Chuck Adams (Easter 1964)
This one is a lot of fun. It features Chuck Adams doing his weekend shift on WGH-AM. Listen for some classic commercials as well as some long-gone production aids. There's even a special Easter jingle that I hadn't heard in more than forty years. Thanks to Chuck for sending us the tape!
WGH Air Checks
Thanks to Richard Webb, here's an air check montage from June 1968, when Gene Loving challenged Larry O'Brien and Tom Scott to a rowing contest from Ocean View in Norfolk to Buckroe Beach in Hampton. If they could row the bay in less than three hours, Gene would do his afternoon show, followed by Larry's evening show and Tom's overnight show...on the air from 2:00 pm until 5:00 am the next day. The contest was originally scheduled for July 4, 1968, but due to poor weather conditions (and the fact that Larry overslept), the row-a-thon was rescheduled to a later date. On this montage you'll hear Gene Loving on the air the day before the contest, a Bob Calvert promo for the event, George Crawford on the morning of the contest and Bob Calvert and Gene Loving during the event. Gene fed live cut-ins via two-way radio from a pilot boat that ran along side Larry and Tom.
Bob Calvert (1968)
Here's an air check of Bob Calvert from early summer in 1968. He was on the air from the WGH Studios at Ocean View Amusement Park...under the roller coaster. Despite all of the miscues, bad carts, broken cart machines and various other technical snafus, Bob was still able to entertain us. I would have loved to have been a fly on the studio wall, listening when the microphone was off. No one could swear like Bob...it was almost poetry.
George Crawford (1968)
George Crawford (his first name was Ogie) is still my favorite morning show performer ... and over the years I've worked with some pretty good ones. For more than twenty years, George held down the 5:00 am to 9:00 am shift at WGH and was usually number one in the market. George was once asked how he became a performer. He said that when he was young his father told him to stay away from a burlesque theatre. "He said I might see something I shouldn't." George skipped school and went to the theatre anyway to see what he shouldn't. "There in the third row was my father." George said that was when he knew he wanted to be show business. Before joining WGH, George worked in Washington, DC at such stations as WSPA, WINX, WTTG, WOL and WMAL. I believe he was once a television clown, as well. George moved to Hampton Roads and a job with WTAR Radio, where he first did afternoons and then mornings. After a couple of years, he moved to WGH for the morning show and in the beginning, alternated days with Jim Stanley. George was not only a great performer, but a truly nice man, as well. In the early 1980's, The Daily Press sold WGH AM/FM to an investment group from Ohio and among their more gnat-brained decisions (and there were quite a few) was moving George to evenings. (They also dropped the three-letter calls and switched to WNSY.) I was programming WTAR at the time and we were about to change the format to Oldies. I thought George would be perfect for mornings after Paul Hennings retired. Unfortunately, I was never able to convince my boss, Dick Fraim, who thought George was "too silly" on the air. We moved Tom Looney from afternoons to mornings and that worked out well, but I still think George Crawford would have really grabbed the baby boomers we were after. Over the years, I've heard very few airchecks of WGH's morning show, but thanks to Richard Webb, we have some vintage George Crawford to share with you from 1968. The first button contains some promos that George recorded for his show. The second button brings up a scoped air check. It's a composite of two different days (about midway, there's a bit of a newscast from News Director Jim Moore).
John Garry (November, 1970)
John Garry was on the air weekdays from 9:00AM-12Noon during the late 1960s and was the station's program director until he was replaced by Lee Fowler shortly after this aircheck was recorded. He moved on to Charlotte, North Carolina (Bob Calvert joined him for a while) where he very successfully programmed WIST-AM. Eventually he wound up at WTAE in Pittsburgh, where he teamed up with Larry O'Brien on the station's morning show. O'Brien & Garry were hired separately at WTAE in 1972 (O'Brien for mornings, Garry for afternoons) until a week-long trial run of a two-man show in 1974 led to their being teamed permanently. They moved to WTAE's FM side, WHTX, in 1983. They also worked at WMXP and then returned to WTAE after it switched to a talk format. John Garry continues to live in the Pittsburgh area. He is retired from broadcasting. Larry O'Brien, who left 'GH for nights on Chicago's WCFL in the late 1960s, is also retired and lives in Hilton Head, S.C.
