Blaw Knox tower | 1938 Hurricane | 75th Anniversary | Recollections | Music Surveys
November 27, 2017
Sad to learn of the passing of Charlie Scheu. I was a part-time weekend announcer at WKBR and engineer at their transmitter site weeknights while in college in the 60's. When the decision was made to no longer have part-timers, I immediately visited with Charlie Scheu during his Saturday afternoon show on WFEA. He sat me down at the board and had me do his show right then and there and hired me as a "combo man" for Saturday and Sunday. I would have interrupted my college career if not for him!
I have great memories of the entire staff since I was full-time in the summer and really appreciated the help of everyone. George Stevens taught me to be his "color announcer" when he did play-by-play of high school football games and he gave me tips on writing local news stories, too.
I am a retired Verizon engineer, private pilot and amateur radio hobbyist and learned so much during my nine years in radio.
Some random thoughts: I remember Dick Wholey holding just a fluorescent tube (no wires) up near the tuning cabinet and seeing it flicker on from the RF. I watched with fascination as the tower painting operation began with the climber, standing on the roof of the tuning shack at the tower base and then jumping over to the tower without touching anything on the ground. I loved hearing the PAM’s jingles. Everyone sounded so good together. It was a fun-paced sound and I was proud to be one of Charlie’s “FEA Swingin’ Guys” of the mid 60’s.
Alan Paige (The Paige Boy)(e-mail)
December 21, 2015 (from Charlotte Memorial Funeral Home in Florida):
Charlie was born Charles Robert Scheu in Newark, New Jersey on October 16, 1936 to Charles and Julia Scheu. After school, he started out with Bell Labs, but soon found his true calling in radio. Charlie met and married his soul mate Bev in Indiana, in 1964. Charlie dazzled audiences in Indiana, North Carolina, New Hampshire and hit the big time with WPGC in Washington D.C.
He and Bev lived the dream of sailing off into the sunset and spending four years living abroad their sailboat, “Admiral Tozzie”. Their adventures in their beloved Bahamas were very special. Charlie also had a private pilot’s license and flew over 3,000 hours; but Hurricane Charley took away his second love – The Mooney Bird.
Eventually they ended up in Punta Gorda where Charlie decided to get a retirement job to keep him busy. The rest is history. Some 30 years later he has become, “The Voice of Charlotte County”. The community will miss him.
Charlie leaves his wife Bev, daughters Carol Scheu and Karen Hoff (David), grandchildren Jennifer, Maria, Alex, Patrick, Charlotte and Margaret, brother Robert Scheu (Patti), much loved Brother-In-Law Richard Boyett (Jean) and treasured nephews and nieces. He leaves his avid sponsors, listeners, friends and his radio family speechless.
A Celebration of Life will be on Saturday, January 16, 2016 at Charlotte Memorial Funeral Home in Punta Gorda at 2:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Charlie’s name to Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.
Charlie wished to leave this message, “THANKS FOR THE RIDE!!”
September 23, 2015
I am sorry to report the passing of another WFEA alumni. Jim Demetry died Monday, Sept. 21 after a major stroke; he would have been 93 in December. Jim started his broadcast career at WKBR (1948-49) before moving north to Claremont at WTSV (1949-50). After many years as Gentleman Jim Stevens, the Morning Mayor, at WLLH in Lowell, he came back to Manchester at WFEA (1966-71). He then joined the sales department at WGIR in Manchester and remained until his retirement in 1988. Jim leaves his wife of 61 years, Daisy, and three children.
Contact me directly if you'd like details about services.
Ed Brouder (e-mail)
March 12, 2015
I regret to announce the passing of Neil A. Patrizzi, known at WFEA as Neil Jackson, host of the Jackson in the Morning from late 1976-late 1983. He died on March 11, 2015 at the age of 64.
Neil and I were both born in Connecticut but didn't meet until we competed against each other in Keene, NH in 1974-75 (he was at WKBK, I was at WKNE). We relocated to Manchester around the same time and competed again (Neil worked morning drive on WFEA and I was on WGIR). We met through volunteer work for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and remained friendly competitors.
In 1983 Neil returned to his Connecticut roots working at WTIC FM (twice), WYSR and WZMX. For the better part of 20 years he was associated with ESPN Radio's late night Sportscenter show. Neil waged a valiant battle against prostate cancer for close to two years. Here is a link to his obituary.
Ed Brouder (e-mail)
October 6, 2014
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I assume most of you worked with, or at least knew, "Uncle Al." I'm sad to report that he passed away over the weekend. Here is the obituary his daughter posted on his Facebook page:
CARP, ALAN H. of Sharon on Sunday, October 05, 2014. Beloved husband of Linda (Gomes). Loving father of Lauren Carp of Bridgewater and Jonathan Carp of Sharon. Devoted son of the late Dr. J. Stanley & Beatrice (Cashman) Carp. Dear brother of the late Frank Carp. Graveside service at New Tifereth Israel of Everett Memorial Park, 232 Fuller St., Everett on Tuesday, October 7 at 11:00AM. Memorial observance at his late residence following the burial on Tuesday. Friends and family are welcome Wednesday and Thursday, I PM — 4PM and 7PM - 9PM and Friday, 1PM — 4PM. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to a charity of your choice.
Lee Gordon (e-mail)
January 27, 2014
Greetings Ed.....Mike Yardley (of FEA fame) passed suddenly Monday. He had a heart attack. I've know Mike since high school and we've always kept in touch. During his last months at CNN in Atlanta he'd had a series of mild shocks (as my grandparents would say). He quit and ended up trying to work in the Washington area (where I am) and had a more serious stroke. This was 2009. He'd spent his last four years in a nursing home in Baltimore. I visited every few weeks as he had nodody in family who was nearby. Mike knew he was not well and even wrote his own obit in 2008 which I will include below.....Thought you could update your wonderful FEA pages.
Michael Dodd Yardley, of Decatur, Georgia, died at his home on January 27, 2014. An accomplished broadcaster and writer, he had worked for CNN for 11 years, most recently as a Senior Editor. Before becoming a TV writer, he had a long career in radio news. He began on WKXL in Concord on Thanksgiving 1975. From there, he went on to broadcast the news over WLNH, Laconia, WFEA Manchester where he covered the 1980 New Hampshire primary, WFTQ in Worcester, WDBO in Orlando, later working in Washington on WTOP and the Unistar (RKO) radio network. He was also a freelance correspondent and editor for ABC radio news, before joining CNN fulltime in Washington in 1998. He later moved to Atlanta, joining CNN International. He was passionate about old cars and antiques. He helped restore and drove a 1971 VW 411.
David Hodgdon (e-mail)
January 5, 2013
Different kind of story, maybe, but back in the '70s, I was into AM "DXing," listening for distant radio stations on the broadcast band.
I was living in the San Francisco area, and we had a local station on 1370 that hardly ever went off the air for maintenance, and when they did, there was some other station that came in strong on that frequency. But on October 13, 1975, 2 am California time, all the planets lined up and both stations were down for maintenance, and I heard WFEA sign on... it wasn't much of a signal, and within a few minutes the signal faded as the sun started coming up on the east coast... but this was pretty much "the catch" of my AM DXing "career."
Unfortunately, in those days, WFEA was kind of notorious for not verifying DX reports, and the few minutes I was listening weren't enough to put together much of a report. I did have a tape running, but, as I said... it wasn't much...
So I never did get a "verification" from WFEA (so it kills me to see the old WFEA QSL card on your page :-).
