Sunday, December 27, 2009
HARRY'S KISS OF DEATH
If you were a listener to WARM's Harry West in the 60s, 70, and 80s, you'd hear him pronounce "The Harry West Kiss of Death Record". West described it as "a song destined to go nowhere because I like it". Sometimes Harry was right but more times than not he was wrong. Here are three songs from three different decades that Harry liked....and they became hits.
From the 60s, The Turtles, "She'd Rather Be With Me".
In the 70s, it was this ballad by Englebert Humperdink.
And in the 80s it was "That's Love" by Jim Capaldi.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
CHRISTMAS AT WARM
WARM Radio never missed an opportunity to promote itself in subtle ways. When you picked up a suervey sheet during the holidays there was a greeting or a colorful addition to the sheet. WARM essentially went all Christmas music around the 22nd and by Christmas Eve WARM ran holiday music non stop until the 26th. It was a nice respite from the frantic top 40 WARM was known for. Information was provided by UPI updates and of course on Christmas Eve there were the tracking updates from the North Pole.
As politicians argue over government spending, there is one line item that is likely to stay in the budget for the foreseeable future: the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD's) yearly Santa Watch. For the last 54 years, the military command -- tasked with protecting the US and Canada against missile attacks -- has answered phone calls from children who want to track the jolly old elf's progress across the Western Hemisphere. Actually, the Santa Watch began long before NORAD came into being. In December 1955, Sears Roebuck ran a newspaper ad with what they claimed was Santa's direct number. Unfortunately, the phone number they offered was one digit off; instead of Sears, it linked to a top secret line at CONAD, the Continental Air Defense Command. When Colonel Harry Shoup, the command's director of operations, answered the phone, he expected to hear about a missile strike against the US. Instead, he got a little kid who wanted to talk to Santa. Although the conversation ended with the child crying and Shoup fuming, the Colonel eventually came around and began giving the children updates on Santa's travels through the night sky. The following year, CONAD offered a new, non-secret, phone number that children could call. In 1958, when CONAD became NORAD, the new command continued the tradition. Over the following decades, the tradition has grown. In 2008, 1,275 people, 100 phones, and 25 computers handled 69,845 phone calls and 6,086 e-mails from around the world. In order to ensure that the many volunteers don't issue conflicting reports, Santa Watch uses a large wall-sized map that integrates the latest Santa sightings with Google maps. For basic Santa tracking, NORAD relies on the same 47 radar installations, fighter jets and spy satellites that help it identify enemy missiles. In addition, the command's website states that it uses digital cameras positioned around the world that capture images of Santa. Presumably, this four-pronged defense system protects against friendly-fire incidents: after all, it isn't hard to imagine how the combination of a red sled, eight reindeer, a red-clad gift giver and a highly vigilant military defense system could result in roasted venison and a ruined holiday. As NORAD has gotten more complex, so has its Santa tracking. In 1998, the command introduced the program to the Internet, enabling children to watch Santa's movement from the comfort of their own computers. In 2007, Google came on board, giving NORAD access to its 2-D maps and 3-D Google Earth resources to improve its tracking. Gmail also provides an address that children can use to email their lists directly to Santa. With a presence on most social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the program is prepared to tell children around the world about the wonders of Santa -- and NORAD.
And this was the number one song at Christmas time 1967 with a smiling Ron Allen on the sheet.
Monday, December 21, 2009
DRAG LODGE REUNION
A word at the end of this year on an exciting development for 2010 and the good people at Pocono Drag Lodge. Here's an announcement from Drag Lodge Reunion coordinator Charlie Hulzsizer. I know its a ways away, but wanted to fill everyone in on the First Annual (I Hope) Warmland Mighty 590 reunion to be held in Conjunction with the Pocono Drag Lodge reunion, August 14, 2010, from 9 am to 5 pm. What went together better than cars, Pocono Drag lodge, and the best station ever, anywhere???I hope to get as many former WARM personalities, workers, fans, radioheads up at the reunion, which will be once again held at the drag strip on Meadow Run road, in Bear Creek. Last years reunion was a huge success,and we are adding the WARM reunion, hopefully a small reunion of the Lyndwood dragsters that were built in Wilkes- Barre, and the Alison P. Suter blues band will be giving a free concert!!! Joey Shaver has promised me that one way or another he will have the "SUNDAY-SUNDAY-SUNDAY" pdl spot that ran on WARM, and we will be dropping WARM Jingles in between the tunes. Please get me your email addresses so I can get you on a mailing list; mine is email@example.com..suggestions would be greatly appreciated and would help make this a memorable event!!
These were some of the drag songs you heard on WARM.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
If you were a kid growing up in the 60s and you wanted a snow day, you turned to WARM radio to hear if your school was going to close. WARM used these announcements as an opportunity to increase sales and audience. School administrators were given special instructions and posters to display the information. With no local TV news shows on the air at the time, WARM dominated what was then the information freeway.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
WARM Radio used its relationship with national clients to build an audience and provide little goodies to their listeners. Before the merger of the National and American Football Leagues, WARM ran a promotion with Campbell Soups to sell a combined NFL/AFL guide book. This was just one of many sideline promotions WARM used in the 60s to build audience and increase sales with advertising clients.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Last year we told you about the WARM Turkey Trot, this year we'll let Tommy Woods tell you about a contest gone wrong for the Mighty 590. Building on the success of The Turkey Trot, WARM thought maybe they could extend the contest pass "Thanksgiving" into the Yuletide season. Didn't happen. From Tommy Woods: The worst contest we ever had at WARM and there were many was...."Send in your turkey wishbone and your wish could come true" Well...People just ripped out the greasy wishbone ...put it in an envelope and sent it in. We were in Avoca at the time and the Avoca post office was really pi$$ed. They had bags of greasy, smelly letters and called us to pick them up. That was a great idea!".
