I'm going through some files and finding great memories from radio days gone by. Here I will post stories of things that happened and funny moments. There will be some audio to help some stories. Hope you enjoy these trips down memory lane.
When We Changed Formats
When 99WAYS went from Top 40 to Oldies, you'll recall, I went missing for two weeks while the format was put in place. Did my parents know where I was? Yes. Where was I? One week was a planned vacation. I had already planned to visit good friends, Vern Fridell and family in Louisville, Ky. So, the first week I was having fun and water skiing down the Kentucky River. Don McGuirk, the GM of TV 13 and 99WAYS at that time, suggested that I take another week off. I flew to Hartsfield Airport where he picked me up and we both headed to Knoxville, Tennessee. There, we would spend three days filming the new Tv commercials for the format. No one knew the new format, or that I would even be back on the air. Even reporters came to my house to find I wasn't there. Even my next door neighbor (who didn't know about caller ID and has denied it) called and left a neighborly message on my answer machine chastising me for putting people through such emotional distress. (Keep in mind I have an unlisted number...that they know! LOL)
There's A Bomb In The Building
If you only knew the number of times all disc jockeys have remained on the air while during a bomb threat. Sure, most of the time it was just someone wanting attention. But, one morning at FM99 I was continuing to do my morning show. I noticed Janis (on the other side of the glass) and Pete (who did the news) were also not in the booth from me. Then I saw three men wearing 'hazmat' suits go past the window. I phoned the switchboard and no one was there either. Seems someone had phoned in a bomb threat, and a mysterious box had been found in the Television GM's office. Bill still playing the hits. But, as they always said, even if you get killed, it's not worth a half million people in 27 counties getting a bad idea when we know there's probably nothing to it. Probably.
Blind Man Walks Into Mobile Unit
When I was a high school student, during the holiday season my job with WNEX was to go with Max Harper (our chief...um...only engineer) and play Christmas music live on the air from the sidewalk on Third street, downtown. Keep in mind that those days the music format was record. Vinyl in you please. So there I am with my console, microphone and Christmas albums playing music live on the air.
Across the street heading with for the mobile unit is a blind man. We're playing carols and he's heading right for the mobile studio. We just knew he's discover it with his extended cane. It didn't happen. He never stopped. BLAM. Hits the van and off the record the needle goes! Max is thrown from his seat and is laughing...as am I. It took a second to compose ourselves. As Max goes to check on the man, I'm left to explain why the music has left the air waves. The gentleman was fine, just shocked to find a van on the sidewalk. The next day we noticed him crossing on the other side of the intersection. Go ahead...ask it. I remember. OK..I'll volunteer it. The song playing was "Walking In A Winter Wonderland". You can't make up stuff like this.
Did You Know That I Worked For WRBN?
Most don't know this, but I actually worked for WRBN in Warner Robins. Well, sort of. I was hired to replace Rick Wimberly who was doing mid-days at the time. I've forgotten the Program Director's name who hired me, but we had agreed on hours and a salary. I showed up, headphones in hand to do my mid-day shift. He pulls me aside and tells me that the salary wouldn't be the same as we had agreed. I said, "Well, I guess you've got to find a guy to do mid-days, then!" That, as they say, is the end of that story. Rick Wimberly eventually replaced Bill Buckley on TV13's news as anchor and would later go to the South Carolina Radio News Network.
Konenkamp Katches Khorister
The Bibb County Boys Choir was a new thing then. I was doing mornings at WNEX around 1977 and Pete Konenkamp was doing the news that day. The choir had to fit in a small control room and part of a production studio next to it. As the choir was finishing their last song, one of the guys passes out. Pete catches him before he hits the floor and the choir never missed a beat. Did this dissuade me from having groups on the air? Not hardly. The Macon Madrigal singers made an appearance on the Morning Show, as well as the world famous Coventry Cathedral Choir with Paul Leddington Wright, now of "Songs of Praise" fame.
Bill In Summer Musical...Once
I forget the year, but, I believe it was Jim Crisp who asked me to play one part one night only in a Macon Little Theater musical. Typically, the Wednesday night performance was slight. That particular week I was to play a walk on part of the priest.