A couple years later, though, one of the other DXers of the time forwarded me a copy of a letter he had received from somebody at WFEA that said something about "some guy out in California reported hearing us..."
Anyway... thanks for having the WFEA History Page with a few items from the 70s.
Charles Wolff (e-mail)
August 25, 2012
Good morning! I was wondering if you or someone you know may have info about some type of DJ Explorers program that was offered to high school students in the late 70's /early 80's, possibly pictures of the group that was involved. I'm dating John Britton, who was part of the group, which he still talks about, and would love to give him some sort of memorabilia as a gift!
Nancy Lacroix-Dionne (e-mail)
Ed's response: The late Manchester police Lieutenant Gil Vaal may have been involved as advisor to the WFEA Explorer Post but I'm not positive...anybody have additional info?
June 5, 2011
Do you know where Rick Ryder is? Thanks.
Gary Lee Horn (e-mail)
Ed's response: Rick is working at a station in western Georgia.
May 16, 2011
As w/ most things radio-related, I discovered your site - Radio News from WFEA - during a round-about search for info on my uncle - Jim Morello - who worked at WFEA back in the late 50s. Claude Marquis was one of the engineers at the time. Unsure, but Uncle Jim may have sold air time back then.
He was born and raised in South Jersey, did a tour of duty w/ the US Army during WW2, came home and began a radio career that lasted some 20 or 25 years. Unsure how he got to New Hampshire from South Jersey, but he finally landed at WFEA in the mid 50s. He left about 1960 or thereabouts, went to WGIR, got married, left NH and bought a station in York, Pa whose call letters escape me. He often told the story of how one Valentine's Day at WFEA the afternoon drive guy never showed and he had to fill in for him, then do his shift - about 12 hours w/o stopping. He used the handle "Vincenzo Pelligrini" and all he played for the entire 12 hours was every recording of MY FUNNY VALENTINE in the station library (a probably prodigious one at that).
When my family visited Uncle Jim during summer vacations, we'd often stop by the studios or meet for dinner at The Chicken Roost owned by the Schwinard family. I also have a vivid memory of Uncle Jim arranging for me to record a poem and a couple of kiddy songs in the studio. Claude Marquis did the direct to disc cutting, and I still have the platter. Unfortunately, he had to cut it inside out, so only a studio turntable (or one w/ a free arm) can play it.
Uncle Jim passed away some years ago and I'm trying to piece together bits of his career as I locate them. Have discovered that just before World War II he had a swing band - JIMMY MORELLO AND THE SOPSTICATES OF SWING - that played out of Philadelphia and South Jersey. They were also one of the house bands at the Dupont Country Club in Delaware. He was good friends w/ an old Philadelphia/South Jersey radio guy named Mac Maguire who worked at WPEN and may have had a cowboy band.
WFEA hasn't been much help and I thought perhaps you might have a lead or two I might follow up.
Regardless, you have a wonderful resource. Good luck and thanks for your time.
Paul Mathis (e-mail)
October 13, 2009
I stumbled across this website in the midst of a 3AM insomnia attack, and it was a lot of fun seeing familiar names from the past. I never worked at WFEA, but I did work with Warren Bailey, Dave Emerson and Konrad Kayne (at WLNH) and Vince Tyler (at WCFR in Springfield VT). And of course, I remember listening to Ed Brouder when he was on WKNE, and I lived near Keene at the time.
I have one small anecdote to add to your WFEA Recollections. In the spring of 1972, I was an 18-year old kid attending the short-lived "Ed Williams School of Broadcasting" in Manchester, at the "campus" on the road out past the WGIR studios. One of our part-time instructors was Bob Cohen aka RW Churchill. Bob was smart and funny, and we were all in awe of him, since he had just taken the morning drive shift at WFEA. Morning Drive! And he sounded great. IIRC, Bob had also done part-time work at WRKO, which made him an almost God-like figure to the radio wannabes at EWSOB. :-)
But it very quickly became apparent that things weren't working out for Bob at WFEA, and the name of a certain GM repeatedly was taken in vain whenever we students would talk about how things were going at his new job. It came to pass just 3 months after he started that Bob gave us students the private heads-up that his show the next morning would be his last, and it would be a "very special" broadcast. He cautioned all of us very solemnly never to do what he was about to do, unless we were very VERY secure and well-connected in radio and could endure a little "bridge burning".
We all tuned in early to hear the fun, and it was very funny. Bob announced to his audience that he was leaving, it was his last day on the air, and he started playing excerpts from a DJ airchecks disc, calling it an "on air audition to find" his replacement. And he'd play some puker's aircheck, and crack a joke about how wonderful he sounded. Then I recall him staging a broadcast premiere of Richard Carpenter's first lead vocal on a Carpenter's record....and of course, it was nothing more than a Karen Carpenter 45 played at 33 rpm.
As I recall, Bob actually lasted a couple hours or so with that sort of on-air mayhem before the GM in question finally tuned in (and likely vomited his Cheerios), and Bob's reign of terror was over. But it was one funny laugh for the students at Ed Williams, who learned a valuable lesson about the realities of local radio, the highs and the lows. My radio days are long behind me, as are the poverty wages I once endured during my 'career'. And thanks, RW Churchill, for a funny memory I've never forgotten, and am delighted to share.
Gary Wheelock Burlington,
May 7, 2009
This is such a wonderful site,you really can't say enough good things about it. Thank you so very much Ed,and to all who contribute to it as well.
I had the good fortune to work at WFEA between January 1965 and the spring of 1968. It truly was one of my most unforgettable experiences in broadcasting. The people made it great.
Bill Malo, for whom I had worked previously when he owned WERI in Westerly, R.I., brought me back to Manchester. I was at WAAB in Worcester at the time, and had been in our beloved Queen City at WGIR for three years, 1959-61. There I worked with Bernie Mack, Donn Tibbetts, Palmer Payne and Pete Steady. And how I remember that snowstorm that Rick Davis refers to. I didn't know I could be that funny at 5:45AM. Pete and I, by the time we got into the building, were totally exhausted. We helped all the other employees get in that morning as well.
Bill Malo was a great guy to work for. When I arrived JC was the Program Director. I was replacing Bill Mitten as News Director. Charlie Scheu later became PD and we had a really good staff. Phil Christie, Johnny Gardner, Charlie, and Brother Dave(Dave Jones).The station was sold to Mark Century a couple of years later and the format was changed to Standards. I always liked to tell people I worked for Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme! Ansel Chaney was the manager, and it was a pleasure to work with Dick Brown, Gentlemen Jim Demetry and Bill Lawrence.
Rudy Nelson came in from the West Coast to be the GM. He was a real radio guy. I wish I could have been with Rudy longer, but in April of '68 I joined Senator Norris Cotton's staff and became his Legislative and Press Assistant. I wasn't a lawyer, but Cotton told me I would carry both titles because he was frugal. While in DC many people actually thought I was an attorney because I participated in writing legislation. Being in news was good training. Cotton was especially amused when he assigned me to be his point man on the tobacco legislation that banned radio and tv advertising!
Later in my DC career I worked as Administratiuve Assistant to a Michigan congressman from the Ann Arbor area. But after seven years it was back to my first love - radio. I bought an AM in Utica New York, on 1550, up with the police calls. The call sign, WBVM, stood for the Blessed Virgin Mary. No one clued me in on this, however, and I changed the format to Oldies. Every Nun and Priest,within a twenty mile radius,called me in protest. In the future I never changed a format of any station I subsequently owned. Four years in Utica and I bought WNTY in Southington, CT. There I stayed for 20 years. Then I puchased couple of stations in the Chicago area. Several years in the midwest, and twenty four hundred pleas from my wife to move back to New England brought me back to Central Connecticut.