When John was Program Director at WGH, I called one day and asked him if I could get a copy of some of the station's jingles (I had been recording them off the air and could never get clean copies). John set up a time after business hours for me to come by the station. When I got there, he took me to the quonset hut production room and brought in a stack of PAMS jingle masters and blank tape. He showed me how to operate the AMPEX machines and left me there to dub what I wanted. A couple of hours later he came back and asked me if there was anything else I wanted to put on tape. It was all pretty impressive to a 16-year old kid who wanted to be in radio. And over the years, whether it was at WTAR in Norfolk or WNBC in New York, whenever people made the same request of me, I never thought twice about saying "Yes."
Roger Clark (1967-1968)
I can remember spending many a night with my Audiovox portable radio on the shelf of my bed's headboard...the radio facing down with the speaker playing into a cigar box that contained a microphone for my GE tape recorder. The sound was trapped in the cigar box and I could run the radio volume at a very low level (and not be heard by my parents...whose bedroom was directly above mine) in order to record The Roger Clark Show. Each night, after midnight, Roger's show was primitively voicetracked. (And you thought that was invented by Clear Channel!) It was hour after hour of Roger "swingin' from the ol' chandelier" and playing some classic WGH jingles and Bob Calvert promos. When Tom Scott took over the show in 1968, the automation was used only on Sunday night/Monday morning. Thanks to Rog, I could record dozens of WGH jingles "in the clear." Often, the system would break down and track after track would play before the engineer noticed and corrected the problem. Alas, over the years all of my Roger Clark tapes disappeared. I should have rescued the master reels when I found them stored in the Todds Lane transmitter building. I figured, other than Roger Clark, I was the only nut in the world who was ever interested in these wacky gems. Fortunately, I was wrong. Richard Webb was apparently doing the same thing each evening...and he kept his tapes. Here's a little bit of Hampton Roads overnight radio history with Roger Clark ("...with stars till dawn.").
Through most of the 1960's, "Lean Gene" Loving held down the afternoon drive slot on WGH. He also served as music and promotion director for the station. His interviews with the Beatles in the 1960s were syndicated throughout the world. From 1964 to 1969 Gene co-hosted with Dick Lamb a weekly television dance program, "Disco Ten", on WAVY-TV. His AGL Productions brought many entertainers to the Old Dominion from the 1960's through the 1980's. Gene is now Chairman and CEO of Max Media LLC, a Virginia Beach company that owns and operates television, radio and alternative media.
During the 1960's, my father was Service Manager at Casey Chevrolet (one of the station's biggest advertisers) and the WGH Showmobile was at the dealership almost weekly. I would stand in front of the Showmobile windows for hours at a time watching whomever was on the air. Often, it was Gene Loving. Gene would invite me in and let me watch him work from the inside. I analyzed everything he did to put together a program. One afternoon, he asked me to watch the controls during a newscast ("Live at 55") while he went in the showroom for a soda. He set up the carts containing the Top of the Hour ID that followed the news and the jingle that preceded the first record (cued and ready on the turntable). "Start these if I'm not back in time," he told me. I sat in the chair and waited for the news to end. Just as the weather came on, I saw Gene exit the showroom. He looked at me, smiled and turned around to talk to one of the car salesmen. The news ended, I pressed the start button on the Spotmaster containing the ID, then the jingle and flipped the switch to start the turntable. Gene walked through the door and said "Good job." That was pretty heady stuff for a 15-year old kid who couldn't wait for the day when he could get on the air.
Later that day.....following Gene Loving's broadcast from the Showmobile, Richard Webb also taped Larry's evening show from the old Mercury Boulevard studios. Apparently, the station Christmas office party was in full swing during Larry's show. There are special appearances by a jolly Bob Calvert, who occasionally left the festivities to "help" Larry on the air.
