WARM Radio in its early days picked off talent from New York City. In an article in The Scrantonian from December 27th, 1953, check out this guy. He had first class credentials that he used in building WARM Radio.
Here's a little something from Ozzie Nelson's band.
As WARM Radio and TV grew in the 1950s, so did its need for space. In this ad from December 3, 1953 from the Scranton Tribune, the move is reported in this article provided by our good friend Joe Klapatch. This building was set to house the burgeoning TV operation.
Sid Freidman was well known to WARM listening teenagers in the early 60s when he hosted WNEP TV's "TV Bandstand. The llocal show aired from 6:30 to 7:30PM featured local teens dancing to the top hits of the day. It later became Komotion and continued on until the mid 70s. But here's an article about Sid when he got his station WARM Radio. From October 9th, 1953's Scranton Tribune.
This article provided by our good friend Joe Klapatch announces the fact that WARM was going to be on the air 24 hours a day. That was a big thing for November of 1953. To my knowledge, WARM was the only 24 hour a day station until the mid 1960s. Here's the article from The Scranton Tribune.
When WARM TV got its TV license via The Union Broadcasting Company, it needed a network affiliate. With WBRE having NBC and WDAU saddled up with CBS, ABC was the logical choice. William Scranton, later a Congressman, Governor and Ambassador was involved in the negotiation that brought ABC to 16. It is a relationship that still has endured from the sale of WARM TV to the Shelbourne Family and through various ownership through the years. But here's how it was announced from The Tribune on Oct. 7th and 1953. The second article is from the Times on Oct. 6th, 1953.
WARM was always involved in community service. As a matter of fact, The Mighty 590 was the leader in giving non profits as well as cultural organizations a major boost. Our good friend Joe Klapatch found a great article from October of 1953. The Community Chest, which was the forerunner of the United Ways of Luzerne, Lackawanna, Wyoming and Monroe Counties respectively utilized WARM for this endeavor. The Quiz promotion ran during the fund drive and featured local volunteers who supported the campaign for human services.
Len Woloson came to WARM from WPTS Radio. Woloson held down the 1am to 6am slot until he was transferred to another Susquehanna station. With Lenny's style and antics it was hard to sleep sometimes in WARMlamd in his heyday.
For a time George Gilbert held down the Morning Drive slot on WARM, The Mighty 590. Here was a promotional piece from The WARM survey at the time. Gilbert later moved on to the 12 to 3 slot, then 10 to 1pm and then 1 to 3pm.
July 1967 had "A Little Bit Of Soul" by The Music Exposition as the number one song. But deep in the lower runs of the chart was a song by Betty Swann called "Make Me Yours". You don't hear that one on many of today's oldies stations!
July 1967 was a big year in news as well as music. There was a blend of both rock and pop on the WARM charts. During this week the top spot was dominated by a one hit wonder with "Come On Down To My Boat Baby" by Every Mother's Son. Mitch Ryder was in the top ten with "Joy" while "A Girl Like You" by the Rascals were moving up. Plus in the 20s was none other than Frankie Laine with "You Wanted Someone To Play With. Meanwhile Glen Campbell was climbing with his initial hit "Gentle On My Mind".
Eddie Rambeau was a Hazleton singer who made a national splash in the 60s. His career was helped immensely by wARM and the personalities. In this article by Joe Middleton from The Wyoming Valley Observer its author chronicles Rambeau's relationship with WARM. Rambeau had a national hit "Concrete and Clay" which was released by another group, Unit 4 Plus 2, and cut into his ability to climb higher on the charts. Rambeau also had a moderate hit with "The Train" in 1966. The flip was "Yesterdays Newspapers".
June 1966 was a year of varied music on the WARM charts. The number one song was held down by an entertainment icon who held sway on the previous incarnation of WARM Radio in the 40s and 50s, the Chairman of the Board himself, Frank Sinatra. Sinatra's "Strangers In The Night" dethroned the Four Seasons, stars at past WARM Day events who fell to number 2 with "Opus 17". Johnny Sea debuted at number 20. Bobby Darin was at number 17 with "Mame," Jerry Vale was leaving the charts with his last top 40 record "Less Than Tomorrow.". But the song that really stood out was this one by country singer crossover artist Leroy Pullins. This WARM chart really showed the diversity of the Top 40 at this time in its history.