Thanks again Ed for letting me share this, and I'll look foward to reading about more of our alumni.
George Stevens (e-mail)
April 19, 2009
Don’t know if you remember me – Cynthia Larose from WKBR/WFEA. I stumbled across your website and the WFEA site. How fun!! I even found old airchecks of mine that I will undoubtedly order! I have a box of various tapes from those days that are in really bad condition – reel-to-reel, cassette and even a cart or two – that I have moved from NH to Washington DC back to NH and to Boston, but I don't think that they are salvageable. I spent several years in Manchester after leaving radio and going to law school - worked at Devine Millimet - and represented the Sconnix guys and Bruce Lyons in his radio ownership forays. Left Manchester in 1992 and went to Washington for a few years - worked at a firm doing nothing but radio/TV broadcast work. Been back in Boston about 11 years and do IT/technology work, privacy and a little broadcast representation. Don't have too many radio stations as clients these days, given all the consolidation in the industry.
I do keep in touch with Mike Netkovick (a/k/a Mike Stewart), but have completely lost touch with everyone else. I did see several email addresses on your "recollections" page and may reach out to see if they are still there!
Cynthia Larose (e-mail)
January 8, 2008
Hi Ed..Hope you remember me..Johnny Rodgers...aka John Nuzzo. Worked at WFEA--WGIR and in Portsmouth. I am retired now..well semi retired...I turn 65 in March..worked north of Pittsburgh Pa for about 13 years as Operation Manager of two stations. Retired in June of 07 and now just do an afternoon show for three hours of talk: WBVP-WMBA. Came across the site and hope you remember me..You were always a great help to me in getting around New Hampshire.
John Nuzzo aka Johnny Rodgers (e-mail)
September 30, 2007
Thanks for keeping the history of WFEA alive. I started my career as a engineer with WFEA from June 1960 until June of 1965. Almost 5 yrs. to the day I was hired. Our duties, in addition to keeping the transmitter on the air, was to keep a Program Log noting the starting times of all the program elements. Our other duties were to record telephone interviews and transferring locally produced commercials to a disk! Not many folks remember the Scully Lathes used to cut discs of that era. Cartridge Tape had yet to be invented! All the equipment was built with tubes. Tubes had a finite life and therefore replacing a bad tube was a standard fix for most problems. Mercury Vapor tubes used in the transmitter rarely died quietly. It would announce it's death with a very loud bang scaring the wits out of anyone who happened to be standing close to the transmitter.
If my memory serves me right I believe Reggie Schow, Irving (Speed) Mower, and Claude Marquis were the original engineers when WFEA went on the air. I believe the engineer giving the haircut to Ronn Allard (50s History) was Speed Mower.
Air personnel at the time were Norm Bailey AM drive, Jack 'Patrick' O'Neil was the mid-morning with Gene LaVerne doing afternoons. Art Hume was the evening dj and Chuck O'Neil did the AM news.
In later years a fellow named Jim Dugas, an expert on Jazz, had a Jazz show late evenings. His signature was playing Amard Jamel music in the background as he would give some history about the next recording he was about to play.
Jim also was the best copywriter ever. He had a talent for writing copy that was very creative. He disliked formula ad agency stuff and worked hard to keep his copy fresh and original.
As the junior engineer, I would fill in the days off and the weekend shifts of the other three engineers. It was a great learning experience working with so many talented people. I was fortunate to have started in radio when I did. I was a crossover from the old radio environment of the early days to the more modern radio of today.
I have many fond memories of the talent I worked with. Who could forget Helen & Jimmy Lagios doing their Greek American Show. I can see Helen snapping her fingers which was very audible over the air, trying to get Jimmy's attention because wouldn't stop talking! Or Dennis Clow doing his imitation of Hitler between newscasts.
I'll never forget the day as I was leaving work after 1pm hearing Reggie Schow call me back saying you might want to hear some of this.....it was the Jack Kennedy assassination just unfolding!
Through my 43 years in broadcasting I have met and worked with many former WFEA folks like Bob Cohen, one of the most talented voices in radio and likely knows more about radio in New England than anyone. Bill Lawrence whom I worked with at a couple of different stations, and who could forget George Silverman with his 'Earth Shoes' who was later to own WFEA!
I'm sorry I couldn't attend your WFEA tribute. Will you be recording it to CD for purchase? If so please put me on your list. Many thanks to John Clayton for the Union Leader article. I have sent this to a couple of other folks that live in the midwest that were former employees at WFEA. Thanks again,
Bob Cook Derry, NH (e-mail)
September 28, 2007
NOTE TO WFEA ALUMNUS:
This Sunday, September 30th, we're celebrating WFEA's 75th birthday with a party for the general public and alumni. Complete details can be found here. We do need RSVP's, so please consider traveling from near and far for a Sunday afternoon with old friends. So far I'm sure Norm Thibeault, Jim Camilli, Al Carp, Konrad Kayne, Gary Lee Horn, Paul Belfay, Ken Cail, Cliff Blake, Jim Demetry, Lee Gordon, Bob Cohen, Dick Wholey, Warren Bailey, Dave Emerson and Dominic Biello will be there.
Ed Brouder, webmaster (and current WFEA morning news anchor)
September 24, 2007
Just a footnote to your WFEA History.
Summer of (I think 1975). I was looking to leave WKBK in Keene. I had a chat with what I figured was an interesting littl emna, Warren Bailey, who invited me to join the airstaff. I did the 7p-Midnight shift replacing SKY STEWART. Warren wasn't crazy about CHUCK HENRY, the name I was using at that time. He kind of liked ERIK WYLDE! So I did that for a bit.
Konrad Kayne showed up much later at WLNH (on my second go aound). Thought you'd be interested.
Konrad Kayne (e-mail)
September 24, 2007
I can't believe Don Anderson was going to WFEA as a kid in the forties and fifties. I was too. Don and I were neighbors as kids. We lived about 100 feet apart and played all the kid games in our neighborhood. I was going to WFEA to visit Gene Lavern about 1950. He played country music and did a live show on Sundays in Merrimack. He would invite me into his studio and encourage my interest in broadcasting.
After high school, I went to Northeast Broadcasting School in Boston. I worked as a disk jockey for a couple of years in Claremont and Hanover. I got my first news job in 1962 at WFEA, where I met my lifelong friend Pete Morrison. He was working as a disc jockey by the name of Jim Long. Pete and I later worked together at WKBR in the late 60's and again in the early 80's, before Pete moved to WMUR-TV to anchor the news.
I am now retired in North Palm Beach, FL.
Frank Haley (e-mail)
September 14, 2007
I received your invitation to the WFEA 75th. Thanks so much for thinking of me. I would love to attend and share some old memories, but I have a prior commitment on that day. If my plans change I will let you know.
Len Lawrence (Libman)(e-mail)
September 2, 2007
Greetings Ed and Fellow Former WFEAers!
"Sky Stewart" checking in! I just stumbled across your delightful WFEA website and have been wallowing in ancient memories. Kudos to all!
