning personality Maurice Jackson to Oklahoma City and Phoenix only to have the trail go cold in the mid 1960's. Can't find anyone who knew him or what became of his career.
Another is Tom George who hosted at several central Ohio station in his career. Tom had worked at Wheeling's WWVA and Detroit's WJBK prior to coming to Columbus. And I don't want to forget a stint in New York City.
But his arrival in Columbus came at a time when personalities at the station he landed at (WTVN) was promoting programs and not people. So when and why did he arrive. Was he the immediate replacement for Dave Hull or did someone fill the gap? Where did he go after leaving WTVN in 63 or 64 but before arriving at WMNI to usher in their Country format in the fall of 1965. Or did he simply move to WMNI when he left WTVN? The CJ says he spent some time at WHOK in Lancaster. The Dispatch indicated he was WMNI all along playing beautiful music shortly after departing WTVN.
And then there is another gap regarding Tom. He was gone for a period of time during the late 60's at WMNI but was part of the WRFD move to country music in 1970. And then again he was gone. I found in the mid-late 70's he worked for WDLR's Marysville outreach. And the finally landed at WUCO when it went on the air in the early 80's. And that's where Tom finished his career.But again, a gap between WDLR and WUCO. Unfortunately, many who may have known of Tom are no longer with us and so history is left with a gap. Or as I call it, an information hole
Finally, there is another reason. I've found others who for whatever reason do not want to contribute. Can't explain why. They simply don't respond or won't share some of the information. Sometimes they are someone who was or still is a key player in the market. But for whatever reason(s), there is a lack of reply and interest.