Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Promotional signage for Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs concert.  (Click to enlarge).


WARM,the Mighty 590 was relentless in its promotion of rock and roll acts that turned into big events. With the imprimatur of WARM, the concert was always bound to be a big success. In 1967, the day after Christmas, WARM heavily promoted a concert featuring Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. The group had a hit in 1966 called "Little Red Riding Hood", but it's subsequent hits weren't that big. Still, the day after Christmas was a big event and success, thanks to the promotion of the Mighty 590, WARM, the popularity of Joe Nardone and the All Stars as the opening act and the close proximity of the venue, the venerable Sans Souci Park. The average age of the average concert goer today is between 60 and 65. As Ron Allen used to say on The Sportsline, "How 'bout that!!"  


Monday, December 24, 2012


Christmas 1967 Survey. (Click on survey to enlarge).


The business of the WARM survey sheets did not stop for Christmas. The hits kept on playing interspersed with great yuletide songs and contests. In 1967 the WARM deejays played "Secret Santas" to people who wrote in. And 45 years ago on Christmas Eve, Smokey Robinson and the  Miracles had the number one hit in WARMland. The survey said so.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


WARM’s Harry West. 


It was a nice, seasonable day in the summer of 1975. I was the news director of WRKC FM radio at King’s College in Wilkes Barre. King’s had yet to start its Bachelor of Arts Communications program so there was a dearth of commercial radio and TV personalities being talked about on campus. (The student newspaper, The Crown did an interview with then WBRE anchorman Franklin D. Coslett). At the station we had decided to try and bring speakers in from the real world of radio. I was given the assignment of getting speakers. My first choice was my boyhood idol Harry West. Harry West was one of the first people I followed on the radio. Like thousands of youngsters in WARMland I listened to his antics. But I also considered what he did, radio as a career path. 
Harry was about two years back from his foray into major market radio at KQV in Pittsburgh. West returned to WARM on July 13th, 1973 and it was like he had never left. When I called him, West readily agreed to a time and date. Harry arrived on time and I gave him a brief tour of King’s. He addressed about 40 students wgho were active in the radio station. A few Jersey and New York students were prepared to be unimpressed because they had grown up listening to Cousin Brcie, Dan Ingram and other major market radio stars. But Harry wowed them too with his down home philosophy, his engaging manner and his brutal honesty about how hard the radio business could be. He was only scheduled for an hour but stayed for two opining about FM radio (then in its infancy) as well as college radio. He told us that what he found with college radio in Northeastern Pennsylvania was that there was an element of professionalism he hadn’t seen elsewhere. I don’t think it was a line of flattery but even if it was, we didn’t care. Afterwards I think we sent Harry a bottle of Dubenet Wine for his trouble. 
I did not personally hear it but my dad told me that when Harry opened his show the day after, he said, “Well friends, after all these years, I finally got to college and I might not have flunked!” He then went on to talk about his visit for about three minutes. He lauded out attention and questions as students and then said it was his pleasure to speak to us. Even after all these years, so many of those people who attended that “lecture” say, “the please was all ours”. These impromptu “free” community events were just another hallmark of why WARM Radio was so popular.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


The late Art Carlson of WARM Radio, the early days. 