IT'S BEEN A L-O-O-N-G TIME: I remember Warren Bailey hiring me out of my first station (WMOU/WXLQ Berlin) and my taking over the evening shift from Johnny Tripp. I quickly realized I had to carve out my own niche, as Tripp had earned himself a very loyal following. But thanks to the influences of my personal faves Dick Biondi (I was a Chicago kid) and Dale Dorman (Boston was my home for high school and college), I was able to create my own wacky and wild early evening personality. Fellow staffers at that time included comic genius Dave Corey (who also ultimately pursued an acting career), chatty Dave Emerson - Mid-days, talented Cliff Blake ("Mike Harrison") in PM Drive and friendly Bill O'Neill late evenings (is that right?). And Lee Gordon...weren't you a sometime board-op at WRKO? (I was so-impressed!)
BY THE WAY: Am I the only one who viewed engineer Dick Wholey's collection of ghost photos??? Anyone have contact info for Dick? Let me know!
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: About 15 years ago, I ran into Evelyn Redmond who used to be the "office manager" or something at WFEA. It was YEARS later, when I had moved to Upstate New York! She had moved there too. I was in Albany for about ten years, first rocking in Morning Drive at WTRY ("McDougall in the Morning"), then News/Talking in Morning Drive at WQBK.
CIRCLE OF LIFE: After a circuitous career in radio, I transitioned into corporate and entertainment Public Relations, then Marketing for Walt Disney World. However...my first love has always been acting, which I have done from the early days - but only on a freelance basis. That is, until Disney kindly eliminated my department and gave me a healthy severance check, which freed me up to pursue an acting career full-time.
I've been at it for more than a decade and moved to Hollywood two years ago. So far, so good! In addition to Guest Star appearances on national television, small roles in a couple of feature films (the latest - "What Just Happened?" in a scene with Robert DeNiro, Bruce Willis and Stanley Tucci - to be released in 2008), a couple of small stage productions and a recurring role on the NBC Soap "Passions", I also have appeared briefly in a couple of music videos (Eurythmics' "I've Got a Life" and Christina Aguilera's "Hurt")...and I do a bit of voiceover work.
But here's the weird thing (cue Twilight Zone theme) : Not long ago, I was invited to join the cast of a live-on-stage RADIO drama with Samantha Eggar (Academy Award nominee), JoAnne Worley (of Laugh-In fame), Richard Herd (multiple Star Treks, T.J. Hooker and China Syndrome), etc. Please excuse the name-dropping, but it was an amazing cast - and a delightful and *humbling* experience. Even more jaw-dropping for me, Richard Herd later asked me to join the Antaeus Theatre Company for a stage-reading of a play which included in the cast one of my early IDOLS, Philip Proctor (anyone remember Firesign Theatre???). We have since become pals.
The founder of the radio drama company, California Artists Radio Theatre, Peggy Webber (a lovely veteran actress with endless credits) asked me to join the Board of Directors and become its webmaster, which is a hobby of mine. So, after all these years I'm BACK in the radio biz (sort-of)! Thus completes "The Circle".
PLEASE CONTACT ME: Former WFEA-ers and old fans, at your convenience. I'd love to hear from you! I am actually "Robert Stewart McDougall" - but when I joined SAG, there already was a "Robert McDougall" - stunt actor - so I had to come up with something else...combining my longtime airname with my real moniker.)
Fond memories and the very best wishes to all!
July 24, 2007
Thanks for alerting me to your history of WFEA. It was fun reading of many I knew or heard about.
WFEA was a stop I never envisioned. I am happily going along at WKBR when Ralph Gottlieb suddenly announced he had sold the station. Three hours later, Bob Gold called me and we set up a meeting which resulted in my coming to WFEA as Sales Manager and then, Station Manager once he could move his present Manager back to Portland. It took longer than expected, but when it happened, it gave me what I needed to be ready for another unexpected turn. I left to become an owner and the working partner at WCMX, Leominster. Many memories, mostly great. Unfortunately, my dear wife of forty two years, Sally, passed away from the results of cancer. Now, I'm retired, remarried and living in Punta Gorda, FL.
Vaya Con Dios,
DonnDonn Parker (e-mail)
July 22, 2007
Another member of WFEA's illustrious past has passed away. Dave Thibault spent six years in the 1980s reporting news for WFEA. He left in 1987 to become press secretary for then Representative (now U.S. Senator Judd Gregg). He later worked as a general assignment reporter for WJLA-TV in Washington. Dave's later career included hosting TV programs for the Republican National Committee. In 2000 he joioned the Media Research Center and launched the Cybercast News Service in 2005.
Dave battled testicular cancer and leukemia. He was only 49 when he died July 20, 2007. He left his wife, Lisa Gagnon, and three children. Read a commentary from CNS colleague Susan Jones.
Ed Brouder, webmaster (e-mail)
June 9, 2007
It is with regret that I report the passing of former WFEA Station Manager Stuart H. Flanders, Jr. He died June 9, 2007 in Blue Hill, Maine after a three-year battle against bladder cancer.
Stu's radio career began after his graduation from Boston University in 1963. He worked his way through the annoucning and sales ranks of WTSV A/F Claremont, NH and WEIM Fitchburg, MA. In 1971 he segued to Maine as General Manager of WLOB in Portland. In 1976 he made the move to WFEA under the ownership of Phil Corper and Bob Gold's Ocean Coast Properties. He later founded Flanders & Skeffington ad agency in Bedford with the late Peter Skeffington. Since 1990 he ran Herrick Bay Associates, Inc., in Maine. Condolences to his wife and children.
Ed Brouder, webmaster (e-mail)
May 10, 2007
When i think of WFEA i have one clear recollection. Summer of 1972 (i was 15) "WFEA & The Dept. of Parks and Recreation's Presents The Summer Happenings at the JFK Coliseum and Holman Stadium in Nashua. Hosted by Johnny Tripp & Penrod Rideout." Free concerts every weekend through the summer. Did i say they were FREE? After the concert we would head on down to Howdy BeefBurgers on Elm St. I don't remember the line up at those concerts but legend has it that one or more of the following appeared at The Summer Happenings, Peter Wolf, Boston and or Aerosmith. Does anyone have any info? That was a good time and never repeated.
March 19, 2007
It's been decades since I saw Vic (I called him Penrod) when we worked together at WFEA in the 70s. What I remember most about Penrod was his enthusiasm. A while back, while Googling, I was pleased to discover that he had become a prolific author and self-help guru. What he lacked in formal education he more than made up for in creativity. He was exactly the kind of person the radio industry needs more of (but these days seems to have fewer of): someone who understood that radio's greatest strength is the personal connection between the person on this side of the mic and the person on that side of the speaker. He also knew that radio is supposed to be fun. Working with him, it was.
Lee Gordon (e-mail)
March 18, 2007
Wow. That gave me more than a moment's pause. I didn't know Vic but for a short while, having come to FEA shortly after his departure. Well, his leaving was responsible for my eventually getting the morning show. That was certainly a daunting task, as "Penrod Rideout" was a talent to be reckoned with. Jo-Ann (who worked in Traffic when Vic was there) just told me that, yes, he sure was "generous, thoughtful, and upbeat". She recalls the day she left the station, and he presented her with a big box of candy and flowers. He was also very much there for her during those awful days after she lost her fiance in Vietnam. I didn't think anything could top the sadness of losing Brad Delp this past week; I was wrong. Just another reminder of how we've got to cherish the friends we have and to reconnect with those with whom we've lost touch, and to be loving and forgiving souls . . . with every passing day. Much love to all,
Dave and Jo-Ann Corey (e-mail)
January 23, 2007
Does anyone remember or know where Bill Shane is today ? He was an on air personality in the 1970's on WFEA. He also worked at a station in CT and on WSNO in Barre, VT either before or after WFEA, I forget. He used to let me sit in and visit the control room when he was on WSNO when I was young. I thought he was very good, entertaining , and a nice guy. I hope someone has some info on him or about him.
