Friday, December 2, 2016

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #307

BEFORE WNEP, THERE WAS A WARM TV 

WNEP TV actually started out as WARM TV. But it has always been known as Channel 16. When Bill Scranton joined Union Broadcasting, things started to happen. Scranton was not only an advisor but was known as "a substantial stockholder". One of the big happenings was the advent of Channel 16 starting out as WARM TV. All that was needed when this appeared in the press was FCC approval.
Here is the article about it from June 20th 1952 in The Tribune from our good friend and contributor Joe Klapatch. 
(Click on article to enlarge)

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #308

BILL SCRANTON JOINS WARM 

When WARM Radio was 12 years old in 1952, William Warren Scranton was the future Congressman, Governor, Presidential candidate, Ambassador and lifelong diplomat. That was the future. 
However in '52 Scranton joined Union Broadcasting and WARM Radio in an Advisory position. It was an exciting time for WARM because just days after this article was published on June 27th in The Tribune, WARM went to the storied 5,000 watts of power. 
Here's that article courtesy of our good friend and 590 Forever contributor Joe Klapatch. (Click on photo to enlarge).

Saturday, November 19, 2016

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #309

CHRISTMAS IN WARM-LAND BEGINS 

Two big Santa parades went on in both Scranton and Wilkes Barre today. Big crowds turned out in both cities and it reminded me of the role WARM Radio played in the Holiday season. WARM had contests, Santa Parades, Coat drives, you name it. WARM’s promotions were legend and in the old days usually started after Thanksgiving. 
At today’s parade WARM Sensational 7 member Tom Woods showed up and is shown here with Paula Deignan-Reynolds the wife of former WARM newsman Bob Reynolds. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #310

THE WOODY GUY
 (Photo below: WNEP.com)
 Bob Woody at the Lehman Horse Show circa 1970s. (Photo: Dallas Post)
Word came this week through Social Media that Bob Woody died at the age of 73. Woody was an iconic radio host on WARM, WSCR, WBQW, WBAX and WILK. Woody also did a weekly show on WNEP TV 16 featuring the comedy antics of The Three Stooges.
Later Woody ran a successful ad agency called naturally enough, "The Ad Agency" and was a fierce advocate for his clients.
Woody arrived when I was living in Washington, D.C. in 1972 but I got to know him along with the reputation he was carving out as a radio personality. Years later I worked with him on a regional "Twin Valleys" project to build cultural bridges between Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties. He was someone who challenged you and made you better.
Bob always told me that "If you say you are going to do something, do it". That stuck with me in every endeavor I always took part in. Bob Woody was a great inspiration to people who had the privilege to work with him and know him. He might have died but certainly not his lessons of life. They still live on. Check out other editions of 590 Forever about Bob Woody. 
 http://david-yonki.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html
 http://david-yonki.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html
Here's his obit: Robert M. Woody, 73, of Pittsburgh, PA, went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, October 29, 2016. He was born August 6, 1943, a son of late Maude Woody and Kenneth Woody. He was a man of many talents, in his early years a popular disc jockey & his later years, a business owner, using his unremarkable talents of TV and radio, operating his own company, the Ad Agency. Bob & friend, the great Harry Chapin would do free shows at local events in the Wilkes-Barre Scranton area to raise awareness and money for "World Hunger". Bob became a pilot and was recognized by the FAA for exceeding high education, licensing and medical standards established by the FAA. He was also very involved and a proud supporter of the innovative ideas of Warner Erhard a critical thinker helping individuals, groups & organizations with integrity, performance, leadership and positive transformation. He is survived by his loving wife of many years, Rene LaSpina; brother Kenneth Woody, sister-in-law, Katie, niece Debbie Yankovitch & nephew, Kenny Jr., daughter, Bobbie Ragsdale, son-in-law, Jack Ragsdale, grandfather of Heather Pastor, great grandfather of MacKenzie Suncine & Brandon Suncine. The family would like to thank the staff at the Roswell Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY and oncologist, Dr. Opyrchal. Per Bob's wishes, there will be no viewing or celebration of his life. 
Woody lived on Harrison Avenue in The Hill Section of Scranton for many years. As a deejay he played many songs for his listeners, now we'll send one out to him in that great beyond from one of his favorite people:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #311

SAM LIGUORI 

The late Sam Liguori (Photo: Citizen's Voice) 