WARM Day and its success gained a lot of state wide and local attention. At the end of 1965 it also got national attention with the Corporate Community. Here is a magazine article from an industry wide publication that featured WARM Day. Our thanks to Joe Middleton for providing this.
One of the great “gets” for the historic WARM Days at Rocky Glen was the 4 Seasons. Legend has it that Frankie Valli practiced in the WARM studios and the group had to be shuttered into the park under cover. Bill Stuart who was the Music Director at WARM at the time shared this account of how the Seasons came to the event along with a very big organ they traveled with during their tours. "As music director it was my job to line up artists for WARM Day. Any way we played and more importantly charted a song by this female artist, who I can't recall her name now . So, I called this guy, I think his name was Jerry Weintraub, Weinstein, whatever who managed the Four Seasons at that time. Gave him all the info, he said "I'll get back to you kid"....I figured that was that never to hear from him again. About a week later I get a call at the station and it's HIM!!! He said "You got um!!!!” I said, “Wait, what?” He said, “You guys are one of the few stations playing "my girlfriends record" and for that I'll give you the Four Seasons for WARM Day!”
WOW!! I ran into Ted Hepburns office and said, guess who I just got for this WARM Day? The ****ing Four Seasons!!!
" Some 50 years later, when I co-owed WKXP in Bloomsburg with Scottie Young, I get a phone call from Ted Hepburn telling me "Kirby wants to know what you guys are going". First of all Ted Hepburn has no idea who I am or that I ever worked for him at WARM. When I told him who I was and that I'm the guy that got the Seasons for WARM Day he said to me..."You know what I remember about that situation"..."how in the hell are we going to get a damn Wurlitzer organ up on the stage?” Well they got the organ on the stage, Ted remembered that BUT not the song or the girlfriend.
We’re still trying to figure out the girl friend but that’s a mission for another day.
In the meantime, we thank Bill Stuart for that input.
By the way, Frankie Valli is now worth 80 million bucks. That’s a lot of Wurlitzers!
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOMEONE LEAVES WARM? THEY STILL WIND UP IN RADIO
Bill Stuart was one of the bedrock announcers of WARM in the 60s. As a matter of fact, it was Bill Stuart who did the Harry West jingle, "Harry West, the Harry West Show, Harry West, the Harry West Show" that stayed with everyone long after Bill and Harry left the airwaves. When Stuart left WARM, he went on to WSCR as the Morning Man with the moniker of William B. Stuart. Then shortly after the Flood of 1972, WBAX went to an Oldies Format that featured a line up of guys like Ron Berry, Sam Liguori, Scotty Young and Bill himself. Stuart was named the Program Director and the station rocked the Valley with the great sounds of music and patter that was associated only with WARM. Stuart and Young also traveled to Texas to cut those iconic PAMS jingles for 'BAX. Here's a story about Stuart back then and an article that I penned promoting the station when I wrote my music column for The Sunday Dispatch. EDITOR'S NOTE: If you notice in my column, i spelled Bill Stuart's air name WRONG! The column was written 4 decades ago o a belated apology to Mr. Stuart.
WARM'S SUCCESSES CHRONICLED AND REMEMBERED THROUGH THE YEARS
WARM had its heyday and share of great success. Once it receded, you'd think that the legacy of WARM would be tucked away in the dusty archives of newspapers. But because of the potency of WARM, the way it touched people, every few years newspapers did stories on the impact of WARM in Northeastern Pennsylvania. In the late 90s Sue Henry (now of WILK Radio) wrote a very detailed column on how WARM came to be. Here it is in its entirety.
When the "new" WARM took to the airwaves in 1958, it caused a stir. After the first ratings period, it nearly caused a stampede for advertisers who wanted to be part of WARM. Here is an ad that was used to promote the station's success at the time.