Friday, November 20, 2009
WARM DOUBLE DRIBBLERS
There was the WARM Softball Softies but when the weather got a little nippy, WARM Radio fielded a basketball team. Called the WARM Double Dribblers the team played for charity events all across the broadcast area for charity. As always the draw and allure of WARM packed gyms like St. John's in Pittston, the CYCs in both Scranton and Wilkes Barre, King's Scanlon gym as well as other venues. This photo was forwarded to us by Don Jones who tells us: "I worked part time with WARM in the mid 60's doing live news, re writing news and working record hops with several of the DJs.. I also played on the "Softball Softies" and "Sensational Seven" Basketball team.. Also raced at PDL in 1964.. I'm forwarding a photo taken by the Times-Leader of the team in the 1965 / 1966 season, at Plymouth H.S. I asked Don who he thought were the best and worst players on the team. He said, "No question, Bill Stewart was the best and Lenny Woloson was by far the worst, 2nd worse was Terry McNulty. " WARM at first didn't have ringers but there was a need to do so because of the people the celebrities were playing. Jones said, "We played various school teams made up of coaches, teachers, parents etc. and often they would have an anal player who had to impress his wife or friends by getting physical with someone like Len Woloson. One night when I was working one of the Scranton Miner games with Ron Allen he was telling about this to some of the players and one of the players, I believe it was Willie Murrell, said jokingly that he should play and nobody would mess with him.. Ron ran it by management and talked to Art Pachter and the W-B coach and put together this team. It was a win, win, win, situation since it brought more fans to the high schools, was positive press for the Miners and W-B and kept down the rough play by opposing teams." But even with the added help, the Dribblers were no slouches. "Bill Stewart played high school ball in Williamsport I believe and was a high school All-Star and Tom Kroh was a salesman for WARM who played some college ball at, as I remember, one of the Colorado colleges, "added Jones. Now the Double Dribblers weren't these guys.....but they came pretty close.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
A BRIDGE TO ROCK
Al Martino died the other day near Philadelphia. Martino was one of those "bridge" artists used frequently by WARM Radio to broaden its appeal. Martino's songs like "Mary In the Morning", "Spanish Eyes" and "The Theme From the Godfather" never reached the top 15 on WARM. But as an artist Martino received a lot of airplay in the mid morning and afternoon hours on WARM. Martino was 82. Publicist Sandy Friedman, of the Rogers & Cowan public relations firm, confirmed Martino's death in the Philadelphia suburb of Springfield, in Delaware County, but didn't cite a cause.Starting in 1952, Martino was known for hit songs including "Here in My Heart," ''Spanish Eyes," ''Can't Help Falling in Love" and "Volare."Besides acting in the Marlon Brando classic "The Godfather," Martino sang the 1972 film's title score, "The Love Theme From The Godfather." At one point, WARM had three versions in their top 40 of the "Godfather Theme". Martino's, Tony Bennett's and Andy Williams' renditions were all on the charts at the same time. Martino's Fontane character is a singer and occasional actor and is the godson of Brando's Mafia boss character, Don Vito Corleone.Martino was born in South Philadelphia as Alfred Cini and was a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, Calif.Philadelphia radio and television personality Jerry Blavat dined with Martino and his wife on Monday night. Blavat told the Philadelphia Daily News that Martino appeared to be in fine shape and that he was shocked when he learned of the singer's death."He was the last of the show business legends," said Blavat, who has played Martino's songs on the radio for years. "There's nobody else. The last of the performers. A magnificent voice."
