Thursday, December 23, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #482



PHOTO INDEX: WARM'S NORM HILL.

A WARM CHRISTMAS MEMORY

First off, I have been fortunate to have never had a bad Christmas. Through pain, personal loss, chemo therapy, crazy things that happened to me, I can honestly say I never had a bad Christmas. But there was one year in the early 1990s when I was having one of those holiday seasons where everything was going wrong. No matter how hard I tried, there was no way I could please anyone. It was Christmas Eve and I was down. Naturally I had my radio on after having to work on Christmas Eve. Driving home my car stopped. Electrical failure. . Christmas Eve, 4:45Pm, a few miles away from my house. Thank goodness I was near a pay phone. I hoofed it to the phone and called Triple A. I had one quarter left. Earlier in the radio, before the car fiasco I was listening to Norm Hill on WARM. Norm hosted “The WARM Hall Of Fame Show” from 7 to midnight for a while. Later he worked in traffic, did mid morning and was also a swing man. Norm was saying on the air how much he missed being home on Christmas Eve. (WARM then went with pretaped Christmas music after the 6PM newscast) So with the change I had left, I called Norm. We had been familiar with each other because of my appearances on WARM for public relations projects I had been working on. Norm had also done some voice overs for me too. I explained to Norm my situation and after he asked if he could help, I told him I had the car situation under control but that if he wanted he could play something for me, hell for us, two guys stranded on Christmas Eve. When I got back to the car, Norm was still in commercial break but when he came back on the air he said, “This song goes out to a good friend of WARM Radio, Dave Yonki who will, sooner or later like me, be home for Christmas”. The auto club came and I did get to my destination but the great thing was WARM played a song that made me laugh out loud, made me smile and think that “Hey this is still Christmas Eve!” My problems were minor compared to the stuff other people were trying to handle. And WARM Radio, whether it was Norm Hill or any of the talented jocks who commanded the airwaves was there to fill the void in whatever Christmas spirit was missing. After all these years, I remember Norm Hill, this incident and especially this song that came on WARM, the Mighty 590 during that challenging Christmas Eve trek home.

Friday, December 17, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #483



PHOTO INDEX: LOIS KOMENSKY AND DAVID LISCOV AT THE ST. JOHN'S FORMAL. CLASS OF 1970 BOYS CHORUS AT ST. JOHN'S CHRISTMAS CONCERT. (PHOTOS COURTESY CHARLES DAVENPORT, ST. JOHN'S CLASS OF 1970).

WARM, CHRISTMAS & THE KIDS

This weekend WARM Radio “True Oldies Channel” will feature the most spectacular Christmas songs of all time. Listening to the promos, I thought about those holidays past and how WARM played a major role in them. WARM had Christmas promotions and shopping sprees. (Mrs. 590 Forever won a trip in the 90s). WARM also promoted incessantly Christmas high school concerts. Now they did not rebroadcast them, that would be breaking format but they would promote the dickens (no pun intended) out of them on the PSBB. Another thing WARM did, way before it was fashionable and on everyone’s radar screen was the pleas to teen drivers to be cautious while going to those Christmas proms. Most likely you heard this Public Service Ad during every Prom Season but WARM made a special effort to promote safe driving in these and all other high traffic times for teeners.
And most likely you heard this song on WARM Radio every Christmas. Our pictures are courtesy of Charles Davenport an avid WARM listener. The year Charles graduated St. John’s (Class of 1970) Jose Feliciano debuted this Christmas classic.

Friday, December 10, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #484

PHOTO INDEX: JOEY SHAVER CIRCA 1966.

GREAT GOOD NIGHTS

We got a question from a reader of the WARM blog. Shirley Marquez asks:
For years, back in the days when radio stations actually went off the air late at night, Joey Shaver always played a recording of "Goodnight My Love" as his last song. I haven't been able to identify whose version he played; can you or somebody out there help?
Back in the mid 60s, WARM personalities not only had a sign on theme, they also had an end theme. George Gilbert had the Lettermen I believe doing an outro, and up until maybe 1968 Joey Shaver ended each nightly broadcast with the classic hit from 1954 called "Goodnight My Love" Shaver played it at the end of his shift making way for the all night deejay. Here's Jesse Belvin and "Goodnight My Love".

Monday, December 6, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #485


PHOTO INDEX: JOEY SHAVER AT THE KINGSTON ARMORY, CIRCA 1967.

WAR AND WARM

WARM Radio did its part for the troops during the Vietnam War. As our nation fights an unadvertised war in Afghanistan in this century, in the 60s WARMland's young men and women wound up in Vietnam. There are countless stories about parents and brothers and sisters and cousins sending reel tapes of the WARM personalities to their loved ones overseas. In the fall of 1967 WARM Radio was at a business event at the Kingston Armory (it was the annual Wilkes Barre Chamber of Commerce trade show). WARM's Joey Shaver manned a booth asking people if they wanted to send a taped message to one of the overseas patriots. As with everything WARM did back then, it was wildly successful. And it didn't cost much to set up some equipments and garner the good will of listeners far and wide/. No matter what your political persuasion, what your opinion about the war, WARM reached out to those families who had someone fighting and sometimes dying in that long ago conflict.
Here are two of the songs WARM played, two different philosophies if you will during this time period in American history:

Monday, November 29, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #486




PHOTO INDEX: FORMER WARM JOCK CHRIS STARR IN AN AD FOR HIS STATION IN BALTIMORE AND IN A STATION PROMOTION SURROUNDED BY A BEVY OF BEAUTIES.

