Friday, November 28, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: REPRESENTATION OF THE VITAL LINK IN HEALTH, THE NURSE, A CAREER OF THE LATE MRS. RON ALLEN.
MRS. ALLEN DIES
Just two months to the day of her beloved husband's passing, Mrs. Ron Allen died of cancer. I met Ron's wife twice, most recently at his wake and in the very early 1980s. At the time, an old radio crony from WVIA FM, Liz Hibbard got me a seat on an advisory board of the Health Systems Agency of Northeastern Pennsylvania. To this day, all I remember about the volunteer position was that the meetings were held in the basement of the WARM Building (yes Liz used that as a lure to get me to serve!) and the tons of paper we got on proposed HMOs, Nursing Certifications and what have you. There was this big dinner, one of their annual meetings held at the Woodlands and I got my table assignment not knowing a soul. As I sat there, much to my wide eyed amazement, Ron Allen began to stroll over to the table. Drink in hand, he sat down, nodded to the people there, said hello to me by name (I have no elusions he remembered me, I had a name tag on that said DAVE) and sat quietly. A few minutes later he was joined by his wife Mary Ann who previously was working the room. Sitting down, she, not Ron the sports celebrity dominated the conversations. Nothing about Penn State, the Sensational 7 or WARM. Ron sat there basking in the obvious knowledge about the health care system his wife possessed. It was a pleasant evening filled with better information than those position papers we got at our meetings. The only off topic subjects covered were the trips Mary Ann and Ron took. I thought about this the other day as I got the news from Tommy Woods by e mail and then saw the news on the Radio Info board. Mary Ann was very sick when Ron died but she talked about going to Philadelphia to see what was going on with her condition. She showed great courage at his wake. Reflecting on the two times I met Mrs. A., it is evident to me, that like many of us, Ron Allen "married up." Except that I think he had the good sense to know that from day 1. Here's the obit from the Radio Info Board:
Mary Ann Theresa Reap Alabovitz, 69, of the Minooka section of Scranton, died Sunday evening at the home of her daughter, Laurie, following a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ronald, Sept. 23. They celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary June 4.Born in Scranton on Jan. 4, 1939, daughter of the late Michael and Marcella Donnelly Reap, she was a member of the Church of St. Joseph. She was a 1956 graduate of Scranton Central High School and a 1959 graduate of the Scranton State Hospital School of Nursing, where she worked in the urology department. She left her career to raise her daughter and returned to work part time as a registered nurse at Laurel Hill Nursing Home in 1969. Over the years, her expertise in gerontology grew. She held various positions during her long tenure there and eventually became a licensed nursing home administrator and held that position. She became a regional vice president for New Health Management Systems in the late 1980s. She traveled extensively throughout the country, managing and consulting for skilled nursing facilities. She was the backbone of the Mountain Rest Nursing Home for many years. She retired from full-time employment in 2005 but continued to do consulting work up until September. Most recently, she was a nursing consultant at the Lackawanna Health Care Center. Mary Ann was a completely selfless person and had a way of becoming a part of your life from the moment she met you. She spent her life caring for others, her patients, her daughter, her employees, her parents and most recently her husband until his death. She was a strong and brave woman and was always able to bring a smile to your face. We will all miss her smile and her irreplaceable sense of wit. She had many personal aspirations that were still unmet and she was taken from us much too early. Mary Ann was a college football fanatic and an avid Penn State Nittany Lions fan. She never missed a football Saturday. She enjoyed gambling and was a permanent fixture at the Greenwood Hose Company bingo every Thursday night. She was an avid reader and rarely sat idle without a book in her hand. Travel was also a passion of Mary Ann's and she did so extensively with her family throughout her life. Most recently, she and her husband traveled to California and Nevada in June. Additionally, she loved her dog, Bear, and rarely left the house without him, taking him every day to McDonalds for hamburgers. Mary Ann and her daughter enjoyed many girls' weekends together. She was not only a mother but a sister and best friend as well.Surviving are a daughter, Laurie Alabovitz, Bethany; and countless friends and cousins who will surely have a void in their lives with her loss.The funeral will be Saturday at 11:30 a.m. from the Eagen-Hughes Funeral Home, 2908 Birney Ave., Scranton, with Mass of Christian Burial at noon in the Church of St. Joseph, 312 Davis St., Scranton, to be celebrated by her cousin, the Rev. Patrick Albert. Entombment, Cathedral Cemetery. Friends may call Friday, 4 to 7 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ron Allen Memorial Sport Scholarship Fund c/o Pennstar Bank, 801 S. Main St., Taylor, 18517; or the Bethany Village Memorial Garden, 150 Noble Lane, Bethany, 18431.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: A COOKED TURKEY, A WILD TURKEY AND "TOMMY FEATHERS" AKA RON ALLEN, TRACKSIDE ANNOUNCER FOR THE WARM TURKEY TROT.