Art Carlson, one of the founders of Susquehanna Broadcasting and by extension WARM died earlier this month. Carlson was 81. Carlson was a native of St. Paul , Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1950. He went into radio sales and worked for two radio stations and a television station. He left WDGY Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1957 to go to New York with ABC Radio Services Department. In 1958, he joined the he joined the Susquehanna Broadcasting Company as General Manager of WARM, Wilkes Barre/ Scranton . Art came to Akron in 1960, when Susquehanna acquired WHLO (formerly WHKK). As Vice President and General Manager, he completely revamped the format and made the station a major factor in the Akron/Canton market. He was Senior Vice President of Susquehanna located in York , Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Radio Advertising Bureau and served as its Chairman in 1988 and 1978. 
When Carlson joined WARM in 1958 he became part of Northeastern Pennsylvania history. He took a floundering radio station and made it into the number 1 radio outlet for years to come. Not only that, he made WARM part of people’s very lives. His training of the WARM air staff even made WARM so popular that NEPA was even nicknamed WARMland. Carlson was instrumental in negotiating the radio station known as WARM from the Scranton family. His training of the WARM disc jockeys was intense, heavily formatted but extremely successful. It didn’t hurt that Carlson was only about ten years older than the radio men he was training. Through the years, he always kept a pulse on WARM and a hand in its operations. 
No one will ever know for sure if the name Arthur Carlson was a tribute or a nod to Art when the show WKRP In Cincinnati came on the air. The character played by the late Gordon Jump was portrayed as a bit of a goof, which I’m told Carlson was not. Still, you have to wonder where the name or idea for it came from. Without it though, Art Carlson was already a legend. Every broadcaster, every manager or man of business wants to have a legacy. Art Carlson’s legacy is not only the unqualified success of WARM and Susquehanna but the legions of radio broadcasters too numerous to mention. But if the Original Sensational 7 and early 1960s broadcasters of WARM were the disciples of rock and roll, Art Carlson was their John the 


Editor’s Note: In future 590 FOREVER editions, we’ll relay a few more Art Carlson stories.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


The late Dave Stroud, a WARM Sales representative. 


It seems like every weekend we see be writing a tribute to someone who passed on. Once more we are faced with that task on this Saturday. Dave Stroud passed away on Wednesday and for those of you who knew him, you’ll get what I’m writing about here. For those of you who didn’t, or heard about him, you’ll get more of a glimpse into the guy. I met Dave Stroud in the second act of his career. He had been a long retail person most notably managing a few of the McGrory’s stores in the area. We first met at WARD Radio. It was the early 90s and the late Jim Ward had a talk station. The morning shows however had a concept now used widely by every commercial station in the market called The WARD Home Shopper. Sales representatives went out to area businesses and sold advertising on a barter system. A restaurant or tire place would give a certain amount of certificates and then an advertising schedule would be placed on the radio. At the time I worked with John Kearney, Steve Liebenson and Stroud. 
One time when Stroud was having car trouble, I went out on the road with him. He was a relentless cold caller (defined by stopping In on the fly at a business and trying to sell them something on the spot) and was persistent but not pushy. There wasn’t a strip mall he didn’t know, like or sell. I came to the conclusion that if a broom closet had a sign on it, “Stroudie” would stop and look inside of it to see what was going on in there. And if the mop didn’t talk to him, he’d strike it off his list. Although I missed him at WARM and Magic 93, I did work with him at Cable Rep Advertising. Stroud was very proud about working at the Mighty 590 regaling clients and staffers alike when he told of listening to WARM Radio when he first got his first car. I first bought from him when I did media for some local candidates and then sold with him. A few of the young people in  media sales thought his straight forward old fashioned ways were quaint but his clients loved him. 
In radio the men gossip worse than the women and Stroud was an active listener filing it in his head for future use on the road or at a sales meeting when we were asked why this client wasn’t buying or if they were expanding. Stroud also used that information freely when he was concerned about people he knew. When my first book, “A Radio Story/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors” came out, Stroud tracked me down at my then employer and gave me a detailed report on how many area media reps he knew who bought the book, how many went to Barnes and Noble and how many bought two. He then furrowed his brow and said, “But I have some bad news. Some guy wants to sue you because he says you’re defaming an old girlfriend!” (That guy now is one of my very best friends and even though we don’t see eye to eye on things, they never reached the courtroom). Dave Stroud also had an innate sense of what to do at the proper time. At the end of Jim Ward’s funeral, Stroud said, “Wow that was tough. Now we can go have a drink somewhere and cry. But only for a little while”. When the late Terry McNulty of WARM won his Employment Discrimination case against Citadel Broadcasting, his family threw a party at his home. Everyone was celebrating but wandering around aimlessly until Stroud got the attention of the crowd and offered up a congratulatory toast. At the end he said, “Now let’s get to know each other!” and at that moment, the media people started mingling with the legal people who had triumphed in court. Another time, when I worked at Cable Rep, our manager who was from Florida committed the egregious sin of parking between the trash cans on Center Street in Dupont (where residents carved out spots to park during snow). The residents called the police on the women as she tried to get her car out of the “reserved” places. She then got stuck. Stroud in galoshes and red and green scarf along with his shirtsleeves (not coat) grabbed a little shovel out of his trunk and proceeded to dig her out. The receptionist at the time said, “Who’s digging her out, oh my it’s Stroud, my God that man is always stepping into the fray and is always prepared!” Stroud was also the ultimate optimist. Nothing ever seemed to get him down, even when he had a life threatening injury. One rainy day, I was in Abe’s with a friend and Stroud approached our table in his usual friendly manner. He proceeded to slip on something and stumbled near us. My friend said, “Hey be careful, you’ll break your neck” and Dave looked at him and said with a smile, “I did!!!” He then proceeded to tell my friend how he fell backwards at his home trying to catch his cat breaking his neck. No bitterness, no poor me, just a recap of the facts. Even if you never worked with Dave Stroud, you knew he was working. He had a mainstay of clients that stuck with him through the years and if you heard them on ESPN, you’d know he was still plugging away. 
I last saw him a few months ago in the summer at Victory Pig in Wyoming. He was with a crowd of his family and I didn’t realize it was him until he stopped over. He looked robust but had no hair. He told me he was catching up to my hair style but then told me and Mrs. LuLac that his cancer had reoccurred. He asked if I was writing any more books and I told him I’d send him one. As we left the eatery, I took a glance over at Stroud holding court, laughing, enjoying himself with his friends and family. I’m glad that vision was still in my mind when I read about him the other day. 
Stroud had a license plate on his car that read “IDID26” , which referred to his running in the New York marathon and other running events. He was proud of that accomplishment but I’m sure that the plate is not accurate. Because if I knew “Stroudie” the way I think I did, when he reached that 26 mile mark, he went a little bit further……just to make sure and give it just a little more extra effort. As we say goodbye to him, everyone will agree that he always went that extra mile. Although too short, his life was a road well traveled with a few extra steps along the way. In my mind, Dave Stroud always did more than 26.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