CHRIS STARR RESPONDS

Our last WARM Mighty Memory featured Chris Starr who used the name Chris O'Brien from WARM. We heard from him and posted this response from him. In his response he talks about his days and interactions at WARM.
Jim Gannon was one of the nicest people to know. Maybe someone will see your post and he'll get in touch.
I remember by first jock meeting at WARM, the guys told me to shut up and just listen, because it was all a waste of time. Ron Allen after the meeting got under way and looked at me and said "Chris, you don't know this place was so screwed up do you?"
When I was a PD at WEJL and then WSCR and later WSCR (13 Q) the our favorite The Woody Guy, he told us that WARM was a "Well oiled machine" That wasn't true. There were plenty of Friday's nights when there wasn't even a jock schedule placed up for the weekend. We call to call to find out what the air shifts were.
So, after BAX, I went to WICK with Woody, then WEJL, I was PD there, then to WSCR with about 6 or 7 other EJL staff members including Jack Griswold. I coined the call letters "Why Even Jack Left" LOL.
So, after WARM, I went to Maryland, guess I'm one of the "lucky" few to make it to a major market, then Voice of America. That place is huge. Had people there who used to work for the BBC, Good Morning America, we had 2 of Larry Kings ex engineers (they hated him). Guys from The Tonight Show crew, Mike Douglas, you name it. The Voice America was considered the final step up. A federal Government job, great retirement and so on.
My final job in DC was.....ready? Working for Present Clinton and Air Force One. Can't say mush about that because it has a high security clearance and Nation Security issues. THAT was an amazing job. I did get to talk to Hillary once, her Grandfather worked with my Uncle in the old silk mill in Scranton years ago.
So, it was an interesting career. I also wrote for some national Magazine, was Editor-in-Chief of The W.C. Fields Magazine for the Fields family. We worked with A&E on the Fields biography. If you ever see it, look for me and my real name on the credits. I go them just about everyone to interview for the show. When they first called me, they asked if Fields really drank. So, they had no idea.
Jerry Heller was also very nice to work with at WARM. Ron Allen was always kind and considerate to me as well. Terry, I only worked with maybe twice, so I never got a chance to know him well. But he was a true professional and good to work with. It's so sad to see that so many of them have passed away.

ON WFBR……….

They took me and bought me 20 tuxedo's for a promotion when a limo driver would take me around Baltimore. I'd go into restaurants, pick up peoples checks and give them money. I had thousands on me each day. I couldn't believe it. When they took me for the tux, there were 5 promotion girls that worked there. I asked "Do I just bring the tux's back when I done?" they said "No! there yours!!!". That was a shocker. I was used to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where everything was a trade out. This station at the time was owned at John Gambling "Gamblin with Gamblin from WOR in New York. I'd work 4 hours a day and was home my 10:30 am ...amazing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #487
















PHOTO INDEX: WARM'S JIM GANNON, AKA DALE DENVER, WARM'S CHRIS O'BRIEN, AKA CHRIS STARR.


THE BOYS FROM ‘BAX


WARM Radio very rarely wooed people away from other stations in the 1960s. True Terry McNulty came from WSCR, Tommy Woods from WNAK and Joey Shaver from WBAX but it was a given that if a new personality came from out of town it was from another city. In the mid 70s WARM started recruiting more aggressively locally. Around 1977 WARM went jock shopping at WBAX. In the mid 70s after Jim Ward left the station to start WARD, the Merv Griffin group still owned the station. They put an aggressive campaign to market themselves as a top 40 station. They featured twenty twenty news and had 6 disc jockeys who did 4 hour shifts.
Jim Gannon was known as Dale Denver on WBAX. Starting at 2am and ending at 6, Denver was the all night disc jockey who kept on moving up when people moved on. He went to WARM in the late seventies doing all nights, then afternoons. In the early 80s when WARM had Bill Kimball as a Program Director, it was decided that there would be tandem shows. Gannon was paired with Harry West in the morning. West who always was his own act was not happy. Gannon gamely tried to carry on in the mix but it just wasn’t clicking. After Kimball went on his way. Gannon did afternoon shifts.
Chris O’Brien came to WARM after spending a few years doing drive time on WBAX. He was best known as Chris Starr and was mischievous. His double ententes with then news woman Madeline Fitzgerald were way ahead of the Howard Stern Robin Quivers talk. Starr and Fitzgerald never went over the line..much and jelled well. O’Brien went over to WARM doing night and drive time. O’Brien later worked at WEJL AM which I think might have been his last radio gig in this area.
I was on my first day on an internship from King’s College when morning man Rick Walker got into an argument with a pompous GM named Dick Booth. I was talking to Walker when Booth made a smart remark and its was on. Walker left the building. I felt horrible because I thought I precipitated the firing. The Receptionist Lenore Brace later told me this was brewing long before I got there. (She and Starr later married). Walker wound up at WARM as Don DelVechio doing 10am to 2pm. Ron Allen gave him his name due to the popularity of a long gone, little remembered detective show on ABC.
Keaton one of my readers send me photos that his mom copied. He writes, "My late Mother made copies of them for me from Jim Gannon who was working with her about 10 years ago at a telemarking company in the old Scranton Dry Company. Gannon was close friends with Chris O'Brien and apparently had kept in touch over the years. They both had worked at the old WBAX. When Chris O'Brien left WARM in the 80's, he went to WFBR Baltimore and did mornings,later worked at WQSR Baltimore and finally at The Voice of America in Washington, DC. Gannon worked at WDSL I think it was after WARM. Where they both are now, who knows?”
At last report DelVechio was on the Exeter Police Force.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to "Keaton" for the WARM memory and photos.
REVISED FOR CONTENT: Sunday Nov. 21st, 2010, 12:21PM Eastern Time.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #488


PHOTO INDEX: BUCK OWENS AND THE BUCAROOS AND THE ROOFTOP SINGERS.

WARM’S DALLIANCES

In the 60s music was changing almost every month. If you take a look at a 1962 survey sheet from WARM you saw songs from standards singers Tony Bennett on it. Then there was the emergence of the “girl groups” and the “Wall of Sound” from Phil Spector. One of the biggest and popular arrivals on the scene was the era of folk music epitomized by the Rooftop Singers, Peter Paul and Mary and the Seekers. WARM decided to capitalize on this new folk wave by running a program ON Sunday night entitled “WARM Hootenanny”. It wasn’t anything that was in depth or probing. It was just an ancillary program filled with that type of music sponsored by a business and then promoted by WARM throughout the week. Not wanting to rock the cash cow boat WARM created with Top 40 and News and Information, the show was safely tucked away on a Sunday night sandwiched between the Stegmairer Oldies Show and the WARM public affairs block that ran at 11PM Sundays until signoff.
A few years later WARM also introduced a TOP Ten countdown of the Country Hits in the nation. Again, it was sponsored but not put in any place to change the outcome of their main format.
These two attempts were clear demonstrations that while being number 1 with a major share of audience. WARM had its ear to the ground trying to make sure they weren’t missing anything in the pop music field. This dalliance into niche broadcasting was shortlived since those Hootenanny hits and country songs crossed over into the regular top 40 rotation. But it is worth noting that WARM, even in the 60s was looking to make sure they kept themselves in the music game. According to my records and interviews with people, (albeit very sketchy) The Hootenanny Show ran from '62 to about late '63 and the WARM Country Countdown lasted about 6 months from January 1966 to about mid May).



Sunday, October 31, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #489

PHOTO INDEX: JACK O LANTERN.