On April 16th of 1978, Ward's station and staff was featured in an edition of the Sunday Dispatch. Sam Liguori is in front...standing l to r is Jim, Bobby Gunther Walsh, Cliff Eshbach and Marge Stefaniak...who later went as Marge Stevens on WILK. 
I first became aware of Sam Liguori when he did the news as a young man on WPTS Radio. It was the old 1540 frequency owned by the Fiorani family. Sam later had a show on what was the hybrid oldies station that also had polka programming at 4pm. 
Sam later moved to WBAX Radio where he started a lifelong career friendship with Jim Ward. Sam was there at WBAX during the Merv Griffin years and served as Ward’s right hand man as the station with through various formats. He is best known as the last guy out of WBAX Radio, then located in a brand new facility on Route 11 in Edwardsville as the flood waters of June 1972 came over the banks. 
After the flood, Sam was the pivotal mid day jock as the station had its Golden Oldies format that was really rocking the Valley. When Jim Ward started his own station, WARD (the old WPTS) Sam went back to the facility on Foote Avenue in Duryea where he got his start. At the time, I was doing a rock and roll/media column and talked to Ward about his new staff and venture. Ward said, “Oh Sam’s going with me, I couldn’t do it without him. He’s my right hand man, my Ed McMahon, I trust him completely. He is the most competent broadcaster I know”. Liguori was with Ward during middle of the road music and request hit line formats, the fabled “Coping Connection" and those omnipresent polka weekends.  Before and after Ward’s death (when radio station WARD morphed into WKQV AM and FM) Sam was a mainstay on the Home Shopper Club which was way before its time. Sam and Jeff Gordon sold goods on the air and were wildly entertaining. Sam would tell listeners that he had to check that big WARD shopper’s computer to see if there was inventory all the while thumbing through index cards with the merchandise scrawled on them. There was a computer but it was in the front office. 
After WKQV was bought out by Susquehanna Broadcasting, Sam wound up as a Producer on WARM’s Talk Radio formats. He was paired with Kevin Lynn in the afternoon and the two had great chemistry. Lynn gave Liguori his due as a broadcast sage. When I was in sales at WARM, I’d drop by the studios to say hi and I’d get the big greeting, “Davey Davey, how are we today?” without fail and with that great big smile. 
Sam hosted a Polka show Saturdays on WARM and then later a Saturday Night Country Classics Hall of Fame show on the country format station called Cat Country and then NASH. Sam was a lifelong resident of the area except for a sojourn to New Mexico. 
When I heard that Sam had died, my mind went back to many moments I shared with him as a listener and then as a co-worker. But one thing stuck in my mind. The night Jim Ward died, Sam had a recorded on air eulogy on WARD. I was filling in during the night shift for Bobby Hafner at the time. He said about WARD with that booming friendly voice coming out of those broadcast speakers,  “You are now in the arms of the Lord my friend, you will be missed. I’ll be thinking of you every day buddy, until we meet again”. 
The day Sam died I bet they did meet again and I’m sure it was spectacular.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #312

ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF TRACK AT DRAG LODGE DIES
Joe Perugino (Photo: Times Leader)
Our good friend Charlie Hulsizer sent us this appreciation and remembrance of the late Joe Perugino Senior who passed away this week. Perugino was one of the people who helped form the famous Pocono Drag Lodge of which WARM Radio was a major part of in the 1960s. Here is his remembrance.
Joe Perugino and his Brother Jimmy, and his father came up with the Idea of building a Drag Strip in NEPA after the successful Drag Racing Activities at Forty Fort Airport in the late 50's. They were also concerned with the Unsafe street racing that was taking place in the Valley. The family Purchased 300 acres in Bear Creek, and construction was started in 1961. 
The track was officially opened in 1963 and ran until 1971. Due to the Visit of Agnes in 1972, the track never reopened. It was a true family affair--everyone in the Family participated in the running of the track, including Joe's sisters. The Timing system was built and designed by Joe's Brother in law. Even the track Announcer. "Mondo" Mirin, brought his daughters Annie and Carol to the track on race day. The Blacktop was put down by the Legendary Addy Asphalt company. Most Construction work was done by the Perugino Family Construction Company. And Mrs. Victoria Perugino, Joe and Jimmy’s mom, always had a full traditional Italian Feast after the races.
In order to keep the racing off the streets the Lodge held the Popular Wednesday night Grudge races. For $2 you could come up and have at it with anyone you wanted, even if you just wanted to " Test and Tune:" your race car for the upcoming Sunday races. Whether you were a professional racer on a strict schedule. or a Hobbyist, you could truly "Run Whatcha Brung" at the Lodge. Many a family Car had the hubcaps peeled off for a race!!!. 
The Pocono Drag Lodge ran for eight seasons, I was fortunate to be able to run eight yearly reunions, Including a great 50 year anniversary Reunion in 2012. You ask how the Name Pocono Drag Lodge came to be? Joe came up with the name, and the 3 founders envisioned a full service Racing Resort that would feature a Nascar track, other motorsports tracks and Hotels on site. The track remains today as a monument to the Glory Days of Pocono Drag Lodge.

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #313

WVIA’S 50th ANNIVERSARY AND WARM RADIO 
 Article from Scranton newspaper on the day WVIA went on the air. (blogs-thetiestribune) 
This September WVIA TV celebrated its 50th anniversary. On September 26th, WVIA went on the air and became the fourth TV station in WARMland. WARM Radio and its previous companies had a hand in the formation of WVIA TV and later the way that it sustained itself through fundraising. 
First the transmitter that WVIA used to go on the air came from WARM TV which was a factor in the early 1950s. WARM TV, owned by future Governor Bill Scranton later became WNEP TV. WNEP essentially gave the transmitter to first GM George Strimel and the fledgling board of the educational TV outlet.
Once on the air, the TV station had an annual Auction every June. Called Action Auction, it relied on local personalities to act as guest auctioneers. Tim Karlson, George Gilbert as well as Harry West came by and lent a hand. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest thrills I ever had was giving Harry a tour of the WVIA FM Studios one night when he was at the station. 
Currently WARM Radio is now 590 Sports Radio. The new owners are barely using the WARM call letters. BUT the legacy of WARM still lives on through the institutions still thriving because of the seeds planted by the help of the people who were involved with WARM broadcasting. 
 In edition #3310 of LuLac, we wrote of the 50th anniversary. Here's the link: http://lulacpoliticaletter.blogspot.com/