WARM/ KNOX MINE DISASTER
When you work at a radio station there are clearly delineated roles. And never the twain shall meet. Except of course for emergencies. And one such huge challenge occurred in WARM Radio’s infant stages into the foray of Top 40 radio. On Jan. 22nd, the Knox Mine Disaster happened. For reasons that still remain a mystery, there was no one available in the WARM News or Programming Department. Bill Musser a salesman at the time went to the disaster and was the first reporter on the scene. He had the savvy street skills to obtain the only phone from a house next door to the disaster in Port Griffith.
As time went on, the national and statewide news arrived. The house was set up as a makeshift newsroom. Don Stevens who was Program Director at the time marshaled every available employee into the equation. WARM Radio dominated the news coverage. 27 men trapped and no end to the impending tragedy in sight.
While other reporters were trying to get their bearings, Musser, Stevens and Art Carlson were near the collapsed mine shaft. Suddenly there was a scream saying that the surviving miners were on their way out of the deadly shaft. There was a washed out railroad track near the mine shaft where the miners were coming out. The lanky Stevens ran on the remaining track bed to see the exit from danger. Stevens called the station and gave the first eyewitness report. Art Carlson said that Stevens had a penchant for saying the word “Yes Indeed” whenever he was exited. On the last report from the mine disaster, Stevens in those deep down dulcet tones said, “Yes indeed! This was the miracle of Port Griffith!!!!"
Don Stevens remained at WARM for another half dozen years after that fateful day in January. While I’m sure the rest of his tenure was fun filled and action packed, nothing could match the day that Don Stevens and Don Musser broke the biggest news story in WARMland that year.