Aircheck: WTVT-TV, 1975

If you haven’t heard yet, long time WTVT weatherman (better known these days as Fox 13 in Tampa) Roy Leep passed away yesterday (June 1, 2021) at age 88.

This video was released by Fox 13 yesterday – what appears to do a demo tape of sorts of the WTVT weather studios. What’s amazing about this is that it was shot in 1975. Cable TV was relatively new, as were computers and domestic use of videotape.

Leep must have gotten so many requests from schools and the generally curious to tour the facilities that he found it easier to just show everything on videotape – such as tape was in the mid-1970’s. For its era, it was very impressive!

The number of youngsters Roy inspired – who knows. I imagined he inspired the minds of many, and impressed upon us the importance of taking weather seriously when it threatens us.

Are You Sure That’s The Right Album?

Some of you may have heard of Jim Steinman’s passing yesterday at the age of 73. It made me think of my freshman year of high school, venturing by bus to Pinellas Square Mall one Saturday in the spring of 1986.

CBS had just released Bonnie Tyler’s latest album, Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire. The album wasn’t even remotely the commercial success of Faster Than The Speed Of Night, but I didn’t know that was going to be the outcome when I got it.

It was also around that time wrestling was so big that Hulk Hogan had his own cartoon series and had that powerful theme with vocals going, “Hulk! Hulk!!”

I put side one of Bonnie’s album and hear the first track, Ravishing. It sounds the same as the Hulk Hogan theme! I gently lift the needle and examine the album print. Was someone playing a practical joke on me?

I put the record back on and eventually Bonnie starts with the vocal. Yep, it was Hulk’s cartoon instrumental with different and a lot more lyrics.

An interesting piece of marketing for sure, but Steinman had a lot of ideas that were repackaged and refined.

He Lived It Up

Tedd Webb, a local radio legend, passed away yesterday at the age of 72.

To describe Tedd as just a talk radio host would be an injustice, though. He was also a fixture in wrestling (doing commentary for the short lived NAWA out of Raleigh in the early 90’s) along with many appearances on TV over the years here in the Tampa area.

A younger version of myself once called his WFLA radio show “Sports Huddle” when ex-Chiefs head coach Hank Stram was on. Steam was famous for being a chatterbox during Super Bowl IV, with NFL Films micing him up for that big game.

When I first got started building websites on AOL’s version of WordPress, Tedd’s site linked to my homemade concoction.

Tedd saw our area rise from what it was to the past to the eleventh biggest market in the country. It must have been quite the ride.

Talent Returned To God

This 17th of February 2021 brought the sad news that Rush Limbaugh had left us at the age of 70.

Along with Howard Stern, Rush has a household name from the radio profession these past few decades. I had the good luck to listen to Rush’s first show carried here in Tampa on WFLA. I was a few weeks shy of turning 18 in the summer of 1989, working at a microfilm company in Clearwater at the time.

I listened to the show with headphones on while working – and even at that age I thought he was a talent. If someone has ability, opinions don’t matter too much.

Anyone who can make it in the radio business has my respect, for it’s not an easy life for most of those in it. I will always have respect for his professionalism, and I thank God for loaning him that talent – as he often said on his shows.

Jeopardy Memories

A few days before 2020 mercifully ends, we’ll all know the new host of Jeopardy – the game show that it’s former host, Alex Trebek, had hosted from 1984 until last week. Trebek lost a brave struggle with pancreatic cancer on November 8th at the age of 80.

I learned how to do math watching the game shows of the 1970’s, probably how to read, too. Game shows took up a lot of airtime on the then three networks of the era: ABC, CBS, and NBC. Trebek gravitated to a lot of the shows I wound up watching prior to his legendary run at Jeopardy – and I always felt down deep that he was somebody that everyone could relate to.

Jeopardy was easily his magnum opus – and the show took off right away. It was daily viewing growing up. We had a dog named Holly who didn’t like certain noises in music or commercials – and we always had to mute the theme they used in the Final Jeopardy round.

Another example of how Jeopardy took off and was the soundtrack of my youth: in 1988, I had to spend a couple od days in the hospital to get a Polidonial cyst removed from where the back ends and the buttocks form. There’s a slightly younger kid in the other bed with me in the hospital room, and we passed time watching the game shows of the era. One of the local stations ran old Jeopardy repeats in the morning, and we’d each take stabs at getting the questions to the shown answers.

It’ll be interesting to see who Jeopardy chooses to replace Trebek, although much like Drew Carey couldn’t fill the shows of Bob Barker – I wonder if anyone can fill in adequately for him.

(EDIT, 11/24/2020: Ken Jennings was announced as the interim replacement to Alex Trebek on November 23rd.)

Flashback: “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band

On Monday past, we lost Charlie Daniels – who died suddenly at the age of 81.

Easily, this song was Charlie’s biggest hit – going to #1 on the country charts and #3 on the Hot 100 in 1979.

Flashback: “Neutron Dance” by The Pointer Sisters

On Monday, Bonnie Pointer passed away – an early member of the Pointer Sisters musical ensemble that had a lot of hits on the US pop charts in the late 1970’s and most of the 1980’s.

Bonnie’s younger sisters scored this hit released in 1983 – with the song hitting #6 on the Billboard charts. It was also used in the first Beverly Hills Cop movie featuring Eddie Murphy.

Flashback: “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

Godspeed to Kenny Rogers – who passed away March 20th at the age of 82.

A few of Kenny’s songs have been Flashbacks over the years. I’d argue “The Gambler” is probably that one song everyone knows if you’re of a certain age. It was #1 on the country Billboard charts, and also went to #16 on the pop charts after its 1978 release.

Kobe

Just heard about the passing of basketball legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash, and I wanted to make note of it here.

My interest in basketball has waned in the past few years, mainly because the NFL season has gotten longer. Once the Super Bowl ends, there’s a few weeks before the start of MLB season. Not a lot of room in-between for the other sports.

There’s no denying Kobe was (and it is so weird to use the word “was”) a tremendous talent to the game of basketball and to the sports world – and it is incredible that his life after basketball has now been cut short as it has.

My condolences to his family and to the sporting world in general – this loss is going to sting a bit.

Flashback: “Countdown” by Rush

We heard late last week that Neil Peart, the drummer and top lyric writer for the Canadian rock band Rush had passed away at age 67.

“Tom Sawyer” is probably their best known song, but this is song from 1982 (thanks to MTV) that got my attention – a commemoration of sorts of the first shuttle launch on April 12, 1981.