HALLOWEEN AND WARM

Did WARM Radio revel in Halloween? Oh yeah.
Big time. WARM in the 60s had various Halloween dances for the teenagers. None of the Sensational 7 ever dressed in costume. In the 70s and 80s as that teen audience aged, WARM began to participate in safe Halloween events at both the Viewmont and Wyoming Valley Malls. These were huge promotions usually held on Thursday and Friday nights before Halloween. All station personnel were on hand to organize the event with the Mall Marketing Directors. There were tons of kids, parents, candy, goodie bags as well as educational events on childhood safety and protection during the Halloween season. Joey Shaver, former WARM personality in the 60s was the Account Rep for both Malls. He was an integral part in setting up the events and keeping the MIGHTY 590 in the forefront of the Halloween season. In the mid 90s, the teenagers who rocked out in costume in the 60s showed up at the Mall properties with their grand children! And as always on WARM, there was a musical constant on Halloween. And it was of course this tune that blared on the radio and through the Malls and the Mighty 590.

Friday, October 29, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #490

PHOTO INDEX: WARM'S BRIAN HUGHES.

SUNDAY MAGAZINE

Every Sunday morning, Brian Hughes of WARM Radio hosts "Sunday Magazine". It is a half hour public affairs show that features guests from every walk of life. This week I'm happy to announce that I am Brian Hughes' guest. We'll be talking about politics in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Show time: 9:30AM on Sunday. We'll discuss issues that I write about on The LuLac political Letter.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #491


PHOTO INDEX: PETE GABRIEL LAST YEAR AT COOPER'S IN PITTSTON AND ON THE WARM SURVEY SHEET CIRCA 1971.


PETE GABRIEL DIES


Pete Gabriel who was a day time disc jockey for the Mighty 590 in the early 1970s passed away recently. Gabriel came to WARM in late 1968 transitioning into the mid day 10am to 1pm slot. Later Gabriel worked the 1pm to 4pm shift. Gabriel was a towering figure. He loved sports and was a very integral part of the WARM Softball Softies of the early 70s. Gabriel was a good hitter and fielder but because of his size, he also served as a type of enforcer/peacemaker for the Softies. The WARM guys came out to play for charity events. But they didn't want to appear to be lovable losers either and had a very good team. Sometimes opposition members tried to take out their frustrations on the visiting WARM personnel. Gabriel never let that happen. Gabriel returned to the area in 2009 for a reunion with former co workers. (See Mighty WARM memory #548 ). He was reported to be in ill health but his death was still a jolt to WARMlanders.

Friday, October 8, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #492



PHOTO INDEX: WARM SPORTS BROADCASTER KELLY REED AND FLOYD RAYFORD OF THE RED BARONS (CIRCA 1990) AND KELLY AT AN OUTDOOR BOXING EVENT ON A RAINY NIGHT.

KELLY REED

Since this is my favorite time of year in terms of sports, (baseball playoffs and the emergence of the NFL season) I thought it fitting to profile a leader in area sports casting. She was a pioneer. Kelly Reed existed long before Pat Porro or Charlotte McBride from WNEP TV. She was a ground breaker in pioneering women’s sports broadcasting. Reed started out as a night time disc jockey on Magic 93 but gradually matriculated over to WARM Radio. She did the Morning Sports during drive time in the late 80s and early 90s and was a frequent fixture at Red Baron games, high school football and basketball events plus any sport the Mighty 590 wound up covering or promoting. Whether it was an Old Timer’s Day at the ballpark or female boxing, Kelly Reed was there to lend her expertise and perspective. Kelly Reed was one of those broadcasters who made an impact on WARM and its audience. Reportedly she is back in the New York area still doing sports.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #493





PHOTO INDEX: COVER OF THE WARM JOKE BOOK, SOME OF THE JOKES SENT IN AND COMMENTS BY THE WARM AIR STAFF ON THE BOOK. (CLICK TO ENLARGE).

LAUGH LAUGH

Before there was such a designation of LOL (Laugh Out Loud) WARM Radio hit the funny bone of every citizen in its listening area. WARM employed jokesters but also solicited jokes from the listening public. WARM published a joke book in the mid 70s and it was a popular item among high school and college students, people gathering for family events as well as just a little something to put a smile on a WARMlander's face. Plus there were rumors that even a few area toastmasters of note resorted to usage of the WARM joke book.
Here's the ultimate Laughing song:

And as you well know, the jokers always went wild.

And finally, everybody, just about everyone, loves a clown.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #494





PHOTO INDEX: WARM VEHICLES THROUGH THE YEARS.

STATION VEHICLES

The lifeblood of any radio station is the ability to get out to the public. For years radio stations have used promotional vehicles festooned with logos and big colors promoting the radio station. WARM Radio knew that better than any other entity in this market. WARM had numerous vehicles for their news department. Terry McNulty used to say that WARM had news cruisers 6, 7 and 8 numbered instead of 1, 2 and 3 to give the illusion there was a fleet. Many times WARM news staff used their own cars to cover a story. WARM had vans, and two big RV type motor vehicles. One big unit came from KLIF in Dallas, Texas. Most of the news cars came from auto dealerships with trade accounts (barter for advertising) and I understand that the bigger units were bought either second hand or some sort of promotional deal was cut to paint and style them. WARM made a splash and presence everywhere it went. WARM Radio coined the term "making tracks."

Monday, September 20, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #495

PHOTO INDEX: WARM COVERAGE MAP.

TRIBUTE VIDEO

Drew Techner did a fabulous video that is up on You Tube. The sound is from a WARM 50s weekend. It was also during the momentous Hurricane Gloria rainstorms that virtually flooded the Tripp Section of Scranton and caused havoc. This is a great snapshot of what WARM was in the 1980s.

Friday, September 17, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #496




PHOTO INDEX: PHOTOS FROM DREW AND TOM'S EXCELLENT WARM ADVENTURE. DREW TECHNER STANDING IN FRONT OF WARM VAN AND TWO PHOTO'S OF STEVE (OLSHEFSKI) ST. JOHN AND VINCE SWEENEY.