Sunday, October 11, 2009
HANGING ON FOR CHARITY
WARM did various stunts and promotions over the years. One of the most intriguing was when John Hancock, then Program Director at WARM hung suspended on a platform for, what else 59 hours. The photo comes from Andy Palumbo, morning anchor at WNEP today but then a newsman on the WARM news staff. Hancock and Apple had airshifts. What I remember most about Hancock was the way he embraced WARM's heritage even saying on the air what an honor it was to work with the remnants of the Sensational 7 still at the Mighty 590. The fundraiser was for "Easter Seals". Hancock might not have been hanging on for love but certainly for dear life. Here's Sade, a mainstay on WARM in the mid 80s.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
PICKING THE MUSIC
One of the early duties operations manager and then soon to be Program Director George Gilbert had was picking the music. In the 60s with the Beatles and English invasion, Gilbert struck a fine balance between rock, pop and adult standards. You would see songs from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Frankie Layne and even Nancy Wilson. Sometimes the songs registered in the bottom third of the top 40 but they were there. Gilbert had a fondness for the harmonies of the Four Freshman and The Lettermen. At one point in the early 60s the Lettermen sang his closing theme. The passing last week of the Arbors Joe Cass reminded me that Gilbert programmed the music of the Arbors amidst Tommy James' "Hanky Panky" and the Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody To Love". Gilbert and his successors in picking the music struck a fine balance that gave the kids the rock and roll but the older folks a chance to "chill" with some adult contemporary. The Arbors in the 60s were a perfect tonic and WARM Radio and its management knew just how to apply it.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
THE RECORD GUYS
Tom McEntee died the other day . He was a former green Beret who served his country and I'm sure he had some interesting times and stories. As a returning vet, he rarely talked about his war service. However after the war, he entered the music field and was associated with ABC/Dot records. Like most record men of the 60s and 70s, he had an abundance of anecdotes and tales associated with this part of his life. Tom was the founder of the Country Radio Seminar which is now a blockbuster organization with a huge turnout at an annual affair in Nashville. He was Southeast editor of the now gone CASHBOX Magazine. To put this in perspective for our Forever 590 readers, Tom was the promotional guy who got the records to the radio stations. Back in the 60s and 70s, record companies would send representatives to various radio stations with promotional copies hoping that the station would add it to their playlist. The hundreds of songs not making the playlist were given away at radio station remotes and appearances. After hearing the song on the radio, radio execs hoped people would buy the song at the music store. WARM was one of the most visited stations in the country because of its ratings success. Stations like the MIGHTY 590 were frequent stops for lieutenants of music executive Tom McEntee. One of the songs McEntee was responsible for getting on the air was "Come Monday", a mellow tune that launched the career of one Mr. Jimmy Buffett. The song was of course played on WARM in the summer of 1974. Here's Jimmy Buffett talking about that song and how he did the video on it. Buffett was the singing star but it was a guy like Tom McEntee that made radio stations aware of Buffett's talent.
Monday, September 21, 2009
SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!!!
In this blog we've touched on the customer service values of the Mighty 590 and the way the station connected with its listeners. WNEP's Andy Palumbo and former WARM newsman sent this cash card along. This was a card that a WARM listener used as a way to garner discounts and savings at WARMland businesses. Those concerns were also advertisers for WARM Radio. So in effect everyone won. It was a WIN WIN even before business gurus were using that phrase. The sales team won, the station increased its listnership and top of mind awareness and the listener, the consumer got a deal. Or if they didn't, at least they thought they got a deal. The WARM Cash Card, just another inexpensive but inclusive way WARM used to touch its audience.
In 1969 the Doors "Touch Me" was a top song played on WARM. Touching the listeners was paramount to WARM's success.
Friday, September 11, 2009
WARM Radio has been running the True Oldies Channel for a few years now. It is a good format with wonderful music that typifies the tunes heard on The Mighty 590 in its heydey. Popular and nationally know disc jockey Scott Shannon voices and runs the channel. A few weeks ago Shannon asked listeners to e mail him about the first 45 they bought. Naturally I couldn't resist and sent Scott this note:
Hi Scott, loved you on vh1, listening on WARM AM 590 Scranton/Wilkes Barre. My first oldie I bought was the 4 Seasons “Let’s Hang On”. I remember having my buck in my pocket and going to the local 5 and dime. I was looking for Herman’s Hermits “A Must To Avoid” but I kept on calling it “a must to a boy”. I was a dumb kid. So then I saw the seasons jacket that had them all in a singing pose. They were suited up in ties and double breasted coats and I thought, “These guys had style….and could sing”. So with my fifty nine cents I bought “Let’s Hang On”, 3:15. Phillips Records, black label, orange lettering, flip side “Sassy” an instrumental. David Yonki (pronounced YONK-EYE) Wilkes Barre, Pa.
A few weeks later, ironically enough on the day I went to the Woodstock museum Scott played my song and read the e mail. He and his staff were kind enoiugh to let me know when the song would be on. I first received a "shout out" from Scott.
THANKS DAVE...GREAT NOTE.....GOOD TO HAVE YOU LISTENING.. SCOTT
Then I got a confirming e mail from the staff:
Hi! Your song will air around 11:25 Central today. Thanks, Guy Patton
Although I did not hear it, many of my friends did and when I arrived home, my voice mail had many messages saying they heard me on WARM again, but this time coast to coast. Here's the link to the True Oldies Channel http://www.trueoldieschannel.com/ as well as 590 WARM. http://www.warm590.com/Article.asp?id=598365And here are the two songs I mentioned. The first was the 45 that I couldn't remember, Herman's Hermits "A Must To Avoid" and the second was the 4 Seasons "Let's Hang On" from The Ed Sullivan show.