Thank You, Richard Scribner (e-mail)
Ed's note: I remember Bill Shane as someone who worked at WGIR in Manchester before I started in November 1975. Anyone have any idea where he is today?
September 28, 2006
I was so happy to see that you have a site allowing viewers to ‘go back’ into the past. Gene Newcomb was my dad, a baritone who left home when he was sixteen years of age to pursue a ‘Hollywood’ career in California. He not only was a very gifted musician but he was also a wonderful father, friend and husband.
He and my mother married in their late 30’s after WWII ended. Both enlisted in the Army; my dad was with the CSO and my mom was a nurse anesthetist. We have a reel of a movie taken during the war that depicts our mom assisting doctors in surgery. Our mom told us many stories of soldiers who were injured and in need of the MASH unit’s excellent skills.
My sister, Louise Newcomb Robert from Raymond, has many photo albums of my dad’s musical career. He had a beautiful baritone voice and could play both piano and organ. My mom couldn’t hold a note! They were the best parents a child could have as they always put my sister and me first. Although we weren’t rich in money and both worked full-time jobs, they always found time to share with us. Dad was home every weekend but our mother worked every other weekend. Dad was the chief cook in the house. Every weekend that our mother didn’t work we would go to a lake for a picnic. I remember so many good times we shared with them.
Thank you so much for giving me a glimpse into the past when days were enjoyably long and filled with so much love.
Donna Newcomb Williams, Candia, NH (e-mail)
August 8, 2006
I haven't thought about WFEA since my last "dead air" nightmare. What a great site, Ed. The late 70s early 80s were one of the best times of my life, despite being tagged with the name "April Love" from Rick Ryder. It was my first radio job in the US, and I was in my late teens/early 20s, a mere child. I remember Rick adding disco to our music line ups, and the aftermath (the 3rd shifters at Velcro hated it), can almost remember the color coded carts and the time clock that went with them, and when Rick got really mad and made me leave early during my 2 week notice period for playing "Born to be Wild" during the wrong time slot. Naughty April. Damn, I miss those days, and the great people I worked with. Gary Lee Horn, Neil Jackson, Mike Yardley, and yes, even Rick :-).
At least when I went to Channel 9, WKBR and WLNH later, I got to use my real name.
Mikki Barry aka April Love (e-mail)
March 21, 2006
I have loved radio all my life and grew up listening to WFEA 1370 kHz during the 1960's and 70's. My father was one of the original 'cowboy singers' on WFEA in the 1930's but I dont know what name he used on the air. Keep up the great work & long live radio!
Frederick Moe, Warner, NH (e-mail)
this is mike yardley, news director at wfea from 1980-82... great job on the tribute page. i particularly enjoyed reading the recollections. the day i will always remember was called "the day the music died"... by our pd rick ryder. i was on the air doing the news in march 1980..when the homemade reverb unit blew out. (i believe dick whooley, the former engineer) built it. "air" sounded so flat after that, until we got a professional "optimod". wfea was the most fun i have ever had in broadcasting.
i went on to work in orlando, for wtop in washington and abc radio. i'm now at cnn international in atlanta, where i do voiceovers for promos, as well as write and edit news stories. i remember the summer of 1979, when "new wave" music came in... and i still have a top 100 chart, cut out of the union leader. thanks for creating the tribute page.
mike yardley (e-mail)
October 3, 2005:
Nancy Donellan (the Fabulous Sports Babe) met then WFEA P.D. Warren Bailey while she was interning at WRKO where he was also moonlighting doing Saturday news (which didn't last long) and brought her to Manchester for a brief gig.
Sorry to hear about Eddie B. Baker. Had the chance to work with him at 'KBR when he returned during the brief period Holland Cooke flipped it back to top 40 around 1980. Eddie at the time had his Eddie B. Baker Trio that played at Salisbury Beach.
Keep up the good work. I really enjoy reading about classic Manchester radio. I hope someday when you have time you do something about the old days on the Seacoast around the mid to late 70's with WDNH, WBBX, WTSN,, WHEB FM 100/AM 75, WWNH, or old Bob Lindner on WKXR. That was a fun time to be in radio. There may be a few of us left in the business who cut their teeth working on those stations. Take care!
Tim Riley (e-mail)
August 17, 2005:
I guess I was at WFEA from Sept '68 to Apr '69.
I remember we had a blizzard that winter that was one for the record books. I had been hired to work midnight till 6am, Nic Howard was moved up to 7-mid. As I recollect, that move was to fill Rod Ewing's move to WAAB in Worcester. Anyway, I was living in Wolfeboro, an hour north of Manchester and as I drove in to work one night it was snowing pretty hard. By the time I got to the station there was about a foot of snow in the parking lot and it was still coming down hard. I didn't think too much about it till about 3am and calls started coming for cancellations; schools, businesses and factory shifts were canceling like crazy. I liked being busy cause it helped me stay alert and made the time pass quickly. The next thing I knew it was 5:45 am and George Stevens called to say he would be late. When I asked if he was stuck in the snow, he replied "Hell No! My car is in the driveway, I just can't find it!" He told me to go look, which I did, and I couldn't even open the front door (which opened out) of the station. I turned on the office light and looked out the glass next to the door and there was 5 feet of snow blocking me in.
February 4, 2005:
The Day We Got Attacked (this really happened on February 20, 1971)
I was on the air one weekend, and it was customary for us to get an EBS test over the Teletype machine at around noontime. You remember those, they started with: "This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this were an actual emergency you would be instructed"…. etc., etc.
In the WFEA main studio there was a large red light bulb affixed to the wall that lit up when this message came over the newswire. What amazing technology. It was the operators' duty to then rip off the message, enter it into the daily transmitter log as having been received, date and time duly noted. You then ran a test on the air, if instructed to. It happened week in and week out. It was always a pain in the ass.
I'm sure many of you recall that WFEA was one of those medium market stations that, by law, had to have a first class engineer on duty at all times in the building. Many of us went to special schools that offered crash courses in getting our second and then first class licenses just so we could work at stations that had that requirement. None of us, with the exception of Uncle Al, and our chief engineer, actually knew diddly-sqaut about the subject. But we had the required license and that was enough. If we needed actual engineering work done our chief engineer Dick Whooley (or Uncle Al) would do the dirty work.
Anyway, another typical Saturday midday and my trusty red light goes on. I trudge over to the newswire located in a closet in the hallway. There I see the EBS message and rip it off the machine. Only this time it's different. This time it displays words I'll never forget even after these thirty long years: THIS IS NOT A TEST. THIS IS AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY. THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES IS UNDER ATTACK BY A FORIEGN POWER. REPEAT. THIS IS NOT A TEST THIS IS AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY.
The rest I don't remember, because my heart was somewhere securely lodged in my throat. I was alone in the station; it was the weekend after all. In those days we were all still under the threat of nuclear attack. We had a good old-fashioned cold war on at all times with the Soviets. My training had told me exactly what to do. Holding my throat, gasping for air and thinking only of my little girl, Tiffany at home with her mother, full of panic and wildly flailing my arms like a cuckoo bird, with sudden dispatch I went to the behemoth of a transmitter and shut her off, completely. There. We were off the air. Whew!