FAN'S MEMORIES OF WARM

One of the hallmarks of WARM Radio’s legacy is the connection people felt to it. The Mighty 590 was a major draw to teenagers coming home from a Prom Date or Basketball game. Kids would peer into the studio windows to see the on air personality. WARM also had its share of fans from outside of the area who made pilgrimages to their favorite radio station. In the spring of 1985 Drew Techner and his friend Tom Parker took a drive up north and took a chance on dropping in on the staff of the Mighty 590. They were in luck because two of the WARM “young guns”, Steve St. John and Vince Sweeney were in the house. Here’s Drew’s story:
My friend Tom Parker's family has a cabin in Promised Land and he spent every summer there growing up. He always loved WARM and tried to catch it when back in Philly. Both Tom and I became DX listeners of AM and FM back in high school. We made so many aircheck tapes and had a great time getting QSL cards and letters. These were the days before the Internet and it was such a thrill to listen to stations far away that nobody else knew about. On or about March 1, 1985: Tom drove us up to Scranton in his yellow 69 Dodge Dart for several days in the Poconos. We made an impromptu visit at WARM and found Steve St. John and Vince Sweeney obliging hosts. Vince gave me his business card. We were surprised that they just let us like that. Vince noted that he had decided to "dress up" that work day and had a three-piece suit. Maybe he expected advertising clients that week, who knows. But there we were... inside the broadcast studios of the Mighty 590 WARM. I was working at Franklin's Family Restaurant at the time. They had 12 restaurants and I worked at the one in Philly. After our visit at WARM, we went for lunch at Franklin's in Scranton. Remember the fresh Strawberry pie or the "Big Ben" burger? Tom and I were both on WRDV-FM in Warminster, Pa. for a few years in the late Eighties. We still listen to the radio and pull in WARM when we can. ...that's me standing in front of the WARM-mobile.
NEXT TIME, DREW'S VIDEO OF WARM.

Monday, September 13, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #497


PHOTO INDEX: P.S.B.B.

PUBLIC SERVICE BULLETIN BOARD

When you listened to WARM in its heyday, you heard all about your friends and neighbors through The Public Service Bulletin Board. A personality may have been coming out of a record or into a commercial, whenever but you could count on hearing about a blood drive, church picnic or event happening in WARMland. Dubbed “P.S. B. B.,” at one point the feature even had its own jingle. Community groups knew that by having a blurb on WARM, then the number 1 station, the event broadcast would get good publicity. Around 1970 WARM dropped the jingle and in 1976 Elden Hale and WNEP TV co-opted Public Service Bulletin Board as Channel 16’s own. The late Tim Karlson who worked at WNEP TV in Sports and later Production told me he was surprised WARM never fought WNEP on taking the name. He also said when he had to cut a spot for it, he thought of WARM.
Currently WARM Radio continues the tradition of community service by having broadcasting “The WARM Community Calender”. At least three times an hour WARM runs announcements on events going on in the area. A tradition of “community” continues on WARM. Whether it was P.S.B.B. or the current programming, WARM keeps you updated on what’s happening in town.

Friday, September 10, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #498


PHOTO INDEX: "STOP 'N GO" RESTAURANTS.

STOP ‘N GO

One of the places closely linked with WARM Radio was a fast food restaurant called “Stop ‘N Go”. Long before McDonald’s or Burger King came into the area, “Stop ‘N Go” was the place for 15 cent hamburgers and good crispy fries. “Stop ‘N Go” was one of the unofficial burger hangouts as well as a place where WARM listeners could get the weekly WARM survey sheet or even a copy of that now famous 45, “The Ballad of WARMland.” “Stop ‘N Go” eateries left the WARMland road map in the 70s with the addition of places like “Top Spot”, “Carroll’s” and the major chains. But in the memories of WARM listeners, “Stop “N Go” was the place to have a snack as you headed out to a game, date or cruise with the Mighty 590 tuned on the radio.
Brian Hughes, News Director of the current incarnation of WARM (the station airs Scott Shannon's True Oldies Channel) wrote this note about Pal's Restaurants. "Don't forget about "Pals" among the fast food joints. They had 2 locations, at the top of Moosic Street in South Scranton, where Dunkin Donuts now stands, and at the Viewmont Mall in Dickson City, just down from the old "Barrells Whiskey & Rhyme".
http://www.warm590.com/.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #499

PHOTO INDEX: WARM FOOTBALL TEAM RANKINGS.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

When WARM Radio was making the oh so very subtle transition from Top 40 station to community based adult operation, high school football became a very important piece of the move. In the late 60s after WARM started 20/20 sports in drive time, WARM on the weekends began to report the scores on high school games during the weekend.
When WARM began the weekly Sunday Night Sports Line with Ron Allen and Pete Ericson, a large portion of the show was dedicated to high school sports. WARM even had weekly team ranking which intensified the rivalries among school districts. In the 80s when WARM had a hybrid format, (music in the 6am to 5pm period) and in the 90s when they want talk, WARM carried actual live games. Before Ron Allen left the station, one of the most highly anticipated sports programs was his Friday night wrap around where various WARM reporters (staffers and imports) reported games as they happen to Allen. The kids who began to listen to WARM as teenagers now tuned in to hear their own kid’s names and gridiron exploits mentioned on the Mighty 590. WARM stopped broadcasting high school football games around 1999 because they were not bringing in the revenue the new company wanted. But for over 30 years WARM Radio and High School football were synonymous.


Friday, August 27, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #500




PHOTO INDEX: ROCKY GLEN ROLLER COASTER POST CARD AND WARM SURVEY SHEET PROMOTING WARM DAY.

WARM DAY

The highlight of the summer for every listener to WARM Radio was WARM Day at Rocky Glen Park. There are numerous stories that have been told over the years about the event.
Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons pre rehearsing at the WARM Studios.
The personalities being mobbed by the general public.
Entertainers being imported through the crowd by ambulances.
Incredible crowds and excitement.
First name acts that were at the top of the charts. At one time WARM Day had more than a few acts that were in the top ten at the same time.
Little Eva snarling art Harry West.
WARM Day was a culmination of the summer which the radio station cagily built on. By the time WARM Day rolled around at the end of August, it was considered the last big party, the last big blast before hitting the books in high school., going to college, the service or getting a job. WARM Day was a testament and a celebration of the youth of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the youth of WARMland.
From one of the later WARM Days, the Ides of March, a top ten headliner. I think this was WARM Day, 1970.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #501






PHOTO INDEX: SCENE FROM POCONO DRAG LODGE REUNION (TIMES LEADER), JOEY SHAVER CIRCA 1966, TOMMY WOOD THEN, TOMMY WOODS NOW.

