SUSQUEHANNA BROADCAST REUNION
The other night a reunion of a sort was held by former employees of the Susquehanna Broadcasting Company, the company that for many years owned the Mighty 590 WARM and of course Magic 93. Kelly Reed the former sports reporter for WARM came in for a visit from New York with her husband Emmett. The event was coordinated by Reed and Tommy Grimes both who did stints on WARM and Magic 93. About 20 or so former WARM and Magic employees attended. I was happy to be invited even though I was an employee of WARM in Sales in the post Susquehanna era. Also attending were radio and TV broadcast icon David DeCosmo as well as WILK's Sue Henry. Here is a recap of some of the meet ups I had:
DARRYL DAVIS: Darryl was the producer for the morning shows on WARM with both Harry West and Terry McNulty. Davis was also the guy who set up some of the computer systems for the station. Darryl is now working in health care and we both recounted some of the after show breakfasts we'd have with Harry West after his program.
KELLY REED: Kelly and I swapped stories about the initial seasons of the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Red Barons. WARM was a big player in the promotion of minor league baseball in those early seasons.
JOE OHRIN: The always comical Joe Ohrin upon seeing me said, "Don't get up, you must be 100!" I did and we chatted about some of the promotional remotes WARM had in the early part of the 2000 as well as his work at the Wyoming Valley Mall.
TOMMY GRIMES: Tom shared the fact that he actually did a stint on WARM but then spent 17 years on Magic. Grimes is a successful trucking executive but has a special place in his heart for all things radio. Grimes told me that one of his biggest boosters and mentors from his early days of broadcasting was the late Jim Emmel. Emmel was a teacher who loved broadcasting, had a great set of pipes and was one of the most beloved members of the WARM team. Emmel previously worked at WGBI AM and FM as well as an AM station owned by former Lackawanna County Commissioner Bob Codero's WWAX. Tommy was a wealth of knowledge and that should come as no surprise since he had the passion to coordinate this event. This was the guy after all that set up this great event.
JIM LOFTUS: Magic was of course the old WYZZ FM before Susquehanna bought it. That brought a flood of stories from former WARM/MAGIC/HOT 97 (now BHT) GM Jim Loftus. Loftus told about his job interview as a youth at the house on Prospect Street in Wilkes Barre hat housed the 50,000 watt powerhouse WYZZ and opined on the changing state of broadcast radio in this new century. Arriving with Loftus was his wife Renee, a former Hot 97 personality as well as Jerry Paparelli who was a Sales Manager for Hot 97 and then later at Rock 107. Loftus currently is the GM at WOGL and its associate stations in Philadelphia, his wife Renee recently retired from Wilkes College and Paparelli is working in Regional Cable Sales.
BOBBY DAY: Bobby arrived late because there was a Penguins game and he is the Arena voice of the team. Bobby and I spoke of his time at WARM in both news and on the air. Bobby recently was associated with WBRE/WYOU TV as the News Assignment Editor.
TOM JENKINS: When I was at WARM in sales I had the opportunity to work closely with Tom Jenkins. Jenkins was involved in production of some very good radio commercials that were client favorites. Jenkins is now associated with The River, 104.9FM. We also had a very animated discussion about hair care or lack thereof, hair, not care, these days for both of us.
JERRY PAPPARELI : Jerry and I had the opportunity to swap stories about our time at Rock 107 as well as the cousin of his that I friended on Face book thinking it was him. Jerry was and is a passionate broadcast guy and recounted stories about his time at WWDL, Q102, Hot 97 and Rock 107. We also remembered the late Tim Durkin who was the General Sales Manager at both Magic 93 and Rock 107. It is 10 years since Tim passed away much too young.
DAVID DECOSMO AND SUE HENRY: When the three of us sat together, well let's just say the radio talk began to fly. DeCosmo told many stories of his radio career in Hazleton at WAZL, WNAK in Nanticoke, WILK in its South Franklin Street location before his TV broadcast career on WYOU. DeCosmo currently cohorts a weekly show on ECTV. David and I also regaled Sue with our days on the softball field. He was good, I was not. Sue also got into a great discussion with us about how young, budding journalists are setting their sites on being the heirs to the people assembled in the room at Grotto. There were a few people I did not get a chance to interact with like Bob Lenio and Suzie Quinn. There were many who sent their regrets like Tom Woods. Harry West, Rob Neyhard and Joey Shaver. Then there were those we tried to get contact numbers for too. That said the event was a great time to bring back old memories of fine, hard working people involved in the endeavor of broadcasting.
And as always, WARM, the MIGHTY 590 was on top of the discussion list. Here are the photos:
Renee Loftus, Emmett Loughran and the guest of honor Kelly Reed.
This is the guy I really wanted to speak to about getting The Mighty 590 back on the air. Bob Lenio who was one of the best engineers Susquehanna ever had.
Dave Zukosky was also in the house that night too!
Suzie Quinn, Mary Sanderson Ruda, Susan McAndrew O'Connor and Kelly Reed.
My former boss Jerry Paparelli at the event.
Here's a true meeting of the minds, David DeCosmo, Sue Henry, your blog editor and yet another boss of mine, Jim Loftus.
There not only was a group hug but a group picture!!!! First row, Tom Jenkins, Suzie Quinn, Mary Sanderson Ruda, Susan McAndrew O'Connor and Kelly Reed.
Second row: Jim Loftus, Tommy Grimes, Jerry Paparelli, David DeCosmo, your blog editor, Sue Henry, Darryl Davis, Bobby Day and Joe Ohrin.
(This photo by Emmett Loughrin, other photos by Sue Henry, Tommy Grimes and David DeCosmo),