What next? All right, call the chief engineer. I breathlessly read Dick the message and told him I brilliantly had already shut the station off the air. "You idiot!" he said. "You're supposed to check the veracity of the message and then read a warning with instructions on the air before shutting the whole goddamn station down!" He was very patient with me.
It seems that I was supposed to take the newswire message and look for a codeword. These code words would always look very military, like: 'fox-charley-fox', 'operation round ring', 'black alley mission', and so on. "Well, is it there you dumbbell?" Whooley asked me. "Yep! Black March- Charley Fox" it says. (NOTE:I don't remember the actual code word because I was pissing my pants at the time and it felt sticky on my leg.) "OK, now go into the studio and open the sealed envelope on the wall. But first turn the friggin' radio station transmitter back on, you moron!"
I waddled back, shaking my left leg to try and dry my pants out as I walked to the gargantuan transmitter and flipped it back on. Now to this mysterious envelope. It was there too! A large manila envelope that said that if you broke the seal and opened the envelope you would be committing a felony; the federal kind that would put you in jail for years. Now I felt really scared. I would be spending next Christmas in a federal penitentiary; I just knew it.
"Open it, you dead head!" I could hear Dick in my head, even though I had laid the phone down in the other room. Trembling I opened the envelope. I saw that each day of the year was listed and along side of the date were more of those damn military-sounding code words, one for each day of the year. I scanned down to today's' date and right next to it was MY code word (by now I was starting to take this as very personal) "Black March- Charley Fox" it said.
"Then it's the real thing, you dunderdolt!" Whooley coolly explained to me in his most professional voice. "You need to take the announcement sheet out of the envelope and read it on the air---then---and only then, can you turn the transmitter off, you absolute shithead, crap for brains DJ!" Then he hung up! Just like that! Not a worry in his pretty little, filled with calculations, diodes, Ohm's Law, wave patterned head.
I did what he said and told my 3 listeners that we were going off the air and to tune into official EBS radio stations for more details on this human disaster, the likes of which we had never, ever seen before in our lives. They would easily find these designated EBS stations on their radio dial because THEY WERE THE ONLY STATIONS THAT WOULD BE LEFT ON THE AIR TO LISTEN TO. That we would all be dead soon, anyway, so, good luck to you all! And I signed off.
That was how it was supposed to work anyway. I later learned from Mr. Whooley that the envelope I opened had to be turned in each year UNOPENED, if you please, and a new set of code words would be issued. Additionally, by going off the air, we along with hundreds and thousands of other dutiful radio stations would leave the airwaves clear for those specially designated EBS stations to continue unimpeded with their vital broadcasts. In New England I think that station in our area was WBZ out of Boston.
So, I went to our studio radio and tuned in WBZ-they were not broadcasting the truth! They were doing a sport show. Imagine that! The world was going to explode any minute and those jerk offs were telling me how the Celtics did last night. I spun the dial to WRKO-and listen! They WERE off the air too! But WHDH was still on, as were several others. What was going on?
I'll call the White House! Really, I did. (I was young, you know---and the pee had finally started to dry on my leg---and I was getting curious). The phone rang. It rang some more. It kept ringing and finally…. "Hello, The White House Main Switchboard. How may I help you?" "I work at a radio station in Manchester, New Hampshire…WFEA. We got an EBS message that says the continental United States is under attack by a foreign power. You know anything about it?" I felt very official, like a real newsman or something. "No, we aren't aware of any such message. You might try the Pentagon." She gave me the number, but I thought it was surrealistic that she sounded so calm when sweat balls were tumbling down my cheeks.
I dialed the number to the Pentagon. It rang. It rang some more. It rang for five full minutes. Of course it's ringing with no answer, I realized. The people in the Pentagon were under those concrete bunker shelters! Saving THEIR measly little butts while the rest of us were obliterated like those wind swept fake houses that simply BLEW APART in those films I'd seen of what happens when an A-Bomb goes off.
I slammed the phone down. Checked the stations on the air again. They were all doing the same WRONG thing. Maybe the newswire had something. I opened the closet door, looked at the messages and sure enough, several fits and starts that seemed to say: "Uh, Oh! We screwed up!" It was very unclear. Two messages had stopped in mid-sentence followed by others that were sent to try and clear the situation up. I called our chief engineer back.
"Dick, there are more messages now saying that the original EBS was a mistake. So I guess we can go back on the air, I'll turn the transmitter back on now." "No, no, no, no! you absolute cretin. You have to authenticate one of those messages again. There should be another code-word that shows you it is a legitimate message, imbicile."
Sure enough, the genius was right and the code word was there. I then could turn the station back on and read another message and continue broadcasting our fantastic "Young American" regular programming.
This all really happened, friends. It seems that a lonely little soldier located in the mountain that contains NORAD had the duty of selecting a cart (you remember carts don't you?) sliding it into a machine and punching 'play'. This cart contained the announcement we all know so well…"This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this had been an actual emergency you would have been instructed…." (Except if you were listening to WFEA, and a dozen other idiot Major Market radio stations)…on what to do!" This one message is relayed coast-to-coast and activates a relay to the AP and UPI to copy the message and notify radio stations everywhere. Instead that lone soldier had chosen the OTHER cart and punched play. The rest is history.
What amazes me is that this never became a really big news item. It was 'glossed over' and hardly a mention was ever made of this utter failure in broadcasting and by government to protect us in the event of an attack. I can understand why. After all, mass media would look like incompetent operators, and they have never been famous for reporting on their own failures, and government was equally remiss in their duty to save us; no suprise---politicians cover there butts like a groundhog in January. The EBS system was a fraud and didn't work.
Anyway, that's one story from my days at WFEA. A time when I loved radio more than... well just about anything. You can't buy memories like that!
I'll have to wait until next time to relate the second story...how a young DJ gets his whole career completely screwed over by a heartless, selfish GM! Stay tuned.
Victor K. Pryles AKA Penrod Rideout
February 1, 2005:
Hey I am still alive, even after all those years in Radio.
I enjoyed every minute at WFEA until Bud Neuwirth showed up. Tried to hire me back a couple of months later, told him he could no longer afford me.
Anyway, worked with "Chris Michels" later in Vermont at WJJR with Bruce Lyons.
Bob Kennedy and I lost our collective asses on Cape Cod some years later with WFOX. What a disaster. Retired from radio and now sell yachts.
Drop me a line if you have time.
Rudy Nelson (e-mail)
February 1, 2005:
I was hired by Rick Ryder back in 1983 after moving up to the Boston area from Tampa Fl. I only was with WFEA about a year but had a great time. Rick was doing mornings, I did mid days, Keith Lemire afternoons and I think Eric Damon was on in the evening. We all had a great time. One of my memories is the time we went up to Portand, at least I think it was Portland, to do a TV spot for the station. The plot was Ryder getting ready to do his morning show and we were all there to help him get ready. I cant remember how many takes it took but I remember being there all day. WFEA had a great sound at that time. Ryder kept it tight and moving throughout the day. The music and the jocks were all bright and lively and it was allot of fun.
One other thing that was fun was doing a simulcast with the BBC. I cant remember why we were doing it but I was on their air and they were on ours it was live and I remember it went off without any major problems.
After I left WFEA I worked at a few stations in Boston and left the business in 1991. I at times miss it but all and all I'm happy with my new career. Hope to see a few more memories come up on the sight and thanks for all the work you put into it. Take care.