PDL REUNION

Tommy Woods has lived in Wilkes Barre Township for quite a while. The Township is known for the great Giant's Despair Hill Climb Ride. So Tommy knows all about race cars. Joey Shaver, a long time resident of Harvey's Lake is no stranger to cars. A long time Corvette owner, Shaver was in the thick of promoting outings at Pocono Drag Lodge when he was the popular night time jock on the Mighty 590 in the 60s. This past weekend Tommy and Joey, members of the WARM Sensational 7 participated in the second annual PDL reunion. Here's John Gordon's story from the Times Leader:
Do you remember that catchy television commercial from 1974? You know, the one that goes: “baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet.” It is a musical piece of Americana that resonates with many people from that beloved era. It brings back many nostalgic memories.
On Saturday, at the second annual Pocono Drag Lodge Reunion in Bear Creek Township, the lyrics might have been a bit different, but the Americana, memories and atmosphere were undeniable.
If the song played yesterday, it surely would have had a Northeastern Pa. feel to it, and gone: “Drag racers, potato pancakes, apple turnovers, and yes, Chevrolet.”
More than 250 supercharged autos, including Fords, Chevrolets, and a multitude of other makes and models, lined the edges of the deteriorating NHRA quarter-mile drag strip off Meadow Run Road.
There were a variety of Gassers (racing cars that run on a mixture of alcohol and nitromethane) and AFX cars (factory experimental cars donated by auto companies in the 1960s for drag racing) on display for the estimated thousands of spectators to photograph, sit in, and gawk at. They could simply dream of a time long passed.
The 1958 Everly Brothers hit song, “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” played over the event speakers early in the day and set the tone for many at the reunion.
“It’s like that movie, ‘Field of Dreams,’” said racing legend and enthusiast Wally Bell. “If you build it, they will come.”
Bell chuckled after that statement, sharing the laughter with event organizer, Charlie Hulsizer, and complimented his efforts.
“Charlie brought the racers back, back to drink that wine,” Bell said.
The appetites of many in attendance were satisfied with good foods that ranged from french fries and potato pancakes to apple turnovers and muffins. Booths lined the track from the, still visible, starting line, to the finish line, 1,320 feet away.
Vendors sold T-shirts, model cars, racing DVDs, car parts, and a variety of books and car manuals that added to the enjoyment of those in attendance.
“These people are such a great group of folks and car enthusiasts,” Hulsizer said. “They have a special camaraderie and come from all around the area. Some even hiked all the way here.”
Tom Vanchuri and his 3-year-old son, Luke, might not have hiked to the classic site, but their trip from Plains Township was family time, well spent.
“I’ve had an interest in cars since I was very young,” Vanchuri said. “I’m trying to get my son interested now.”
Young Luke simply bobbed his head up and down with a precocious smile when asked if he liked the show.
Tom’s father-in-law, Robin Brown, of Mountain Top, even had a grin on his face when asked about the reunion.
“I’ve been a car nut forever. I’ve built a lot of cars over the years and to see this place reopened is great,” Brown said.
Charlie Hulsizer and his wife, Darlene, reopened the drag strip for the event after seeing how well preserved the area was a few years back.
“We were tripping over old car parts at the site and looked at each other and just said, we can do it, we can do this reunion,” said Hulsizer.
Kevin McHugh, from Langhorne, Pa., was a former racer who started his career at the Lodge and said the reunion brings back many memories.
“Wally Bell was driving his racer back to the pit area one day and opened his car door to give me a ride,” McHugh said. “It was my first ride in a race car and the sound of the engine was in my blood from there on out.”
The former Kingston resident went on to work at the lodge from 1965-1972. He worked the starting line and handed racers their time cards at the end of races.
After the track closed down following the flooding from Hurricane Agnes, McHugh would practice at the lodge with his 1972 super stock car.
WARM radio closed its doors in 2009. However, the sounds of the station would echo throughout the 300-acre drag lodge lot once again on the crisp and cool summer afternoon. Music from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s blasted from the speakers at both ends of the drag strip.
“The records from back then just sounded great on 45s over the AM airwaves,” said Joey Shaver, from Harvey's Lake.
He was one of the disc jockeys of the station back when the lodge and racing were at their peak.
“WARM fit the nostalgia back then,” Shaver said.
The spokesperson for WARM went on to say he hopes that the station will make a comeback one day.
“I miss playing old songs like my favorite, ‘I Only Have Eyes for You’ by the Flamingos,” Shaver said.
Charlie Hulsizer emphasized the personal importance of WARM radio and its connection to the racing track and lodge.
“As a kid I would visit my Grandma in Wilkes-Barre and my ears would be glued to the radio and WARM station,” Hulsizer said. “When I hear old WARM broadcasts on CDs now they bring tears to my eyes.”

He went on to praise all of the people that made the show a hit once again.
“My relatives, the vendors, the parking attendants, the racers, they all did a great job this year. The show is very organized today and a huge success,” Hulsizer said.
EDITOR'S NOTE: WARM RADIO IS STILL BROADCASTING 24/7 WITH A FORMAT CALLED THE TRUE OLDIES CHANNEL WHICH BROADCASTS THE HITS OF THE 60s, 70s AND 80s.

Friday, August 13, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #502


PHOTO INDEX: A WARM REUNION AT POCONO DRAG LODGE THIS WEEKEND. (SAT, AUG. 14TH).

POCONO DRAG LODGE REUNION

This Saturday the second annual reunion of the racers, fans, spectators and former WARM personalities will take place. Here are the details:
Time:
August 14, 2010 from 9am to 5pm
Location: AT THE POCONO DRAG LODGE SITE
Street: MEADOW RUN ROAD
City/Town: BEAR CREEK, PA
Phone: 845-635-3662
Take PA 115 S from PA TPK about five miles, left on Meadow Run Road about a 1/4 mile.
Organizers tell us that some former WARM personalities will be on hand to meet and greet the public. Pocono Drag Lodge, in its heyday was another major component of WARM Radio. Since WARM had very good coverage in the Pocono Mountains, many dragsters listened to the Mighty 590. WARM also promoted the weekend events every summer.
Here are two videos posted on YOU from last year’s reunion. And of course one of the Princes of Drag Racing Music, talking about his music and his motors.



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #503



PHOTO INDEX: THE KIDS LIMNING UP FOR DANCES AT SANS SOUCI PARK. (PHOTOS COURTESY OF TWIG).