When WARM, The Mighty 590 was in its infancy, WARM tried every promotion in the book. No thought was too silly or small, no event too trivial to ignore. Especially if they could turn it into a promotion. When those WARM snowy winters of the early 60s came, WARM started a contest where if you won, George Gilbert and Harry west would shovel the winner's walk. Both were personalities, young men at the time and in great shape. However this contest was short lived. Most likely due to the WARM cold winters, the big response from the public, as well as the fact that both George and Harry, along with other members of the air staff had to clean their own walks too.
When WARM made the move from traditional music station of the 50s to the breakout Mighty 590, every stop was pulled out. In order to distinguish itself from the competition, WARM wanted to be the Listener's friend. Even advocate for them as this series of small ads indicated. We see a promotion for the Don Stevens Morning Show, then a poignant offer that said to the public we are here for you. Whatever you need, we here at WARM can and will help. It finally ends with a little light poem promoting the Mighty 590. This was a departure from broadcast entities that previously kept a distance from the public.
WARM Radio was always associated with The Public Service Bulletin Board. Locally that moniker was taken over by WNEP TV Channel 16 after WARM ceased using it. But when WARM started, the PSBB was a link between the most powerful radio station at the time and its community. Here is an example of what was going on in November of 1959.
WHEN WARM PERSONALITIES MET BILL HALEY AND THE COMETS
This newspaper article by The Wyoming Valley Observer's Joe Middleton outlines how WARM Radio personal came to meet Bill Haley and The Comets. This photo with Joe Middleton and Joey Shaver was taken 10 years before Haley died on that exact same day. Meeting Haley was like meeting the very architect of Rock and Roll. There are those who say Haley began it all with "Rock Around the Clock".
WARM Day was always associated with Rocky Glen Park in Moosic. But there was a lull for a few years. 1967 and '69 notably. No WARM day, but in 1968 WARM Day was held at Pocono Downs with the Cryin' Shames. Here are two songs from The Shames, "Mr. Unreliable" and their iconic "Sugar and Spice" which was featured in the movie "Good Morning Vietnam".
When WARM, The Mighty 590 came on the air they wanted to be a multi purpose station. In this littlew ad in their program sheet, they asked for fan input on Scholastic basketball teams. This was the first small step in what was to be a franchose for WARM in the years to com,e. WARM became the leader in local sports of all kind. Notabely WARM also started its own basktball team,The Duble Dribblers. Ten of course there was The Ron Allen Sportsline as well as Phillies baseball and Penn State Football. Later WARM ran Eagles, Cowboys, and Steelers Football. All that sports involvement started with this little tiny ad in 1959.
There was a time when WARM first started that The Sensational 7 actually signed autographs. They came at public appearances as well as indicators of what popular songs they were asking teens to listen to. Here is a sheet that has rare autographs of the WARM Original Sensational 7. This was part of the WARM survey sheet that featured the Disc Jockey's favorite, recommended tunes as well as other information the station deemed important.
GERRY GRANAHAN MEETS THE MAYOR, WARM AND HIS FAN CLUB
Gerry Granahan was from Pittston and he was one of the first locals to get a break out hit when Rock and Roll came on the scene. Granahan even had a fan club and got the key to the city. This was engineered by his fan club as well as The Mighty 590 that was still located in downtown Scranton in the Bowman Building. Check out this great photo featuring the late Mayor James Hanlon who was in his final term as Mayor. Here's the photo followed by Granahan's hit, "No Chimse Please" and his version of "Unchained Melody". From left to right, Harold Granahan, The All Nite Satellite Len Woloson, Granahan, Don Stevens, the Mayor, and the President and Vice President (unidentified by the newspaper) of The Gerry Granahan fan club.
Danny Argo is a well know entertainer based in the Greater Pittston Area. He is known in all of Northeastern Pennsylvania as a singer. He also served as a member of Pittston City Council. Argo wrote a Letter To the Editor to The Sunday Dispatch years ago reacting to stories about the good old days at Rocky Glen.