Ron Scott (e-mail)
January 5, 2005:
Funny that Ed Brouder should send this new site reminder to me at this time of year-- my friend Chuck Tately was visiting over New Years' and we were just reminiscing about the old days at WUNH where lots of NH broadcasters got their start. Lindsay Collins, Moe Quirin, Dana (Lee) Gordon, Rick Bean among loads of others rolled through the UNH station on their way to broadcasting fame & fortune. I worked at WFEA from 1974-1976, getting hired by Vic Pryles and fired by Warren Bailey! Warren and I still laugh about THAT each year at the Ch. 11 auction! I was at 'FEA during the turbulent transition from Bud Neuwirth to Bob Gold, et al. I graduated from UNH and was working parttime at WHEB with Floyd, Duncan and Andy and wasn't going to transition from parttime to fulltime so my job search led me to a night shift (9pm-1am) at 'FEA. I wish you could have seen the look on my face when Vic told me that my air name was going to be Mike Harrison! Dana explained why: the jock shout was already in the can and the company wasn't about spend any money to get a "Cliff Blake" shout recorded! (as a funny aside, I ended up hiring the original Mike Harrison in 1988 while I was PD at WZLX, and Mike then replaced me as PD there in '89!)
Rememberences of WFEA? How about Evelyn Redmond's platinum blonde behive hairdo? How about Dick Whooley (sp?) taking me outside to the base of the tower and telling me how tower climbers had to climb partly upside-down to climb the angled lower half of the tower! And demonstrating how to climb it while the station was on the air, one had to leap from a ladder through the air to grab the tower so not to be toasted. (Always wondered at that tale..) And funniest, was Susan Wornick. While I was doing 9pm to 1am, Susan would leave me a taped reel-to-reel newscast to be played at 1am just before signoff. One night, as my shift was ending, I cued up the newstape like any other night, cueing it to the piece of paper Susan always put in the reel at the head of the newscast. "Skuuu-ruup skuuu-ruup" I cue the tape. Hit the news intro/ID and hit the taped newscast. Susan gets about a minute into the news when she hits a name in a story and flubs it. From the transmitter room taking readings I hear: "Shit. Take Two" and she starts the news all over again. My jaw is on the floor. Susan gets to the SAME name and flubs the name AGAIN! "F**k! I did it AGAIN... Take three..." This time... whew! She gets all the way through. My first fulltime job... I'm ready to be fired. But there wasn't one call about it. Saved!
Cliff Blake (e-mail)
January 4, 2005:
What a treat hearing from Palmer Payne on this site! I grew up listening to him on WNAC and then WRKO and I gotta say, he was one of the best "top 40" newsmen ever, as well as a consummate pro for years on WCBS. Great to see Al Carp's posting, too. Sorry I did such a lousy job of training him for his first shift! Not having Al on the air somewhere in the area today is a real crime.
I worked at WFEA from l969-72, mostly part-time but fulltime for the last four months I was there. I had the BEST general manager I ever worked for there...as well as the worst. I won't mention the name of the drunken tyrant who was the worst...a guy who would belittle the air staff publicly on a whim....but Rudy Nelson was the absolute BEST! knew what he wanted, knew what sounded good, knew how to motivate his staff to win, and believed in having fun on the radio! I started there in July '69 filling in for Chuck Avia on the overnight shift. Went fulltime there in February '72 and it went downhill from there. I hated signing the place on at 5 am when often one-half of the transmitter wouldn't fire up and the AP wire was clogged somewhere in the middle of the night so there was nothing to read on that god-awful half-hour "News in Review" committment we had to run every morning. I wonder where Philip James Lagios is now? a dedicated, hard-working News Director who was funny as hell, easy to work with, and knew everybody. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and Phil had a great upbringing both personally and professionally from his parents, Jimmy and Helen, two mainstays of NH ethnic programming for many years. It was gratifying, too, to be on the air weekend evenings and get calls from Long Island NY and New Jersey. Folks down there really loved the "Hitpower" format!
Bob Cohen, aka R.W. Churchill (e-mail)
January 1, 2005:
Just a couple of memories: When I joined WFEA, around Sept. 1954 as News Director, Al Rock was PD. On Saturday afternoons he did play-by-play and I did color on Dartmouth College Football games (possibly becuz the G.M., Norton Virgien, was an alum). We did all of the home games from Hanover plus one away game each season. I recall traveling to Yale, Brown and UNH which means I was there at least thru the Fall of '56. In March, 1956 we were visited by "royalty", Walter Cronkite and a crew from CBS NY, plus Charlie Ashley of WEEI, Boston hit the area to cover the NH Primary. On primary night the entire CBS coverage of the results, titled "Campaign '56: The New Hampshire Primary" was a 25 min. radio show (no TV!) w/Cronkite doing results from The Concord Monitor and Lou Cioffi at The Union-Leader in Manchester. A memorable experience for me, whom they picked to do the open and close, live, coast-to-coast on CBS, heady stuff for a 25 yr. old in those days. A few days before I remember Walter preparing to do a feed from the studio which had an outside widow facing north toward a wooded area. A herd of deer came to the edge of the clearning and Walter was fascinated. He said something like, "How wonderful it must be for you to work in a place like this" as he watched the deer feeding. I offered to trade jobs with him. He laughed. When I first arrived at WFEA, our morning man was Big Jim Bennett (Bonnette), originally from Louisiana. He was romantically involved w/a gorgeous Italian gal whose first name was, I believe, Dottie. Last name unremembered. Anyhow, Jim left the station---and perhaps Dottie went with him, not sure---and some time later a couple of gentlemen with badges showed up to ask about him, requesting any recent photos we might have, etc. Seems he was wanted in some other state for armed robbery! When Al Rock left to become one of the owners of the new WSMN in Nashua, they made me PD for a brief time---a big mistake cuz I knew little and cared less about pop music. Not long after that, I joined WGIR as News Director w/Bernie Mack as GM & Donn Tibbetts was PD, a reunion of sorts, cuz I'd worked w/ Donn at WKXL,Concord the summer of 1952, my first fulltime job after getting out of the army.
Guess I've rambled more than intended. Keep up the good work. Maybe I'll see you in the Spring at The Media Gang luncheon in Randolph, MA.
Palmer Payne (e-mail)
December 31, 2004:
Glad to see you've added the "Recollections" section to your excellent WFEA pages. Rod Ewing mentioned the fast-paced format with intro and outro clocks and index cards with one-liners but the thing I remember most about that "always over music" format was the conversion charts on the wall which indicated how many turntable revolutions corresponded to the length of each jingle cart. The idea was that you would cue a record to the beginning of the vocal, then spin it backward according to the number on the chart, talk over the outro of the song that was ending and then simultaneously start the the record (pot down) and hit the jingle, and finally pot up the record so that the vocal began just as the jingle ended, effectively "talking up" the record with the jingle. I'm not sure the listeners ever cared but it sure was fun to do. Al Carp mentioned some of the classic Granny Goose-inspired names (Tom Foolery, Hap Hazzard, etc.) as well the various nomes-de-plume that Bob Cohen used. I believe he also used one other. If memory serves me correctly, when Bob was working as a newsman at WRKO, he would occasionally phone in a report to WFEA news as Hammond Egger.
Speaking of wacky names, about 6 months after Bob Raines (a/k/a Tom Foolery) hired me to do weekends, he left the station and was replaced as PD by Vic Pryles, known on the air as Penrod Rideout. (BTW, I recently discovered via Googling that Vic has become a prolific self-help author.) Penrod would occasionally require someone with a perfectly air-worthy name to take on a new identity based upon having a jingle on the shelf. Thus he once had a guy named Bob Smith (not the one known as "Buffalo Bob" or the one who became Wolfman Jack) take on a different identity. And the guy whose real name is as good an air name as there ever was, Cliff Blake, had to become Mike Harrison because there was a Mike Harrison name shout already in the can.
