Wednesday, September 3, 2008
590 MIGHTY MEMORY #586
PHOTO INDEX: FORMER WARM STAFFER AND CURRENT WVIA TV AND FM PRESIDENT BILL KELLY.
Bill Kelly became one of my first bosses when I first got out of college. As a matter of fact, the first plane ride I had was with Bill when we both went to a broadcast convention (NPR) in Chicago in 1978. Bill Kelly was also the first guy I saw after I tore a bulletin off the UPI machine located in the hallway between the FM and TV studios one hot, cloudy, muggy August afternoon. It simply said, "Presley dead at 42". On that day, we shared a link to the past of rock and roll. In my tenure at WVIA, we never talked much about WARM because we were both looking to build Public Radio. But in the back of my mind, I always had the thought, "This guy worked at WARM!" So it was a pleasant surprise when I found out that one of the first contributors to 590 FOREVER was Bill Kelly. Here's his memory of what WARM meant to him and all of us.
FROM BILL KELLY
Ok Dave, you got me. Today’s posting about your “590 FOREVER, WARM RADIO” blog site catches me nostalgic for the days when The Mighty 590 meant Hollywood to me in far away Towanda, Bradford County. Each of us who worked there, in fact all listeners captivated during those grand years now long “gone from the charts but not from our hearts” have stories linked to the Mighty 590, the Sensational Seven, The Five Towers of Power, PAM Jingles, P.S.B.B, Operation Contact, The Softball Softies, Superior Sonic Sound, the Station of the Year, Top 40 sheets and the Pick Hit of the Week.
George Gilbert, Terry McNulty, Bob Oliver and many others are gone, several are ill, some fervently wish they could go back to that time and a few can’t shake bitter memories of fickle broadcast politics in Avoca. It is indeed hard for young people, and for many our own age, to appreciate what WARM meant to those of us who wanted nothing more than to be on-the-air at a radio station that loomed huge in our sense of the business we loved and thought was perfect.
Some of us learned that WARM was not all we imagined from years of being teen-aged Fans glued to transistor radios. That was a coming-of-age experience for me, and I was beyond lucky to know when to leave and to find truly stimulating work after the WARM Building. This veteran broadcaster came to WARM after six small-market stations, incredulous one day when Double G called me while student teaching at Danville High School to say “We want you.” I was not the first who got that call and almost found a yellow puddle at my feet.
Thirty-seven years later, a short few months ago, Tommy Woods and I gave a Eulogy to George Gilbert that made me realize how much more important he was than “just” the PD of WARM Radio. Getting re-acquainted with his family as George faded made me realize that even the superstars of radio are at their best as husbands and fathers.
WARM was phenomenal – nothing in our experience will quite match it.
Our YOU TUBE song of this Mighty Memory is Mary Hopkin's, "Those Were The Days".