One of the hallmarks of WARM was the News Department. Through the years, hundreds of professional journalists came through the doors of The Mighty 590. The news department also gave the entire station rating credibility because it was so better staffed than other outlets. Joe Middleton worked in WARM News in the 90s. Once in a while, a WARM reporter made it on TV or in this case on the front page of a local newspaper during a significant murder trial in the 90s. In most cases these things happen by accident but the exposure, never, ever hurts.
"Green Eyed Lady" was a huge hit in the early 1970s. The group appeared locally and WARM Radio was there along with Cannibal and The Head Hunters. In the photo below are a few unidentified people. If anyone can help, message me on Facebook.
From left to right Jerry Corbetta, unidentified, Joe Middleton, unidentified, Joey Shaver and Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia of Cannibal and The Head Hunters.
WARM Radio was centrally located at the Avoca exit off of Route 81 for years. The station moved from the Bowman building into the Rex Craft facility around 1964. In 1995 WARM moved to 600 Baltimore Drive in Wilkes Barre under the leadership of GM Jim Loftus. Here is that WARM studio that hasn't changed much after 22 years.
Here's another great photo of Bobby Vinton. Vinton was a bridge between the teenagers and their parents in the 1960s as WARM Radio began to dominate across all demographics. Vinton's style was smooth and elegant and was loved by both teenagers and the older generation on an equal basis. It also helped that Vinton's father was a 30s era band leader who also hired Perry Como as a singer. Here's Vinton with WARM newsman Joe Middleton who provided many of the photos for these WARM Mighty Memories.
During the late 60s and 70s Joe Middleton was a Columnist for the Wyoming Valley Observer. Middleton had access to a great many stars in the music community. In one of his columns he published this photo of a performer, Ginny Arnell, at WARM Day. Arnell had a few lower top 40 hits, "Dumb Head" and "I Wish I Knew What Dress To Wear".
During the early 2000s when The Mighty 590 was just a memory and the new owners turned WARM into a satellite oldies channel, nostalgia for WARM was at a peak. This photo was reintroduced in an article in The Citizen's Voice newspaper in Wilkes Bare.
We found a really nice photo of the late Ron Allen with news reporter Katherine Barans and sportscaster Kelly Reed. This was the late 80s when Ron was in his element hosting the Sports Line everyday. Barans did the news in the afternoon and Kelly Reed handled sports in the morning. Back in the 60s, it was '65 that The Jive Five had a hit called "I'm A Happy Man" which kind of described Ron's look in this picture!
Jack Palance was a renowned movie star who was from Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Palance had a storied career and was appearing late into his 80s as the new century dawned. But in the 70s Palance was promoting an album and who better to get in on the act would be the WARM Radio personalities. Remember that bank of pay phone at The Woodlands? Here are Steven Allen Scott, Palance and Jim Drucker mugging for the cameras. The photo was taken at the Treadway, later The Woodlands where for years that phone bank sat!
When that WARM Reunion of Radio greats happened in 1992, someone thought it would be a good idea to get this photo of radio greats. At the time, only Harry West, Bobby Day and Bobby Vanderhayden were actively on radio. Tom Woods was in private business, George Gilbert was in management, Joey Shaver was in Sales at WARM and Bill Kelly was the CEO of WVIA TV and FM. From left to right Bobby Day, George Gilbert, Joe Middleton, Tommy Woods, Bob Vanderhayden, Joey Shaver and Bill Kelly.
Political analyst for WBRE TV's Pa. Live program and post election commentator for WBRE TV's Eyewitness News Daybreak show. Author of the book "A Radio Story/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors" and "Leges Vitae" "26 Rules of Life" and the new novel, "Weather Or Knot". The blog editor also writes various news articles and columns as well as upcoming literary projects. The blog editor was a frequent guest on WYOU TV'S INTERACTIVE NEWSCASTS when political issues were discussed on the national, state and local level. Yonki was a weekly panelist on WYLN TV 35's Friday Topic A program. He also appeared on the Hazleton, PA. station on Election Night doing coverage and did special projects and stories for WYLN TV 35's 10PM Newscast "Late Edition".