WARM AND SANS SOUCI

A lot has been made of WARM Radio and Rocky Glen Park, the WARM day crowds and all the happenings. But WARM had a major presence at Sans Souci Park hosting concerts and dances. The appearance of a WARM disc jockey packed them in. It wasn't Palisades Park but it was close. One of the featured bands were the Mel Wynn Trend. Here's one of their biggest hit, "Stop Sign". Ironically while WARM promoted the local bans and their concerts, the music list rarely got local songs on it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #504


PHOTO INDEX: GEORGE GILBERT, JIMMY DURANTE AND TOMMY WOODS IN TOP PHOTO, FRANKIE VALLI AND TOMMY WOODS IN BOTTOM PHOTO. (PHOTOS COURTESY OF BOBBY DAY AND TOM WOODS).

STARS MEETING STARS

One of the by products and perks of being a member of the WARM staff in the 60s was meeting some pretty famous people. When Tommy Woods was at WARM, he had the opportunity to meet iconic figures of that era. On the photos above, Tom tells it this way: "In 1963...Jimmy Durante had a hit song.."September Song". It was the title of an Album he put out. The record distributor put on a party in Philly and George Gilbert was invited and he asked me to go along. We had a ball and Jimmy was really nice. He was just as I imagined him as a kid. I never thought I would meet him in person."

On Frankie Vallli, of the 4 Seasons fame, Tom adds: "This was not known about the Four seasons...Frankie and the guys would practice in the Warm Studios in Avoca. They had been up for a few WARM-Days and asked if they could use the studios to practice and record the sessions. I would run the tape for them while I was on the air. I could not tell a soul that they were in the studio. Frankie would come into the on air studio and talk while the records were playing. About 4 years ago..Fran and I went to the Poconos to see him. We went back stage along with Joe Middleton and had a lot of fun talking about the "Old Days" It was a lot of fun meeting these guys and there were many many more...Remember..at WARM days...we had 8 of the top ten artists at the time....Great days". Indeed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #505


PHOTO INDEX: WARM NEWS REPORTER KEVIN JORDAN AT TED KENNEDY RALLY FOR PRESIDENT IN 1980.

KEVIN JORDAN-WARM NEWS

I first met Kevin Jordan when I was on a College Internship from King’s College with WARM Radio. (Actually they had us go to WARM, WILK, WBRE AM & FM, and WMJW –FM). My first week at WARM was spent with the sales department. (That’s a future WARM Memory). By the second week I was in the newsroom with a very skeptical Jerry Heller who most likely had seen his share of lightweight interns. For the first day I re-wrote news copy and much to my surprise I found that it wasn’t edited that much. The next day I covered Luzerne County with Kitch Loftus. On Wednesday I was told I’d be out with Kevin Jordan, then barely 19 and one of the rising stars of WARM Radio. He was then working the 3 to 11 shift so I killed about 5 hours and then went on the road with him. It was one of those cold January days where the temperature barely broke 12. We sped up 81 to Scranton City Hall for a Council work session. As I stated earlier it was a bitter day but the January sun was blinding. To this day I don’t know how he did it, but he squeezed his little red car (a fire engine red Pinto) into a parking space with little room to spare. The sun was so intense that I swear he parked the car by intuition. In City Hall, Jordan literally lunged for then Mayor Peters, got his sound bite and then spotted Deputy Mayor Jim McNulty who was on the verge of resigning to run the Frank Elliott for Senator campaign. More sound. We then went to the Police Station and in what could only be described as a scene out of Law and Order, Jordan talked with two City Detectives about an ongoing murder investigation. More sound. Not wanting to relinquish his parking spot, we sprinted (when I could sprint) to the Lackawanna County Court House. Jordan saw Commissioner Charlie Luger and got his take on water tables up near Moosic in an area that was destined to be Montage Mountain. More sound. We then paid a visit to Register of Wills Sam Cali asking him about a new state regulation regarding probate of wills for senior citizens. More Sound. We then made our way down to Moosic where there was a small fire at Glenwood Products. Talked to the Fire Chief, water and smoke damage. More sound. In one afternoon Jordan with his trusty recorder got 6 stories for WARM News. He called “sound” in on the fire, aired three of them and back logged two of them for future use on WARM News. We got back to the Studio at 5:30PM, and after a brief lunch break Jordan anchored the WARM newscasts until 11:30PM. It was an amazing display of how WARM News reporters worked. It gave me an insight on how Jerry Heller insisted that a beat be covered efficiently and dare I say prolifically. Jordan was at WARM from 1975-1979. He came from WILK and returned to WILK as News Director. In 1981 WILK won the Joe Snyder Award for the year 1980 as the best medium market radio news department in the state. Jordan says “That was due in no small part from the training I got from guys like Jerry Heller and David DeCosmo” Jordan later went on to anchor and report news on WYOU TV.
It would be my good fortune to interact with Kevin Jordan many times in the future most notably when the Professional News Media Association was in existence. Anyway, back to the story. The next day I walked into the WARM News Department and Heller glanced at me obviously frazzled looking ahead to a busy day of news. “Got your car?” he asked. “Yep” I replied. Hurling a tape recorder at me, he said, “There’s a big meeting down at the Host Inn to plan a visit for this peanut farmer from Georgia that thinks he can be President. Get some sound and then call it in if there’s anything good”. Puzzled, I asked, “How will I know if it’s good?” He replied intently typing, not raising his head, “You were out with Kevin yesterday, you’ll know”. And I did.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #506













PHOTO INDEX: TRUE OLDIES CHANNEL LOGO AND THE OLD TRANSISTOR RADIO

WARM UP

Ratings are the lifeblood of any radio station. In the 60s WARM Radio pulled about 48% of the total radio audience in the coverage area. There was WARM and everybody else. WARM has declined in the ratings through the years. My philosophy in ratings has always been that you need to stick with one type of programming to build an audience. WARM has been running The True Oldies Channel format now for about three or four years. It is a good mix of classic oldies music and the weekends are segmented with interesting variations like a “one hits wonder” or “girl’s name on a song” weekend. It’s not the Stegmaier “Ring A Ding Ding” Fling but it is creative. This week on the Radio Info Board it was revealed that WARM was up a point in the ratings. Naturally I got busted by old radio friend Dave McAndrews who wrote this,
"WARM Jumped Up A Full Point ... Did Yonki Have A Diary?"
Not this time Dave but I did have one a few years back. McAndrews was one of the heritage broadcasters in classic rock in this area being one of the founding jocks on Rock 107 as well as WEMR in Tunkhannock. He spoke of the influence of the Mighty 590 in his radio career.
"WARM Was The Foremost Reason That I Got Into Radio, Along With The Progressive Radio Stations Such As WPLJ-FM And WNEW-FM That I Listened To While Visiting Relatives In The New York City Area. I Always Enjoyed Meeting The WARM Jocks At Live Appearances ... You And I More Than Likely Were At Some Of Those Same Live Broadcasts When We Were Kids."
You bet we were and at least it kept us off the streets and out of trouble. WARM Radio did that for a lot of kids. And I hope some of those same kids that grew up with WARM get a few more of those Arbitron diaries. It’ll never be 48% but I’m not that picky about the issue.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #507


PHOTO INDEX: THE RADIO MICROPHONE.