Friday, September 4, 2009
WARM Radio had its big days at Rocky Glen Park. We all know that from the hundreds of photos we've seen. But WARM would sponsor promotional days at the park which featured family fun days. People who showed up were treated to discounts at the park, an opportunity to hobnob with WARM personalities but also get some free producct. At one WARM Vaughn's promotional day at Rocky Glenn, a half a semi filled with bread was give away. While WARMlanders got their bread in August of '64, they were listening to these songs:
As George Gilbert used to say, "You could never go wrong with the Beatles" and with this promotion, you couldn't fail with this song.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Ellie Greenwich, the New York songwriter behind a string of 1960s hits that gave effervescent voice to unbridled teen romance including "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Chapel of Love" and "Be My Baby," many of them in collaboration with producer Phil Spector, died Wednesday of a heart attack. Her song writing partner was Jeff Barry. Their collaborations with Wall of Sound creator Spector are regarded among the greatest singles ever created. The music publishing rights organization Broadcast Music Inc. lists more than 200 songs she wrote or co-wrote, including "Then He Kissed Me" (the Crystals), "I Can Hear Music" (The Ronettes, Beach Boys), "Hanky Panky" (a hit for Tommy James & the Shondells), "Maybe I Know" (Lesley Gore) and the song Spector considered his greatest recording, "River Deep, Mountain High" (Ike and Tina Turner).Greenwich has said that the title phrase of "Da Doo Ron Ron" was never intended to be part of the song; it was improvised as a nonsensical space filler until she and Barry could come up with a real line to follow the tune's opening lyric: "I met him on a Monday and my heart stood still." Here's a song not heard on WARM and many other radio stations.
And here's one song she wrote that was heard constantly on WARM.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
DRAG LODGE REUNION A HIT
This past weekend’s Drag Lodge Reunion was a big hit. So much so that the organizers are planning next year’s event. Here’s an e mail from reunion coordinator Charlie Hunsinger on plans and needs for 2010.
As I wade thru all of the positive feedback I'm getting on the reunion, I guess its just sinking in the enormity of the event. I'm astonished and dumbfounded and really shouldn't be. Sherri and had very little trash pickup. Everyone used their head in parking the cars. I'm not surprised by any of this because the greatest people in the world believed in this project and supported it by helping and attending!!! Sure, we made a few mistakes but everyone rolled with the punches and made the best of it. As I was out on meadow run road helping my traffic guys with the traffic, even the locals were cool about the traffic jam!! I was working with the traffic guys getting the locals thru, and I apologized for the delays,and they were cool about it. The cameraderie, friendliness and all around great folks made this an event to remember. Joe perugino has agreed to let us have another event next year. Here are a few things I need to ponder and will ask your help with: * cutoff date on the cars at 1972??? * need speakers at both ends of the track * need to spread out the porta potties * tent for people to display memorabilia * wristbands for admission?? * ban or tighten up easyups on the track to free up more space * no trailers in display area unless the show car stays on the trailer and anything else. How bout a WARM mighty 590 reunion at the next pdl event?? Joey Shaver loves the idea!! Any other ideas, criticism, send to me and we will make it even better next year!! Your folks are the best..we got somethin' really cool going here.
Friday, August 14, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: POCONO DRAG LODGE CIRCA 1960s.
POCONO DRAG LODGE REUNION
In the 1960s WARM Radio’s music personified fast cars and fast music. The station’s bell shaped signal provided great booming coverage into the Pocono Area. It was a natural for the participants in the Pocono rag Lodge to listen to WARM as their station of choice. And WARM Radio, the Mighty 590 seeing a promotional opportunity used to provide information on the events. Night time jocks Joey Shaver, Bill Stuart, T.J. Lambert III and the late Tim Karlson used to promote the races on their shifts during the 60s and 70s.
On Saturday 8/15/09 there will be a Pocono Drag Lodge reunion. For those that remember, it was a great track in the 60's and 70's. The hours are 9-5. That's where Joe Amato got his start. Pocono Drag Lodge was a 1/4 mile NHRA drag strip located in Bear Creek, Pennsylvania, near Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The strip has been idle for decades, but was once a major NHRA site. A plan to revive the track for a 1998 opening fell through the cracks but a reunion, long planned for this weekend will be a chance to reconnect with some of the drivers and their cars. For those of you not able to attend, here’s some information on a DVD produced in time for the reunion.
DRAG RACING - WHEN IT WAS FUN!