PHOTO INDEX: Super Redskins fan Brian Hughes and WARM announcer. 


Any successful radio station has a local identity. That was the strength of WARM Radio in its heyday. WARM Radio as The Oldies Channel has adopted the music that made WARM the most popular radio entity in Northeastern Pennsylvania. To keep the local connection going, veteran broadcaster Brian Hughes is the local bridge between local news and weather and the nationally syndicated oldies heard on WARM. Hughes is the voice you hear every morning doing news briefs and weather updates. 
Brian is a 1984 graduate of the University of Scranton, with a B.A. in Communications. He was a sports intern at WDAU-TV, working with Kent Westling from 1982 to 1984. Hughes also worked at WGBI AM-FM (Country 910 and Stereo 101) from November 1984 until Feb. 1993, when the stations were sold to Keymarket, now Entercomm. Hughes also worked part time at WEJL and WBAX from Jan. 1994 until July 1995. If you were anywhere in your car in the late 90s Brian was a traffic anchor/producer at Traffax, which later became Metro from July 1995 to March 2002. In July 2002, he  joined Citadel, and worked overnights for WARM, occasionally filling in as a news anchor. In January 2003, Hughes became the news anchor for Magic 93, and sidekick to "Frankie in the Morning", while anchoring newscasts on WARM and JR 93.7, now Great Country 93.7. 
Currently, Brian works as the morning news anchor on the Mighty 590, now True Oldies Radio providing a local flavor to the syndicated oldies that WARM runs 24/7. Brian also hosts the Sunday Magazine Show on all the Cumulus stations. So in addition to True Oldies giving you the tunes, Brian Hughes will be telling you what went on while you slept and what type of weather day you’ll be facing as you start your workday in what many still consider WARMland.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


An ad for the hub with WARM personality Tommy Woods. 