TIM EARL REMEMBERS

If you are of a certain age in WARMland you of course remember the greats on WARM. But there were other radio stations and personalities in the market. One guy wildly popular with young music fans was WILK’s Tim Earl. Earl did fills in during the week but hosted very popular weekend shows which went head to head with WARM Radio. Years later, Earl says he owes that success in no small measure to his co workers at WILK but also members of the WARM family. Here are his thoughts:
I must tell you, the folks of WARM radio were directly responsible for my career choice, my life in broadcasting and a life-time of wonderful memories. Their kindnesses to their listening audience were extraordinary. I was fortunate enough to work with so many in the WB-SCR market who worked for, against, with, or through the wildly successful Susquehanna Broadcasting (then) station. Now pushing 60, I find myself wondering more and more about what took place behind the doors at WARM: The management line-up, the corporate attitudes, their planning and decision-making. We have all known about the on-air talent, the news department reputation, the promotional excellence and the ability to sell this great radio station. I’d like to know more about, what David Letterman refers to as, the “pin heads” (broadcasting executives) who actually ran this battle-ship of broadcasting in the 60’s and 70’s. George Gilbert, Harry West, Pete Gabriel, Joey Shafer, Terry McNulty, Bob Oliver and Jerry Heller (he NEVER misspoke or stumbled…..not in all the many, many years I listened to WARM) just a few of the many names I remember so fondly. We lived on a farm in Carverton. Reception gave us WARM because, as I later found out, your antennae array was line of site to our farm. We could see the blinking red towers every night. When I asked my parents what they were, they told me they were put there to keep planes from flying into the mountain. They did not know. How could they have known? The lights were in the direction of Falls, PA. We had an old radio in the cow barn and it, too, received WARM’s signal the strongest so it was on every morning and every night seven days a week. Radios (ambient sounds) keep the cows content during the feeding and milking process. Not exactly a promotional tool, I’m sure (!). We listened to WARM all during my school years. I’d prepare for school (Dallas school district) listening to Harry and, for a period of time, Len. I believe Harry took his shot at Pittsburgh as I learned much later in life.
Harry West gave me the inspiration to search out more in the 60’s evolution of radio broadcasting. While doing a remote in Edwardsville, I skipped band practice to go watch the live broadcast. Charlie Morgan was the engineer and was running the “board” while Harry did the show and mingled. Harry took a few minutes to talk with me (not on the air). The advice he gave was priceless. He told me you had to have a “thick skin” to be in the business. At the time, I really wasn’t sure but had a pretty good idea what it meant. He certainly has had to live that literally and figuratively over the years. When they had time for a break, he and engineer Morgan walked away for awhile and asked me to “watch the equipment” while they were gone. My God, they could have handed me million dollars and it would not have had the impact of those few minutes! Just one of those moments that will be with me forever. Thank you, Harry.
I will also remember the day one of my buddies and I drove to the studio in Avoca and looked in the window of the studio just to prove to ourselves that The Pineapple Feature really was a put-on. Oh, Terry McNulty, what a funny, funny guy with his weekly spoof. I loved it. And, of course, we had to endure the Weekend Ring A Ding Ding weekends for Stegmaier Beer.
As I started to fantasize on being a radio announcer, I searched some of the other stations while working on all the homework in Jr and Sr High. I found WILK and in the evening hours started to pick out some of the clear-channel powerhouses like WBZ and WOWO. Listening to Dan Ingram on WABC was a treat as well. I was really starting to like this radio thing and luck would have me meeting WBAX Polka Weekend DJ and sports announcer, Dick Whittaker. He invited me to run the board and spot for him during the football games. By that time, I was hooked on radio. Joey Shaver recruited me to the Radio Academy (I don’t recall the actual name). I was just about to commit and decided, on the advice of friends, to do the Penn State-Lehman broadcasting program and, at the last minute, went in that direction and actually switched, before the first day of class into Electrical and Electronics Technology instead of broadcasting.
Well, I’ll cut to the chase, WARM gave me the inspiration for a career in broadcasting. I worked for Bob Neilson at WNAK (my first on air and I believe Tommy Woods was working there after WARM as well), the Fioranni’s at WPTS and Roy Morgan at WILK. Eventually I got to Erie, PA for most of my career (after a short stint in Kentucky… Berea and Winchester). I, too, got a shot at Pittsburgh (like Harry) and got beat up pretty badly there (figuratively). That is where I really found out what “thick skin” was all about. I had about 10 years of radio and 15 years as a TV Weatherman (WSEE and WPXI). Just as Harry West, Charlie Morgan and Dick Whittaker helped me get started, Art Pallen (KDKA Radio) and Bob Kutzma (KDKA TV Meteorologist) helped me decide on the switch from radio to TV many years ago. After years with WRIE Radio, WSEE-TV and WPXI-TV, I left broadcasting and now live in Dallas, TX working for my own little company as a placement firm for IT and Telecom professionals.
Thanks to all who take a moment of their time to lend a hand, say a few words, offer advice to younger people seeking career advice and input. You never know how a small gesture will be received, appreciated and used to help and guide. Mr. Gilbert, you helped make a radio station one of the true Great Ones. I was so fortunate to enjoy the station and receive some very sincere advice from more than one of your staff. Many, many thanks!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #508


PHOTO INDEX: WARM NEWS BILLBOARD.