This one hundred and twenty-three minute original movie production includes Drag Racing action from the 1960’s at various drag strips: Pocono Drag Lodge, Pocono International Raceway, Kel-Rica, Wind Gap, Vargo, Numidia, Island, Forty Fort, Tri Cities and Maple Grove. The video has an assortment of Gassers, Altereds, Dragsters, Super/Stockers, Funny Cars and Stockers. The big names of the sport appear as well as some of the regular racers and their cars. I started off doing this video for the first annual Pocono Drag Lodge Reunion but as I got into it I realized that the people who went to PDL also traveled to several other drag strips within the same geographical area. It was common for many of the same cars to tow into Island, Tri Cities (NY track) or Vargo on the same weekend. Of course they also went to Numidia and Maple Grove on a regular basis. Wind Gap Drag Strip was one of the first tracks in the area and we have a short story about racing there in 1961. I have also included a story on the Kel-Rica track and you have to see it to believe it. Some of the track is still visible today and I had a chance to talk to the owner about it. I believe you will really enjoy this story. I have also included some very rare footage of drag racing at the Pocono International Raceway. They ran two drag races there in 1969 and we are able to show you some of the action in both of them. Jungle Jim and Brutus ran the first match race there and you get to see the action. I have also included some interviews with people who competed at these tracks: Joe Amato talks about his early years in drag racing, Bob Chipper does the same for his career. Both of these super stars of the sport got their start at PDL. We also talk to Jerry Hotchkiss about the ’63 Z-11 Chevy he bought from Malcolm Durham. We show a best of three-match race with Al Joniac and his A/FX Mustang against Fast Eddie Schwartman’s ’65 A/FX Mercury Comet at Vargo Dragway then talk to Al about it. Tom Sneeden talked to us about running the Bob Banning Funny Car at Pocono International Raceway. We also talked to Wally Bell about his ’57 Chevy Gasser and his role as Manager of PDL. Bob Strunk raced at both PDL and Numidia back in the 1960’s and he gives us a history report regarding Numidia. This video has several stories about Gassers. Included are: Joe Amato (5 time Top Fuel Champion) ‘32 Chevy, Fiat AA/A, 40 Chevy; Bob Chipper ‘55 Chevy, 40 Willys, 33 Willys, 70 Cuda BB/GS; Wally Bell 57 Chevy; Tony Durso C/MP 55 Chev. In addition we show numerous gassers at all the tracks. If you are a fan of gassers this will surely appeal to you. For Super Stock fans we have a match race between the Lawman Plymouth and the Tasca Tbolt at Island Dragway in 1964. Cool stuff. The Joniac vs. Schwartman match at Vargo is killer. The close up shots on the return road will knock you out. We also follow Wally Bell, Jack Schaffer, George Whalen, Tim Richards, Jerry Hotchkiss, Lee Malkemes, Bob Harrop and others to match races at Tri Cities, Island, Numidia and PDL. As always we have taken the time to dub real car sounds on to the movie footage in order to give you the most realistic sights and sounds available of the golden era of drag racing. We have also included relative narration in the video so you can follow all the action that takes place. Get your copy today on DVD or VHS. Our DVD includes 30 Chapter markers so you can quickly navigate to your favorite part of the video. Cost is $19.00.
Here are two videos from YOU TUBE on the Pocono Drag Lodge.
From Jan and Dean: "Bucket T:"
Then there was Jan and Dean's "Drag City". Heard on WARM many, many times during drag racing season.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: LETTER FROM SCOTT ARTHUR TO MY FRIEND, JOEY DELLARTE. (CLICK TO ENLARGE).
CUSTOMER CARE AND WARM
You walk into a car dealership and want to buy a car and the salesman won't go the extra mile to help you. You complain to his manager and the head honcho calls you out for your "bad attitude". You order something in an eatery and it's wrong. No apologies, just eat it and shut up. The State Liquor Bureau is paying a guy $70,000 to teach State Store Clerks how to be nice to customers. Consultants travel around the country making millions chatting up the marvels of good customer service in business. Crazy. All customer service means is doing the right thing and treating people like you'd want to be treated. WARM Radio understood that long before the gurus were paid big bucks to state the obvious. My late friend, Joey Dellarte entered a WARM contest with all night deejay Scott Arthur. Joey didn't win the contest...............but got a nice thank you letter anyway. That's the type of customer care WARM practiced one listener at a time. That's why they were king of the hill for decades. And their jocks didn't need a consultant to tell them how to treat a loyal listener.
Monday, July 27, 2009
MANNY AND WARM
A big part of my childhood at Christmas time was being terrified that our Christmas tree would burn the house down. My father was kind of like the dad on "The Christmas Story" so things sometimes were jerry rigged. Every year, I dutifully waited for the Manny Gordon Christmas tree recipe which kept the tree moist and less brittle. Through the years, Manny Gordon was on the radio so much you'd think he was a member of the WARM staff. Even after his retirement from the Forestry Department, Manny would be on WARM joshing with Harry West or Len Woloson or George Gilbert on various charities he ws involved with at the time.
Manny Gordon died last week at the age of 97. He lived a very good life of enjoyment. His mantra was "Enjoy Enjoy". With Manny's life, we in WARMland did. We enjoyed Manny to the Max.
object width="425" height="344">
Friday, July 24, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: THE SCRANTON FAMILY FROM THE COVER OF LIFE MAGAZINE, JUNE 1964.
WARM AND THE GREAT CAMPAIGN
It was 1964, a scant half year after John Kennedy, the President of the U.S. was killed. Midway through '64, the name of Pennsylvania Governor and WARMland native William Warren Scranton's name was being bounced around as a possible nominee for the Republican Party. Although Barry Goldwater led in the delegate count, many of the moderate Republicans wanted a more left of center voice. William Scranton, the progressive Republican Governor of the Commonwealth fit the bill. Scranton was unsure about running until Senator Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Scranton, whose family virtually founded the GOP in the state was outraged that the party of Lincoln had as its possible nominee a man who voted to deny basic rights and dignity to all Americans. In mid June he jumped into the race for President. WARM Radio had reporters, Jack Donniger and Terry McNulty in Atlantic City to follow the proceedings. Special interviews with local delegates were featured. WARM also followed the convention via their UPI News Service with veteran reporter Pye Chamberlain providing minute by minute coverage. WARM of course kept its music format humming but the Scranton effort was not that far off the radar. A promo ran constantly that stated: "Did the Governor start too late? Or is Bill Scranton, WARMland's hometown boy poised to pull an upset in Atlantic City. Stay tuned as WARM News takes you there as it all unfolds". Scranton needless to say did not get the nomination but the coverage of his bid by WARM Radio made for an exciting political summer.
And in that political summer, here was one of the top songs played on WARM.
Monday, July 20, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: MAN ON THE MOON.
