Tuesday, December 30, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: THE HITS OF 1966.
WARM ANNUAL COUNTDOWN
One of the most anticipated events of the Christmas season was the year end countdown of the WARM Top 40 of the year. Usually hosted by Ron Allen, the WARM Top 40 hits of the year was a compilation of listener requests, national record rankings and local samplings from Joe Nardone's Gallery of Sound and the Spruce Record Shop in Scranton and The Square Record Shop in Wilkes Barre. From 1966 and YOU TUBE, the number 33 song in the countdown, Johnny Rivers "Poor Side of Town".
Friday, December 19, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: MRS. "590 FOREVER", TERRY MCNULTY AND MARY CARRANO, FRIEND OF MY WIFE AND OF COURSE, SANTA PLUS A WARM RADIO ADVERTISING CHRISTMAS PROMOTION FROM 1967.
CHRISTMAS IN WARMLAND
One of the best times of year is Christmas and as a young boy growing up, WARM was a large part of the holiday. Starting on or around the 10th of the month, WARM would begin easing holiday songs into the rotation. Harry West usually played “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bell Rock”. Don Stevens played Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” as George Gilbert played the likes of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.
By Christmas Eve, the Christmas music was being played non stop and in addition to the rock and roll favorites were the traditional tunes that were introduced to new generation after generation. After having the Christmas Eve dinner, WARM was put on as reports from NORAD chronicled the visit of Santa to his ultimate destination: WARMLAND, U.S.A.
WARM had contests to for Christmas. One I remember was “Ask Santa and Mother Fletcher”. You sent a card in to Ron Allen and asked him for a gift courtesy of Ronzie and Mother. They only picked one prize and when they announced the winner, Mother Fletcher would say “We have a winner, the person who got this gift was pretty much in need. So we hope you understand and maybe you can get what you want from your own Santa”. As was the case with WARM contests, it was simply and very promotable.
Each year WARM had a Christmas contest and then for the kids a follow up event after the big day as indicated by that concert in the Photo Index with Sam the Sham and Joe Nardone.
I had entered WARM Christmas contests for years before I got into the media. But I was touched by a WARM contest. In the early 90s, my wife won a contest on WARM. It was a shopping spree with then morning man Terry McNulty. Sales Exec Joey Shaver coordinated the event and my wife and a friend went to the WARM Studio where they rode by limo to various stores. Trips to the Lamp Factory Outlet, (we still have the floor lamp in the living room), Sugarman’s in East End (where she got a boom box) a party supply store on the West Side, Kranson’s, a few other places I can’t recall and lunch at “Celestino’s in Dupont, now Mambo Italiano. Joey Shaver waited at each store to accompany the prize winners and introduce them to the store personnel. Mary Ann and her friend Mary had a wide ranging lunch with Terry McNulty where they debated the merits of Frank Sinatra vs. Tony Bennett, as well as revealing that his real name was Anthony. Shortly after McNulty’s death, my wife said to me that after spending time with “The Big Fella” during that day was when she fell totally in love with him.
Many people ask why WARM touched so many people. Sometimes you get the impression that it was the big things but in reality it were the small bits and pieces that made WARM memorable to people. My wife won 14 prizes on that shopping spree that day but as I researched this, we struggled to come up with what she won. We only came up with a few. But we did remember the efficiency of the contest “after the fact”, the attention to detail that made Joey Shaver the best sales executive in this region for more than forty years and the kindness, affability and sincerity of Terry McNulty. There are thousands of stories like this and especially during this Christmas season, it is appropriate to remember WARM Radio and its impact.
From You Tube, a few of the Christmas songs heard on WARM in its heyday.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: HELP SIGN.
The music was upbeat, the jocks were pattering, all was right with the world of WARM until the tragic sounder went over the airwaves. OPERATION: CONTACT was now on the air. An ominous voice intoned, "If you have seen name inserted here please have him call WARM at 822-6161 or 346-4646. This is an emergency." Before the era of cell phones, this modest mode of communication was a hallmark of WARM's public service. You knew when this short announcement came on, there was trouble somewhere, someplace in a family. From a broadcasting standpoint, it was simple to do, free and gave listeners a security blankett that no matter what trouble befell your loved ones, even a disappearance or an emergency, WARM was there for you.