One of the perks about being a WARM personality in the 1960s was the opportunity to get other work. Most of the WARM jocks got gigs as deejays at record hops. Even when schools had bands, the WARM jocks still hosted the show playing records in between the live act. (I met many a WARM personality at the St. John’s dances in Pittston!) Tommy Woods went to the next level actually appearing in an ad for The Hub. Woods’ all American good looks gave him that clean cut well dressed man look guys at the time wanted to emulate and women just adored. Even in retirement Woods is a star in advertising. Recently he was on TV as a spokesperson for a elder care facility.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Not only ladies but WARMland listeners love the '50s. And the True Oldies Channel. 


If you are still a regular listener of WARM the Mighty 590, you’ll most likely hear Scott Shannon’s True Oldies Channel. Some of the features during the day are quite entertaining like “The Forgotten Oldie”. The songs are not the same 400 oldies you get on other oldies format stations. But on the weekends, especially Sunday night the True Oldies Channel transports WARM diehards back to the music that started it all. We know that WARM became the Mighty 590 in the summer of 1958 playing the old time rock and roll. Scott Shannon recreates that every Sunday Night from 8pm until 1am with his Cruising America Show. As a WARM devotee, we urge you to block some time out on Sunday night and cruise back to the good old days from 8pm to 1am on the Mighty 590 once again. Thanks to the True Oldies Channel for taking us back there one more time.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


A flooded downtown Wilkes Barre. 


If there was every any doubt about WARM being the community station that it was, all of that was eliminated on the weekend of June 22nd, 1972. On the night of the 22nd, the river banks in Corning, New York started to overflow. Civil Defense officials said that was going to be serious trouble. The Civil Defense office in Luzerne County did not order an evacuation until the morning for fear of causing a major panic. Throughout the morning, as volunteers tried to sandbag the dikes, it became apparent that the water was going to destroy the dikes. WBAX AM located on Route 11 was broadcasting. Morning man Sam Lagouri, later a WARM producer in its talk radio era of the 90s was ordered out of the facility in Edwardsville and barely beat the on coming water with his car. WILK was under water as was WBRE TV on South Franklin Street in Wilkes Barre along with its AM & FM combination. WARM stood as the only radio station that was on the air and organized. All hands were on deck. And the music stopped that day too. Not since the assassination of John F. Kennedy did WARM stop its Mighty 590 format of contests, music and fun. It was a total public service effort with civil defense advisories, U.S. Army Corps of Engineer reports, live coverage of news events, as well as live on the scene broadcasts. WARM staffers George Gilbert, Terry McNulty and Ken Curtis toured the areas that were flooded in a boat. The late Dick Bolan who had a brother involved in Civil Defense somehow got hold of a Jeep and waded through flooded areas that were waste high to give reports on what area landmarks were under water. The medium of radio, so important to the imagination now became the mind’s eye TV or newspaper as shocked area residents imagined a flooded downtown theatre, favorite restaurant or department store. Terry McNulty was quoted as saying that he “would never forget the mud and disease”. McNulty said it was one thing to cover a story from afar but to see people who lost everything was incredible. The reports gathered by the WARM staffers was put into a two record album called “River On A Rampage”. The album was later sold and the proceeds were given to the flood recovery efforts. WARM News had an association with UPI (United Press International Radio) and sound was sent to the wire service so that reporters like Pye Chamberlain and Walt Rogers could detail the tragic events in WARMland. When local media people got their act together, a Flood Broadcast Network was formed. All local stations banded together to do what WARM (located in Avoca) was already doing. WARM declined to join the broadcast network. After the flood, WARM became more of a force than ever. While flood victims began to clean up after the horror, it was not uncommon to hear a transistor radio booming out the Mighty 590.. Michael Lewis, a Williams College Professor who grew u p in Kingston said that the play list on the radio during the summer of ’72 seemed like it was preordained. Songs like “How Do You Do”, “Day By Day” and “Lean On Me” were like anthems as people began the arduous efforts to begin again. WARM News was very busy reporting on the visits of President Nixon, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development George Romney as well as weekly visits from Governor Milton Shapp, Lt. Governor Ernest Kline and Community Affairs Secretary William Wilcox.  When businesses began to figure out how to rebuild, close or relocate, WARM was the key ingredient in informing the public.The sales department was working 18 hour days to keep up with the demand of businesses that wanted to advertise. Phil Condron who later became General Manager of WARM in the 80s was a sales person at the time. He told Philip Eberly the author of “Susquehanna Radio: The First 50 Years” that even though the station sales staff made record money, “We’d have foregone the windfall for less rainfall”. Looking back on forty years since the Flood, the historical significance of what WARM did during those trying times will never be forgotten by those of us still around who were ear witnesses to history. Current WARM staffer Brian Hughes will interview legendary broadcaster David DeCosmo this Sunday at 7AM on the Mighty 590 as the two talk about Agnes and WARM, 4 decades later.