WARM AND THE MOON
WARM Radio, in the summer of '69 promoted its news operation as the lunar landing approached. Utilizing UPI News, WARM had special reports during each newscast and broke in with bulletins as needed. On the night that man first landed on the moon, WARM suspended local programming (it was a Sunday night so it was no big financial loss for sales) with UPI coverage.
HERE'S WHAT WE WERE LISTENING TO ON WARM:
AND OF COURSE, WARM PLAYED THIS OLDIE FROM 1965.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Forty years ago WARM Radio actually published a Hurricane Guide. When I heard about Tropical Storm Carlos making its way therough the seas last week I thought of this piece of WARM trivia. Apparently WARM decided to put out this guide for travelers as well as an aid in planning summer road trips. Little did the powers that be at WARM realize that in 1972 a tropical storm named Agnes would wreck havoc on parts of WARMland. A song WARM played, "Stormy" by Dennis Yost and the Classics 4.
Friday, July 10, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: SUMMERTIME FUN ADS ON THE BACK OF WARM SURVEY SHEETS AND MC TOMMY WOODS. (CLICK TO ENLARGE).
Many people who remember WARM readily point to the concerts at Rocky Glen Park for summertime fun. WARM day was held toward the end of summer and drew thousands of people. But during the summer, WARM promoted cncerts featuring various artists at places like Pocono Downs, San Souci Park and Hanson's Amusement Park. WARM was the summertime clearinghouse for information on the hot groups and of course summertime fun. Here's one of the featured bands, Cannibal and the Headhunters:
Also, here from Allentown is Jay and the Techniques:
And then there were The Dells:
Friday, July 3, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: FIREWORKS.
WARM AND THE 4TH
WARM Radio in its heydey celebrated the Fourth of July in a very low key manner. WARM, prior to the big day would run contests like giving away charcoal and picnic supplies but by and large, WARM conveyed the image that on the 4th, it was "family" time. And WARM Radio, wanted to be part of the family. Promos urged listeners to take WARM to the State Park, the beach or on that ride to a 4th of July celebration. WARM never sponsored a fireworks event but did everything it could to piggy back and promote others big explosive events. This weekend, WARM True Oldies Channel is promoting the "Great American Road Trip" as a celebration of music and this great country. What better way to think back to the good times of rock and roll then to travel down Route 66:
Friday, June 26, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: THE JACKSONS.
WARM AND THE "J 5"
WARM Radio played the hits. To be sure, WARM was never a trendsetter or had "breakout" debut records. But when a group was hot, WARM played their tunes. Such was the case with the Jackson 5. WARM dutifully played every Jackson song that came down the pike. And the jocks added their commentary to the songs whether it Bob Woody's making fun of the group's ode to a rat, "Ben" or the simple but upbeat song "ABC". Former WARM staffer Joe Middleton spent some time with the group in the mid 70s and was interviewed by The Times Leader today as well as this sister blog, "The LuLac Political Letter". From the Times Leader. Joe Middleton of Pittston worked for the Jackson 5 during the group’s 1973 tour. Middleton assisted with the merchandising on the tour and said he spent a lot of time around the young pop sensation. He recalled Jackson with both fondness and sadness on Thursday. “The kid was a prankster,” said Middleton. “He was great. He was fun to be with. You could tell he had talent, but he didn’t have a normal childhood. Michael had no life. That’s why the kid was screwed up. He never left his father’s side. He was the cash cow. Nothing could happen to Michael. Without Michael, there was no Jackson 5.” Middleton said he wasn’t surprised to hear stories, years later, about the negative impact that Jackson’s father, Joe, might have had on his son’s psyche. “The father was a very stern taskmaster,” he said. “The other boys would have some time to have fun, but Michael was under the father’s thumb all the time.” To look at Joe's comments on LuLac, go to Edition #859, dated June 26th, 2009. Of the many songs played on WARM from the Jacksons, perhaps the one that bridged the music gap between the WARM of the 50s to the WARM of the 70s was their remake of "Rockin' Robin".
Sunday, June 21, 2009
WARM AND DADS
WARM Radio had a promotion for everything and Father's Day was no exception. WARM had a "Dress Your Dad" contest with Kranson Klothes for many years. The old Packard suit outlet in Scranton ran a promotion with WARM called "Suit Yourself Dad". Various eateries had "Breakfast For Dad" contests while the Mr. Kleen car wash in Exeter (still thriving by the way) ran a few remotes around Father's Day weekend in the early and mid 60s. Yes WARM honored the dads and even to this stay WARM's True Oldies Channel format is featuring "The Founding Fathers of Rock and Roll". Now here is a few dad oriented tunes WARM played over the years for all the dads on Father's Day.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: FORMER WARM PERSONALITY PETE GABRIEL NOW AND PETE GABRIEL THEN ON WARM SURVEY SHEET.
THE MIGHTY GABRIEL RETURNS
Pete Gabriel showed up in WARMland the other day and a reunion broke out. Gabriel was on the Mighty 590 from 1968 to about 1971. Known as a Gentle Giant and one heck of a WARM softball softie, Gabriel first did the 10am to 1pm shift then gravitated toward the 1pm to 4pm slot until finally doing drive time from 4pm to 8pm. Here's Bill O'Boyle's recap on Pete's visit and reunion with other WARM staffers from the Times Leader:
You might say it was an evening filled with WARM memories.