As you can see, by that time the goofy names had been discontinued. As I recall, Dom Biello had chosen Hap Hazzard as the lesser of two evils. I'm not sure anybody ever ended up with the option he rejected: Buster Cherry.
Lee Gordon (e-mail)
December 30, 2004:
Just found this website...very well done. I was the original 'Jim Long" in 1962. I walked out during my shift, because Jim Camilli the PD at the time, was screaming in my headphones to 'Pick up the pace" of my delivery. I went on to co-found TM Productions. Thanks for the memories.
Jim Long (e-mail)
P.S. "JC that's me", was a real trip to work for ...he hired me because I sounded like "Bill Marlow", then wanted me to do a faced paced show....Huh?. We had a great newsman at FEA in those days , Dennis Clow...he also did evening booth work at the local ABC affiliate. Fortunately I do not have a air check from WFEA, just the horrible memories of "JC".
December 30, 2004:
Richard Scott Holliday started at WFEA doing morning drive in the fall of '69 with the on air name "BEEP BEEP". Rudy Nelson, GM, created a contest for the listeners to guess Beep Beep's name. Even I did not know my name. Apparently Rudy wasnt going to trust the new guy with the contest booty. Can't blame him, after a few days of calling myself BEEP BEEP, I would have gladly called the Bill Lawrence, Granny Goose or the Johnny Tripp Shows with a disguised voice and claimed the prize ... just to have a name....Rudy ran the contest for a few weeks...finally Beep Beep threatened to quit or would begin using any name, Rudy caved and issued some easy clues... and Richard Scott Holliday emerged. I wasnt quite sure who RSH was but enjoyed watching that character grow in that field in Merrimack under the shadow of that old Blaw Knox tower. I climbed it and relamped it one spring midnight. There are many stories to share, it was a super year. I loved the people in Manchester. Rudy Nelson ..... I swear if we'd turned off the lights he would have glowed. His energy, imagination and love of radio inspired not just the annoucers but the sales team and office staff. During that year, Bill Lawrence was PD, then Bill went to WMEX, he was replaced by Len Talbot of WORC, Worcester. Len took over my morning show and I went to 5-9pm . Sometime during my stay, Goose went to KUDL in Kansas City. He returned in the early summer of 70 as PD, he brought back a fast paced stop clock format....all DJ talk would be over music. There were two stop clocks, one for intros the other for extros....and a bunch of one liners on index cards.... Fortunately I was hired at WDRC a week before the clocks began ticking.....the ratings came out months later indicating that the crew over at the BB Shoe Factory weren't into clocks or one liners. Please tell me you have a Dick Brown air check....he and I worked opposite one another mid-days in Worcester. I kept a transistor radio in my pocket with an ear plug under my headset and listened to him as much as doing my show would permit. At the time I was dating the entertainment columnist for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette...so my name and comments about my show would appear in her column often...Brown would say...GAWD! I dont know what Ron Allen is doing to this gal...gotta be good...cause she can't seem to get him off her mind when she's at work!!! Dick Brown with his booming voice and stellar intellect was amazing. Can you tell me what became of Richard Stockton Brown. Goose was so in awe of Brown, he named his pet cat, Stockton. Bill Lawrence and Dick were close friends.
Finally, Ed once again I offer my thanks and appreciation for all that you have done and continue to do on behalf of radio, the most magical of all media, the people of radio and the heyday when they were Live!
Rod Ewing (e-mail)
December 16, 2004:
Wow, I looked at your History of WFEA (1960's + 70's in particular) and was blown away. What a trip down memory lane. My name is (and was) Al Carp and I'd like to add some of my recollections from that era.
When Bill Lawrence (now of WBZ) was the PD at WFEA, they needed someone at the last minute for Christmas Eve and Bob Cohen suggested me. No resume or tape or interview. I got to the station 1/2 hour before my shift... Bob was finishing his shift and "broke me in"... He said, "Well Al, here's the board the music is there and the logs are here. The transmitter is over there in the next room." And he left... So it was like an on-air audition I guess. Anyway, they kept using me.
I was there in 1969 doing weekends and fill-in while still a student at Emerson. They offered me a full time job after graduation but I told them I was taking the summer off and traveling to Europe (which I did). When I got back from my travels I was doing 5-9PM M-F and a weekend shift. When Mid-day DJ and PD Granny Goose decided that everyone should have funny names (like his) Johnny Tripp and I did not change our names..
By the time WFEA switched to the "HITPOWER" format (Fall of 1970) they already had jingles with "funny names" for current line up and future air talent. The jingles were custom recorded at Berkeley School of Music and then edited at WFEA by Granny Goose. The Century jingles did not have the ROCK punch the station wanted and Century would not buy jingles from a rival company. They were trying to copy the format of a station that had big success in another state (major market).
As I recall, Bob Cohen was there as... was it Lew Roberts? I could never remember all the names he used on all the stations he's been with. I'll ask him next time I see him... He's recently retired from Voice of America and doing some stuff in New London, CT - Bob and I became friends in High School and I got him interested in radio....but I digress. After the funny names came in, Bob (who was not always full time) changed his name to one that was already "in the can" (had a jingle) and he then became RW Churchill.
You mentioned one of my favorite names (and guys), Hap Hazard (Dominic Biello). Hap later went from WFEA to WKBR as Chris Michaels (I think) a name he carried with him to Laconia NH and used until the last few years... He's now using his real name still on-air in Laconia.
By the way, I was also known as Uncle Al Carter on WKBR in 1974 (under Tom Holt PD) before I returned to Post Graduate studies at Columbia. My claim to fame at KBR was giving out concert tickets to streakers.... while I was doing a break someone (Chris Michaels) came in the studio and whispered that the Police were at the studio because of the ticket situation. I piped up and made him repeat his comment on mic, then said, "Well Uncle Al does not grant any special favors, if the officers want tickets they have to take off their uniforms and streak through the station like all the other winners...". Jim McCann, the GM and also one of 3 Police Commissioners for Manchester hid in his office at the station and told the sec's that he was OUT... but all that's another story.
I do have a few other tidbits, like Bob Raines (now Beau) replacing Bill Blizard evenings (opposite me) on WKBR. We all thought it was a gimmick, Raines replacing Blizard, but Raines was his real name! Then Beau leaving WKBR to return to Northeastern University where he was under the Co-op program (some semesters off to work in specified field) and, in the process, jumping to WFEA to do weekends as Tom Foolery. He eventually replaced Granny Goose as PD. Later I was engineering full time at WRKO/WROR and working on-air for Beau at WFEA on weekends. John H. Garabedian heard me on WFEA and invited me to replace Bud Ballou full time at the old WMEX 1510. That's when my name changed to Al Carter and then John added the Uncle. I digress again, sorry but your article on WFEA brings back so many good memories (thank you).
Rudy Nelson (Jeff Trueheart) was an interesting GM. I asked why our two WFEA news cars had different numbers displayed on each side of the car. One side said WFEA Mobile Unit 4 while the other side of the car had Unit 7. Similar with the other car but two different numbers. Rudy said it would make it seem like we had a larger fleet.
Thanks for your web site and the great WFEA information. I still have my WFEA Basketball uniform shirt around here somewhere. And some old Airchecks.
Al Carp, aka Uncle AL Carter (e-mail)
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