Monday, June 11, 2012


The fruits of labor from a WARMland garden.
Campbell's 1967 Tomato Plant Promotion.  



WARM Radio was the top station in the Northeastern Pennsylvania in the 60s and 70s because they knew how to cross promote. They also knew how to span generations. The older WWII generation of parents who liked their Frankie Laine, Sinatra and slower beat music? WARM populated their top 40 charts with those artists. Who of that generation would not like :Louie Armstrong or Dean Martin? WARM utilized its survey sheets to do promotions on the back side. In 1967 WARM promoted tomato plants of all things courtesy of that venerable iconic American company, Campbell's. WARM’s young listeners could either give the survey sheet to mom or dad, uncle or aunt or grandparents and look like a young considerate teenager. Even though that music on the MIGHTY 590 was oh so loud, at least because of the advertising, beautiful tomatoes would grow in the hot humid August nights in WARMland. WARM in those days took every opportunity, and that’s why the number one designation in ratings was no accident or fluke. Just the way they planned it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


WARM back on.


WARM Radio seems to be back on the air after a few days of not being there. The new owners, Cumulus Broadcasting seem to be paying less attention to the frequency since they canned Phil Gallaso, a superb engineer who kept the station percolating. WARM's transmitter has always been a bone of contention in recent years. After a few days of static, it was good news to have WARM back on the air with the True Oldies Channel.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


The cast of "Babes in WARMland". From left, front row: Logan James, Noah Wijaya, Paul Trombetta, Kiera James and Matt Weaver. Second row: Cecelia Deininger, Kayla James, India Arter, Emalina Deininger, Joseph James and Brianna Rivero. Third row: Mariah Leidel, Jessica James, Scott Padden, Dominque Trombetta, Brandi Doyle, Colin Doyle, Trynity Ventura, Angel Marrero, Julie James and Alicia Leidel. Fourth row: Allesandro Oliveri, Kathy Carmadella and Camillo Oliveri.  


WARM the musical? A little far fetched? Not realy, look at the success of “The Jersey Boys” which was an adaptation of the career of the 4 Seasons. “Babes in WARMland” is not a musical about WARM Radio. You won’t see stage reincarnations of Harry West or Len Woloson, but “Babes in WARMland was a play that centered on the changes rock and roll radio brought to the Scranton/Wilkes Barre area. WARM radio became synonymous with a culture, a feeling. Northeastern Pennsylvania’s land mass became “WARMland”. Now, more than fifty years later., a play with the grandchildren of those first WARM listeners still have that moniker proudly attached. The Puritan Players presented “Babes in WARMLAND,” an original musical comedy by Paul L. Williams, recently at the Puritan Congregational Church in Scranton. The play, with a cast of over 40 children and 12 adults, concerns the early days of television in the Electric City when Scranton’s leading stations were WEJL-AM Radio, WARM Radio and the precursor to WNEP TV, WARM-TV. It was a time when rock and roll was sending shock waves throughout the area’s staid establishments. With elaborate dance numbers by future rock stars, “Babes in WARMLAND” will feature such golden oldies as “At the Hop,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Rock around the Clock,” and “Mr. Sandman.” All proceeds went to the Puritan’s Children Fund.

