over the night shift from Bob Shultz when he left in October of
1954. I actually started at WTSL in Hanover in August and lasted
3 months there before boredom drove me to insist on a transfer
O'Neil. She was the copywriter with
the great legs. She drove in the yard one day with a brand new
, light green Ford Thunderbird convertible with a hard top and
opera windows and had us all drooling over it. She later married
Gordon. This young red-head started
out as a groupie I taught to run the board and do an occasional
newscast. He worked out well enough to get a job at the station.
His father was Capt. Norman Leavitt of the Manchester Police Department,
so he used the name Gordon to avoid embarassing his father.
remotes at all kinds of locations. Often
I would bring a groupie I had taught to do production with me
to run the board while I played celebrity. The pictures are of
me & Ray Gilbert on location at some store.
96. A survey showed that only 4% of
teen-agers were getting into trouble, so 'KBR started Club 96
for the majority of good kids. We ran a live remote record hop
for them every Friday night from the American Legion Hall downtown.
We often had recording stars join us for part of the evening.
I recall having the Everly Brothers, Roger Miller, John D. Loudermilk
and others. Several hundred teen-agers would show up every week.
Bill Varney & I would dance with the kids, clown around and generally
have a good time while emceeing the hop. After Bill left, Chuck
Bessettte did them with me.
had the late evening shift, 4 to midnight. I did news
every hour on the hour in the afternoon, then did my own show
from 10:00 to 12:00 or 1:00am - romantic, easy-listening stuff
done with a sexy voice. They said I was responsible for half the
illegitimate births in Manchester! Joe Maltais did the Franco-American
Hour from 7 to 8:30 every night. I remember Joe had to go into
the Veteran's Hospital for several days to have some dental work
done and he left me in charge of his show. I played his French
records, his pre-recorded spots, etc., and even had to read a
few of them myself…in French!
stunts Bill Varney & I pulled. We got a lot of attention
from the audience, so Ralph Gottlieb tolerated it. We'd get one
of the groupies (Ralph Weigler, Bob Leavitt, Ray Gilbert, Tom
Boisvert or Bob Molloy) to man the board and we'd take the mobile
unit out and do interviews with the kids at Elmer's A&R Root Beer
stand down the road from us. Elmer's parking lot would be packed
and he'd give us free food & root beer all night long. Or we'd
go out to the local lover's lanes and check out the action. Or
we'd just cruise Elm Street and talk to people. One night we set
up the remote board, etc., on the sidewalk in front of the station
and did his show (8:30 to 10) from there. We caused such a traffic
jam, the cops had to break it up.
decided to do a marathon broadcast. We got Freddy Asher
from Modern Appliance on upper Elm St. to let us use his store
and we set Bill up with a remote studio. He only got a thirty
minute break every four hours so he could wash & shave, change
clothes and so on (I think that was the deal). He lasted over
a hundred hours before he started hallucinating and we had to
call it off. We had crowds there almost around the clock! Freddy
got a ton of publicity and sold a lot of appliances that week!
The idea to broadcast
the lighting of the New Hampshire-donated Christmas Tree at Rockefeller
Center was actually mine and Bill Varney's, but Gottlieb decided
to send Bill Morrissey instead.
As a publicity stunt, the station bought a talking mynah bird
and taught it to say "Good Morning Every Body", among other
things. Bill Morrissey had the honor of sharing the microphone
with him every morning. His cage was kept in Ralph's office,
and he learned to imitate the sound of Ralph's squeaky office
chair and the way Ralph cleared his throat. At night, when
the place was quiet and I was all alone (as I usually was)
I could swear Ralph had come in and was sitting in his office.
Night. For a while, we took requests on Saturday nights.
My ex-wife would come down and pull records for me while a couple
of groupies answered the phones and took the requests. We even
had a sponsor…Tillson's Plumbing & Heating.
experimented with different types of music. I recall
doing a folk music show, a jazz show and even a classical music
show! But mostly we stuck with Top 30 and of course published
our survey sheets every week based on sales at local record stores
(mostly Manchester Music). We distributed the sheets widely and
they were avidly snatched up by all the teens.
did the first stereo broadcast in Manchester. We rigged
up a turntable with a stereo cartridge and tone arm in the big
studio and set up two microphones. They 'split the board,' feeding
one microphone and the left channel of music to the AM transmitter,
and the other side to the FM transmitter. We told the audience
to put their AM receiver on the left side of the room and the
FM receiver on the right and adjust the volumes until I seemed
to be talking from somewhere in the middle. We had a limited supply
of stereo records, so the show only lasted about an hour.
recorded a jingle for Jerry Carmen's Car-Go Auto stores
using a little echo-chamber effect. "Car-Go keeps your car on
the go, on the go, on the go. Car-Go keeps your car on the go,
for less dough", or in the winter: "in the snow". Last I heard,
they were still using it. I never got a nickel in talent fees
Morrissey recorded "September Song" over a Percy Faith
or Paul Weston instrumental background and played it on the air
every chance he got.
they officially opened the Frederick B. Everett Turnpike,
Bill Rust took me up in his four-passenger Beechcraft Bonanza
private plane and I broadcast the festivities from a bird's-eye
view. I had never flown before in my life and I was petrified,
but somehow I got through it.
of the people I worked with at WKBR: Norm Bailey, Bill
Morrissey, Dick Piper, Donn Parker, Eddie B. Baker, Bill Varney,
Chuck Bessette, Lad Carlton, Bill Jones (Program Director), Ernie
Crowley & Gary LaPierre (newsmen), Bill Clark, Bob Anderson, Joe
Maltais, Ed Lawrence (office manager), Roy Phillips (chief engineer),
Roland Hale & Zara Chicaderis ( comptroller's office), Maddy O'Neil
(copywriter), Art Cooper & Al something (Beaulieu I think…salesmen),
Jackie Kelly (traffic), Tom Hussey (sportscaster), Warren Journay
(station manager who hired me) and, of course, Ralph Gottlieb