Pete Gabriel, Jerry Heller, Harry West and Joe Middleton shook hands, hugged and smiled as they recalled their years at the Mighty 590. All four were employees of Susquehanna Broadcasting when WARM ruled the airwaves in the 1960s.
They were part of WARM – the AM radio station that in its heyday had 60 percent to 70 percent of the radio listening audience tuned in every day. The powerful 5,000-watt station reached beyond Wilkes-Barre, Scranton and Hazleton – its signal pierced the air all the way to Manhattan, Philadelphia, Binghamton and even the New Jersey shore.
WARMland, as it was called, erased the lines of demarcation between counties and towns – creating Northeastern Pennsylvania – and just about every baby boomer and beyond remembers the jingles, the Sensational Seven, record hops, and WARM days at Rocky Glen and Sans Souci parks.
That’s what Gabriel, Heller, West and Middleton wanted to talk about.
“It was a time that will never be repeated,” Heller said.
They told story after story, laughing and sometimes bordering on tears as they recalled events and co-workers who have since passed on.
“What a great time that was working with all those guys,” Gabriel said. “There was such camaraderie; we all got along.”
Gabriel was at WARM from 1968 to 1971. He brought pictures and memories to share with the others. And they had their own stories as well.
“Pete hasn’t seen these guys in a long time – years – and he still feels that closeness from when they worked together,” Middleton said. “They were a team.”
They remembered Len Woloson, Terry McNulty, Ron Allen, Tim Carlson, Bob Oliver and George Gilbert – all deceased – but not with sadness, rather with joy and laughter. They talked about “Little” Joey Shaver, Jim Drucker and Tom Woods who couldn’t make the reunion.
“I’ve never worked with a better group of guys,” Gabriel said. “And I’ve never worked for a station that treated its people better.”
West said the guys haven’t kept in touch much since the station’s heydays, but that will change now. They already talked about getting together again – soon.
“Frankly, there’s not many of us left,” Gabriel, 71, said. West just turned 79, Heller is 69 and Middleton is 60.
Heller served as WARM’s news director and the station placed great emphasis on news.
“I was living in Illinois and I answered an ad for news director at WARM that read: ‘One of America’s great radio stations is looking for a news director,’” Heller said. “That really did sum it up.”
Gabriel and his wife, Sandy, live in Youngstown, Ohio, and they stopped in the area on their way to a family reunion in Plymouth, Mass.
“When I read the story about Harry (West) and WARM in The Times Leader, I was really happy to see a lot of the guys were still around and I wanted to look them up,” Gabriel said. “It was such a great time back then – the kids, the music, the events, and the fun. What station today would allow a personality (McNulty) to pass around a can of pineapple to people who weren’t even in the building?”
The “Sensational Seven” became the “WARM Good Guys” – a collection of on-air talent perhaps seldom seen in radio then, before, or since.
Four of the “Good Guys” ate dinner, laughed a lot, then hugged and vowed to meet again.
It will always be WARM for them.
One of the songs that hit the top 10 while Gabriel was at WARM was Tracy by the Cufflinks:
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: GRADUATION CAP.
WARM AND THE GRADS
WARM RAdio was the soundtrack of our lives. As high school ended, the Mighty 590 held a special place in the hearts of all the grads. After all, our class came of age listening to Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" in late 1968 as Freshman. We danced to The Buoys "These Days" at the St. John's dances on William Street with Harry West, Terry McNulty and Joey Shaver doing the dance hops. Our class celebrated Earth Day in 1970 listening to Three Dog Night's "Celebrate" as well as mourning the break up of The Beatles listening to "The Long And Winding Road". In the summer of 1971, we slow danced to the Temptations "Just My Imagination" our last summer before senior year. On the night of my senior prom, I stopped off at WARM to see the all night guy, Ken Curtis to impress my date. She wasn't but I enjoyed the visit even though he said I was wearing "a monkey suit". Which I was. Graduation day from St. John's in Pittston in June of 1972 culminated with one of the top ten songs, "Morning Has Broken" also being our class song. WARM Radio was the constant companion for untold graduation classes in WARMland. Years later, the WARM line up can be recited sometimes more accurateluy than the roster of our teachers.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: JOEY SHAVER CIRCA 1966 AND PROMO FOR STUDENT OF THE YEAR.
STUDENT OF THE YEAR
When WARM Radio first took to the airwaves in 1958, the station played that rock and roll music criticized by the older generation at the time. However with its news presence, WARM quickly won over the WWII era moms and dads. To further cement WARM's reputation as a family station, the outlet began to give out scholarships to worthy, achieving students in WARMland. Every year, night time jock Joey Shaver would run a contest culminating in the recognition of a student who not only had good grades but showed good responsibility and citizenship. And of course WARM being WARM, good music was mixed in with the awarding of a student's achievement. After all, WARM never wasted a good demographic.
Friday, June 5, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: BACK OF WARM SURVEY SHEET PROMOTING FREE TRIP TO LONDON TO SEE THE DAVE CLARK 5.