THE TURKEY TROT
One of the enduring memories of WARM Radio in the 60s and early 70s was the WARM Turkey Trot. Again, this was a vintage WARM contest. Creative, funny, imagnative and cheap. Once or twice an air shift, a fake horse race, featuring turkeys would circle an imaginary track in a wild race to the finish. The race featured 6 or 7 galloping turkeys with handles like "West's Wishbone", "Steven's Stuffing", "Gilbert's Gobbler", "Karlson's Cranberries", "Stewart's Stringbeans" and "Allen's Apple Pie". Ron Allen, featured as "Tommy Feathers" did a race call and had the birds racing for their lives. A listener would call in, be put on the air and pick a personality/turkey in the race. If the turkey won, the caller would get a frozen turkey. If they lost, as happened a great deal of the time, they recieved a "Frozen Radio Dinner". The Turkey Trot was a mainstay of WARM Radio from the middle of November (just after Veteran's Day) to the big American feast day. It is fondly recalled as one of the best promotions and memories of WARM Radio during Thanksgiving.
Friday, November 21, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: WARM'S TOMMY WOODS, GEORGE GILBERT AND THE LATE JOHN F. KENNEDY.
WARM AND NOV. 22nd
45 years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas, Texas. As the dominant radio station in this market, WARM was the radio clearinghouse for news until TV took over the coverage. George Gilbert was on the air doing his program and Terry McNulty, then the News Director came into the WARM studios and became the first radio voice in the area to announce the death of the President. Gilbert recounted in the WVIA TV documentary “WARMland Remembered”, that up until that time WARM news was exclusively local. But that changed on the 22nd. In the same program Tommy Woods recounts how the radio staff was stunned at the news. “We were an upbeat station, but on that day the music went away and we started pulling music out of our library that hadn’t been heard in years,” recounted Woods. Woods recalled walking around Scranton with Ron Allen in disbelief. “But at some point” Woods recalled, “we had to get back. We had to entertain and we did so with a big smile and excitement in our presentation because that’s what the people needed”.
WARM played solemn music and ran news reports until after the funeral. ON Nov. 26th, WARM Radio as its listeners knew it was back. The station played the best of top 40, the News team still followed the Kennedy saga and those great contests went on and on. But WARM and its listeners had changed, just like America did that day. Here’s one of the top songs WARM played in its rotation right after that tragic weekend.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: VINCE SWEENEY, THEN WARM PERSONALITY, DIANE WASTA, STEVE ST. JOHN THEN WARM PERSONALALITY AND THE LATE TERRY McNULTY, ALSO A WARM PERSONALITY.
THE GREAT RACE V
In the 1980s, Wilkes Barre City got involved with an event called The Great American Race. The first one involved antique cars making their way across America. Since that event went so well, anything with the word "Race" in it became a mainstay as part of a radio promotion. WARM got involved in many of these efforts. One of them was a thing called "The Great Race V" sponsored by Celluar One, a company trying to hook WARMlanders on this new fangled handheld gadget called a cell phone. The selling point was you didn't need a cord to talk on the phone. The Great Race was a triatholon I believe and teams from around the area competed. WARM Radio fielded a team and competed in running and boating. According to Vince Sweeney's blog, on the canoes, "Seems I remember us coming in last. Dead last. The river was low. Steve and I carried the canoe more than we paddled it. There's a name for that; portaging." McNulty, a very fit man and good runner for his age competed in the marathon part. I have no memory of how he did. Anyway, this was still another promotion WARM took part in. The interesting thing about promotions like these, especially those done in the 60s through 80s, was that jocks gave of their time for free. There were no talent fees to speak of for these people to show up and participate. Sure it got the word out about a person's show or the radio station, but there was no big monetary payoff. And the station, yes even the Mighty 590 considered it "community" time, ie time without pay. From the photo, the guys looked like they were having a great time. And knowing three of the four as I did, they most likely were. However, it might have been better if someone threw a few bucks their way for lending their "celebrity" to an event.
Friday, November 7, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: WARM PENN STATE SCHEDULE.
A BEAUTIFUL PARING
WARM Radio and Penn State Football was a natural pairing of sports and radio. Northeastern Pa. has thousands of Penn State fans today but even back in the seventies and eighties, WARM had the lock on Penn State fans. The Ron Allen Sportsline regularly broadcast features on the players and the coaches. (This was long before Penn State established their own 4 hour pregame programs). In terms of sales, Penn State was a bonanza for the radio station constantly selling out. However like all good things, the marriage of the Nittany Lions and the Mighty 590 came to an end when the new management at the station let Penn State go to WILK where it's been there ever since. Even as Penn Staters tune in to WILK, there are many fans in the area who remember tuning in to WARM Radio and eagerly waiting for those pocket size Lions schedules at the end of summer to see when their beloved team would play on their favorite radio station.