Monday, March 5, 2012




Given the corruption that is going on in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties, I hesitated to put this on the WARM blog. I was concerned that people would get the wrong idea about the Mighty 590 and their staff. In the 70s and 80s, WARM had a promotion with various agencies that raised money for charities. WARM jocks would be jailed for a few hours in a fake, but very public cell. They would not be released until bail was received. Naturally the money went to charity. WARM personalities like the pictured Harry West, Steve St. John, Vince Sweeney, Pete Gabriel, Jim Drucker, Terry McNulty, John David Wells, John Hancock, the late Melaine Apple, Kelly Reed, and many more I can’t even mention were behind bars for a few hours to raise the dough and get themselves home for dinner that night with the respective families. Given what has happened around WARMland lately, I don’t think a promotion like this would fly today. But way back when, it was a winner for WARM and the charities that got the bail money.

Sunday, February 12, 2012



Bobby Day was broadcasting the G.A.R. at Meyers basketball game in 1986. Greg Skrepenak was playing for G.A.R. and Rocket Ismail was playing for Meyers. Joe Paterno came to the game and sat at the table where Bob was broadcasting. Bob interviewed him live at halftime...Bob asked him why was he here.....He said he just stopped in to see a good basketball game. He could not mention either player due to recruiting laws. Obviously he got neither one. He was very gracious to Bob and some of the fans who were asking for his autograph. A real gentleman! L-R: Bob, , Ron Van Why (Bob's scorekeeper scorekeeper & Super PSU Fan), Charlie Fick (G.A.R. Football Coach), and Joe Paterno.

March 1970. UNICO event at The Paramount (now Kirby Center). L-R: Bobby Day, Joe Paterno, Vince LaPorte-WAZL, comedian Pat Cooper.


For many years WARM Radio broadcast Penn State Football. During the late 70s, 80s and 90s, the place for Penn State football was the Mighty 590. WARM sports commentators like Ron Allen and Pete Erickson made the trips down to Happy Valley. Allen always had a bead on new Penn State recruits from the area and WARM did various promotions throughout the year highlighting the Blue & White. One of the WARM staffers that had access to the late Joe Paterno over the years was Bobby Day. Bobby was for many years the swing man on WARM Radio for the Sensational 7 and other personalities. You knew the night of the WARM Christmas party in the 60s when you heard Bobby Day on the air at night. Bobby also worked in the WARM News department and then finished his career at WBRE TV as the Eyewitness News Assignment Editor. Bob was also the voice of the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins Hockey team at the Arena.
Bobby recently posted the a few Paterno photos on his Facebook page. They are listed above in the Photo Index.
When Joe Paterno passed away, many members of the local press reiterated their associations with the late coach and the Nittany Lion program. But none was more important and longer lasting than Penn State, Paterno and the Mighty 590.

Saturday, February 11, 2012




When WARM radio entered the decade of the 70s, the station sought to get more input from its listeners for the end of the year top songs. Here is a sample ballot that WARM put out at the end of 1971. Unfortunately I only have this ballot but not the results that followed. If anyone has it, let me know. But this is just another example of WARM's constant attempts to keep its listeners involved in the Mighty 590.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


PHOTO INDEX: Blog editor with the late Bob Crawford.


If you were a listener to WARM Radio in the 70s and were going out for a Sunday drive, chances are you’d hear a deep voice intone these words at the end of every newscast: “I’m Bob Crawford”.
Bob Crawford came to work at WARM as the Sunday news man. This was when radio stations actually took weekend news seriously and had news on the hour and half hour. Crawford went about his business in a no nonsense manner that belied the incredible sense of humor he had. Later Crawford did some public affairs programming and news for WMJW Radio. I was actually interviewed by Bob for a social service program that I was working for in 1980. (Thus the photo).
Bob was a school teacher in the Wilkes Barre area school district for many years. He was a popular teacher and adviser. Many people I’ve spoken to over the years remember “Mr. Crawford” for his long reach into their formative years as students. But just as many people who were WARM listeners remembered him as the weekend news guy on the Mighty 590. Bob passed away a few years back but he is still fondly regarded and is one of the mighty memories of WARM.