WARM AND THE BRITS
WARM Radio in the mid 60s hopped on to the British music invasion bandwagon. WARM was involved in a contest with the Revlon Company. The cosmetic firm was touting a product called "Natural Wonder" which was a foundation make up for young women. The contest was nationwide, and according to my records no one locally won the trip but there were more than 9,000 consolation prizes offered. While the Beatles dominated the WARM weekly surveys, The Dave Clark 5 never lagged far behind. Here are two great songs heard on WARM in the 60s by the DC5."Everybody Knows" and "Because".
Saturday, May 30, 2009
A RADIO A DAY
May was always known traditionally as "National Radio Month". WARM radio did not let that opportunity pass by when it came to promotions. In the early 1970s, WARM celebrated National Radio Month by giving away a radio. Every day in May. 31 radios all told. Promotion cost: maybe $1500.00, less if they traded them with a local electronics dealer. But the promotional mileage the station got out of it was priceless.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: GEORGE GILBERT CIRCA 1958 AND WARM TOP 40 EARLY SURVEY SHEET.
AN AUDIO MEMORY
Subject: A WARM Goodbye
This was the song WARM used as their # 1 song for the year, 1958 when they had their 20th Anniversary show in early June of 1978. #1_Song_With_GG_&_Tommy_Edwards(58).mp3.
It only seems fitting that George Gilbert who was there at the beginning & near the end of WARM's run as we knew it would be on this outtake with the #1 song from 1958, the year they went top 40 radio & which kept them on top for the next 20 years or so.
I recorded this when it happened back in 1978 & for me it is a final tribute to a radio station that EVERYBODY loved back at a time when radio was king. So enjoy, reflect & reminisce one more time to WARM The Mighty 590 , The Original Sensational Seven (DJ's) and to all who were a part of the history from that era. So long WARM.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
WARM Radio, born in 1940, having come into adulthood in 1958 at the age of 18 as the landmark rock and roll station for a generation was officially declared dead on Wednesday, April 15th, 2009. WARM spent its childhood in Scranton, moved to the center of the Wilkes Barre/Scranton radio market in its legendary years in the small town of Avoca and entered its declining days at 600 Baltimore Drive, Plains Twp. Causes of death were neglect of its power source, changing tastes in music and technology as well as low revenue. Surviving are thousands of avid listeners and fans who grew up with WARM Radio. There will be no calling hours. Private services are up to citizens of WARMland's collective memories and individual schedules.
FROM THE TIMES LEADER'S JERRY LYNOTT:
PLAINS TWP. – WARM, the AM-radio station synonymous with Northeastern Pennsylvania, is off the air after broadcasting news, music and sports for more than 50 years.
The station has been silent and a posting on its Web site thanked listeners for their support. “We love you and we’ll miss you,” it read.
Calls to the Citadel Broadcasting Co.-owned station were not returned Wednesday. “WARM is done,” said Sam Liguori. “Unless there’s a miracle they ain’t coming back.” Liguori, 72, of Forty Fort, hosted a Saturday polka show. He said the station’s backup transmitter had failed. “It’s a big technical problem that would cost a lot of money” to repair, he said.
Listeners found static when they tuned in to the station’s 590 kHz frequency for the past week. Unable to give a final sendoff on the air, Liguori thanked his audience and sponsors. “I hope the four hours a week that I was on the air put some joy in your life. That was my goal,” he said Wednesday. At its height in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, WARM, known as “The Mighty 590,” featured on-air personalities playing the latest Top 40 rock ‘n’ roll records. They populated their shows with signature characters and their antics entertained listeners well beyond the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area on the strength of its 5,000-watt transmitter.
The station changed hands, formats and locations. It billed itself as the “True Oldies Channel” with a playlist containing some of the songs WARM’s “Sensational Seven” disc jockeys spun on 45-rpm records in its Avoca studio. “We had a talented bunch of guys,” said Harry West, 79, of Kingston. He worked at the station from September 1959 through July 1992 and then moved around to other local stations. “To this day I will be someplace and somebody will know me by my jingle,” West said of the catchy intro to his show. The shows were fun. The station was popular. And it won’t be duplicated. “The format was, there was no format,” West said.
Still, the station must adhere to Federal Communications Commission rules. WARM’s owner must give notice of an extended disruption of service for up to 30 days because of events beyond the control of the station owner. “They don’t have to notify us for 10 days,” said David Fiske, an FCC spokesman. If the station fails to broadcast for 12 consecutive months, its license expires, according to FCC rules. Should it come to that, Joe Nardone Sr. said he would have plenty of good memories.“They’re the one who introduced rock ‘n’ roll to the valley,” he said. The station also helped Nardone promote music shows at the Sans Souci Park. He said he did some clandestine market research back then to make sure he attracted big crowds. Nardone said he would send out people with flashlights to the parking lot to shine the lights on the radios inside the cars. “We wanted to know what they were listening to,” Nardone recalled. Nine out of 10 of the radios were tuned to WARM, he said.
Jerry Lynott, a Times Leader staff writer, can be contacted at 570 829-7237.
This blog/site, 590 FOREVER will continue to chronicle the historical aspects of WARM RADIO.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
A major part of WARM Radio history was the broadcasting of Philadelphia Phillie games. An intregal part of that era was Harry Kalas as the lead broadcaster of the National League team. We have two tributes from past WARM personalities Tommy Woods and Michael Neff.