WARM NEWS

One of the biggest draws to WARM Radio was its news department. When WARM transitioned from Fifties style easy listening to Rock and Roll the innovators decided the best way to bring along the moms and pops was to establish a strong news department. WARM had “editions” of News. At 12:30AM you would hear “The first Edition of WARM News. At 1:00AM you’d hear the second Edition of WARM News”. As the turbulent 60s came about WARM increased its news department. Terry McNulty was the news director when John Kennedy was shot and brought that news to WARMland. Jack Donniger headed the news team in the 60s and was known for his back and forth repartee with morning show Harry West. In 1969 Jerry Heller became the WARM News Director. From Missouri, Heller built a news team of rookies and veterans that rivaled any major market. TV station news departments as well as newspapers monitored WARM Radio.
By the late 60s WARM News dropped the live at :55 casts and did news at the top and bottom of the hour. That tradition continued through the 80s, 90s and right before WARM went to Satellite programming. Now WARM does an ABC News feed at about 10 minutes before the hour with its “True Oldies” Format. (Some weekend mornings you'll hear former WNAK newscaster and Wyoming Valley native Brian Carey doing the 'cast). For many years WARM Radio News was an institution. Women and men going to work would know they were late if they were still in the house after the 8AM Newscast. When a major event happened, listeners tuned in to the Mighty 590 to get the latest news. WARM had reporters on the scene for major murder and corruption trials. They had beat reporters that covered both Wilkes Barre and Scranton City Halls. In its heyday the WARM news department had 6 or 7 full and part time people. Their names became as familiar as the on air personalities. That alone is a testament to the important role WARM News played in the history of the Mighty 590.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #509

PHOTO INDEX: OUR FEEDBACK LOGO.

POLL RESULTS

In WARM MIGHTY MEMORY #510 we took a poll to see which version of "The Ballad of WARMland" people liked and which version people thought was the original. Here are the poll results:
1. Which ballad of WARMLAND was the original?
A. The version by Terry Lee. 80%.
B. The version used in the TV 44 documentary. 20%.

2. Which Ballad of WARMLAND do you like better?
A. The Terry Lee version. 25%.
B. The version used on the TV 44 documentary. 75%.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #510

PHOTO INDEX: THE MUSICAL NOTES FOR THE BALLAD OF WARMLAND.

WERE THERE TWO?

Good friend and old Radio guy Scott Sanfillippo shot me a message on FaceBook asking whether there were two "Ballads of WARMland". Here's what he wrote on his blog:
Those who live in the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton area of northeast Pennsylvania will remember WARM 590 radio. It had a very rich history during its heyday and unfortunately was left hung out to die on its own by its license holder, Citadel Broadcasting. Dave Yonki, who I happened to work with at WARD AM several years ago, maintains a blog called “590 Forever WARM Radio. ” I’m going to have to put a shout out to Dave to see if he can help with this bit of WARM trivia. While cleaning my office today, I discovered an old 45-LP that I picked up several years back but never played. It’s contains the Ballad of WARMland, a station promotional jingle, on one side and a commercial for the old Stop N Go drive-in restaurants on the other. I became confused as it started to play, as it was not the Ballad of WARMland that I have heard over the years. The one on this record was a PAMS jingle and sung by Terri Lee.
So which is the real Ballad of WARMland?

Here's Scott's blog link by the way.
http://www.scottsanfilippo.com/2010/06/the-ballad-of-warmland-or-can-there-be-two/.
I told Scott that I thought the one by Terri Lee was the one that was sold or given away at the old Stop 'N Go fast food joints and thought the second one, with more lush arrangements was the second recording. The latter was used on the fine WVIA TV Documentary. If there are any old WARM employees out there, weigh in on this. Here are the two courtesy of Scott:

I think this was the original. Here's the second one released later.


TAKE THE POLL

Which song did you like better? Take the survey.
Click here to take survey
After taking survey, hit DONE and close out of survey page.



Friday, June 25, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #511


PHOTO INDEX: WARM-WSGD PERSONALITIES AT RED BARONS GAME 1991.EDDIE EGAN, TOMMY WOODS, RJ HARKINS, TIM KARLSON, PAUL CILIBERTO, BOBBY DAY, TOM(TOM MICHAELS)SOSSONG. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BOBBY DAY).

WARM REUNIONS

The Mighty 590 was so big a factor in this community that every time a few people get together and talk about their youth you can classify it as a WARM Reunion. Last year Pete Gabriel passed through the area and a few late era WARM staffers got together with him. The Pocono Drag Lodge is going to focus on a WARMland reunion this year after their highly successful Drag Lodge get together last year. In the mid 90s 0ne of the most significant WARM reunions of talent took place when staffers from WSGD FM, then a powerhouse Oldies Station run by the late Ron Swanson hosted a group of WARM members. The reunion actually came about because of this first reunion at a Red Barons Baseball game in 1991. When the WSGD FM On Air Reunion took place in the mid 90s, it was like a rekindling of the old days and magic that was WARM. There are actual tapes of those broadcasts that exist to this day. The photo above is just a snapshot of the talent that passed through the doors of the Mighty 590, WARM. That’s why WARM is going to live on in the hearts and mind of many people who were touched by the station in some way shape or form. WARM played this song by Tommy James and the Shondells called oddly enough "Gettin' Together". When that song was popular, no one imagined how real the sentiment of this song would be.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #512



PHOTO INDEX: PETE ERICKSON AND BOBBY DAY AT A SOFTBALL SOFTIES DINNER. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BOBBY DAY.)

THE CONTEST WINNER

WARM Radio in its heyday had thousands of contests but none was more controversial and talked about than the one where WARM issued a hunt for the biggest sports fan in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Amidst much ballyhoo, WARM sounded the clarion call for all fans to register with the Mighty 590 for this contest. Men, women, former athletes, college students, working Joes and Josies wrote in and declared why they should be WARM Radio’s biggest fan. The promotion was done to make the transition in the 70s from a full service top 40 AM to more concentrated sports coverage. You’d still hear Harry West, and the current hits but there would be an incremental increase in the hours of sports programming. Ron Allen’s 20/20 Sports became “The Sunday Night Sportsline”. For a time George Gilbert co-hosted with Allen but the thought was that Allen’s sidekick would be “WARM’s Greatest Sports Fan”. No one knows for sure how it happened. My friends at WARM say their memories are very foggy but Pete Erickson became the number 1 Sports Fan in WARMland. Erickson then co-hosted the show with Allen for many years. When Allen had a heart attack in the mid 70s, Erickson even hosted the show on his own with the help once in a while of Double G and Tim Karlson. Erickson, employed in private industry proved to be a treasure trove of sports knowledge. Between he and Allen, no sports fan could stump them on any question. Erickson became part of the station culture attending and speaking at high school athletic banquets, playing in the WARM Softball Softies games and becoming part of the WARM on air team. When you still mention his name to people of a certain age, they’ll tell you he was a “sports guy” from WARM. Whether it was intended or not (and there are some who will argue that this was an elaborate orchestration masterminded by that promotional genius Ron Allen) the station’s contest for “The Greatest Sports Fan” in WARMLAND yielded positive results in promoting WARM as the place to be for the seminal sports talk radio craze that exists to this day. But it also got in the bargain a person that turned into a legitimate sports presence in the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Radio market for years.