Slices From 2014

According to WordPress, here were the 10 most viewed blog entries I posted during this year:

1. RIP Dave Wagenvoord: My first boss in the radio biz passed away on April 21st.

2. The “Howie Sucks” Banner: Unearthing footage of a Thursday night NFL game in Tampa from 1980 that involved Howard Cosell and some banner trickeration.

3. Proof Of A Former Life: My first show as a board op for Stan Major at the Sun Radio Network is unearthed and archived.

4. Thanksgiving, Shortwave, and Uncle Neil: On Thanksgiving Eve, I board op another Stan Major show.  This one was picked up on WWCR, the Nashville shortwave station, which gets called from England and Canada.  A famous Miami talk show host calls me after the show who the Tampa area would get to know a few months down the road.

5. Bubba To Beasley, And Why It Won’t Work: Rumors swirl that Bubba the Love Sponge will return to the Tampa Bay airwaves in 2015, but it was my opinion back on December 3rd that Bubba and Beasley will not get along.

6. And There Goes My High School: My alma mater of Largo High School in Largo, Florida gets torn down, to eventually be replaced by a high-tech version to open in a couple of years.

7. My 2014 Predictions: Predictions I made at the start of 2014 for the coming year.  Nailed the Super Bowl prediction cold!

8. The Land Of Gerrymandering: A look at the local House of Representatives special election in March, won by David Jolly, heavily contested by Democrat Alex Sink.

9. Brutality And Its Glorification: Thoughts on how the news has desensitized us to terrorism and the brutality of the present day world.

10. Flashback Friday: “Poor Man’s Son” by Survivor: A look at Survivor’s first top 40 hit in 1981 after the passing of Jimi Jamison.

Hoping 2015 will be just as good…

Thanksgiving, Shortwave Radio, and Uncle Neil

Last week, I had mentioned that one of the shows I ran the board for at Sun Radio had been unearthed: Stan Major’s debut on October 1, 1991. I had the honor of exchanging comments with Stan on that post, and I had reminded him about the show we did on Thanksgiving morning of 1991 on WWCR (World Wide Christian Radio), a shortwave station based out of Nashville.

Getting WWCR to carry the show, even for one night, was a big deal. Only two other shows from Sun had aired on WWCR: For The People with Chuck Harder (which by late 1991 was long gone), and Tom Valentine’s Radio Free America. Remember, the Internet wasn’t as easy to get for the home computer hobbyist (if you were one in the early 90’s) as it is now. These days, all you need is one station and the ability to promote your show and promote the hell out of the Tunein website or the IHeartRadio website or app. The bigger the show in those days, the more affiliates you had to have. In that particular time frame, overnight talk shows were ripe for the pickings. Larry King was in his swan song years at Mutual, plus Tom Snyder and Deborah Norville had shows that could be competed with.

I’m very proud of the work I did with Stan, especially. At Sun Radio, like Mutual or ABC at the time, his crew of the show consisted of one person: me. Larry King would have a person who ran the board, a person who screen calls, and probably a person or two who did whatever gopher work was needed. (I also didn’t have a union behind me either to insure I got paid well, working in Florida, as I would have if I were working out of NYC or DC.) That’s not me trying to brag, that’s a fact. Thank God I (or any of the other board ops) had a medical emergency (or fell asleep, as I once did for a few minutes on another show) of some kind, because whoever the host was would have been s*** out of luck had that ever happened.

My work on this particular show was not as good as I remembered it, to be honest. The last 15 minutes of Stan’s weeknight shows during this time frame where a Chinese fire drill, and I felt more like an air traffic controller than I did a board op! Not only am I answering phones (doing very light screening) and running the board, but I’m also getting the next show prepared, hosted by Max Stewart, calling him up on the Comrex. With that many balls in the air, s*** tended to happen, like leaving the outro music pot a little too hot at the end of the show.  Ouch.

At the end of the show, I get a call on the hotline we had set up for the evening from none other than Neil Rogers. This was three months before WSUN picked up Neil’s WIOD show out of Miami, so what I knew about Neil came from Stan. Neil asks me for Stan, and even a few moments after the show Stan is long gone. Neil’s in disbelief, but I’m telling him the truth. On top of this, Stan was filling in for Joel Vincent (Howard Hewes) for a 8pm-10pm shift the following night (Thanksgiving Night), on top of his normal 12am-5am shift, or 12 hours in a 29 hour stretch.

The call the farthest away that night wound up being someone in Scotland, but Stan also wound up getting calls from Canada and England as well.  Out of all the shows I did in seven years behind the scenes, it is the one that sticks out in my mind the easiest.

Again, thanks to John Baker, the Neil Rogers Archives and Stan Major for making this recording possible.