Steve Silsby remembers visiting Larry in the Showmobile at Casey Chevrolet. Who knows, we were probably there at the same time over the years. " I grew up less than a mile away from there... Just like Dale, I started going inside to learn what I could of the DJ craft. I'd barge in (politely) on Larry O'Brien's evening show and watch him queue-up the singles, load the jingle and commercial carts, make announcements and keep the log. I've included a couple of photos I took at the time. Both are of Larry O'Brien in 1968."
These are excerpts from a few shows that Neal and I did together. We were pretty much a program director's nightmare. No wonder Jim Stewart was losing his hair.
WGH News (1964)
Here's the intro and outro from a 1964 WGH newscast. It's all classic Calvert and courtesy of Chris Astle.
Jim Lawrence (August 29, 1967)
Jim worked the 7PM-11PM shift at WGH after Dick Lamb was moved to Noon-3PM. I met him one night as he broadcast his show from the WGH Showmobile at Casey Chevrolet. A couple of years later, he convinced Don Beckstrom to hire me for midday at WVAB in Virginia Beach. Later, he hired me at WLPM in Suffolk and in 1976, recommended me to Dick Lamb for a production position at WTAR. In 1988, I brought him to New York City to do some weekend "Time Machine" airshifts at WNBC-AM in New York City. He sounded great doing the oldies. A few years ago, at the urging of Gene Loving, Jim went back to school and became a certified broadcast meteorologist and a popular addition to the weather staffs of WTKR-TV and WAVY-TV. He's currently doing fill-in weather shows on WVEC-TV. The WGH aircheck is from the collection of Richard Webb. The WNBC aircheck comes from Jim's personal collection.
Dave Cummins (August 30, 1967)
Dave was on the air weekdays from 9AM-Noon. He also produced many of the commercials heard on WGH in the mid-1960s and you can hear a number of them on the Chuck Adams air check above. Dave left the station shortly after this aircheck was recorded. I think he went to CHED in Edmonton, which was the same station that Keith James went to a couple of years earlier. This tape is from the collection of Richard Webb.
Sign Off - Sign On (Late Fall 1968)
For many years, Roger Clark was on the air for all but one hour from 6PM Sunday until 5AM Monday. He would be live until 11PM, followed by "Silhouette" at 11PM, and then automated Roger at Midnight. This ended in late 1968 when the station began signing off for maintenance from Midnight to 5AM on Sunday Night/Monday Morning. This also coincided with the completion of the new nighttime directional site. Here's a Roger Clark AM-FM ID (oddly enough it says "24 hours a day"), followed by John Garry's sign off and George Crawford's 5AM sign on. Thanks again to Richard Webb!
Ron James (1970 and 1974)
Ron was originally hired away from WNOR by John Garry in 1969. He hosted the 10PM-1AM show for the late Lee Fowler until Lee unceremoniously fired him around 1972. Ron then took over the audio department at WHRO-TV (he hired me there as his assistant after I returned from my initial active duty stint in the Marine Corps Reserves). Jim Stewart hired him back at WGH in 1974 upon the the departure of Jeff Davis for WLS in Chicago (I was doing 10PM-1AM and was moved to 6PM-10AM and Ron took over 10PM-1AM). This aircheck is from around that time. The 1970 aircheck comes from Ron. Thanks to Bill Bass for sending along the 1974 aircheck!
Ron sent me a ton of stuff a while back ... much of it on reels. Unfortunately, my reel to reel deck is in terrible shape and I still haven't found the parts I need to bring it back to life. At some point, I'll probably break down and buy something newer. It does have sentimental value, however. Don Imus threw it at me from his office about twenty years ago. It landed in a chair, relatively unscathed. I kept it ... and I think I threw the chair back at Imus. Ah, memories.
Nevertheless, I hope to get some of Ron's memorabilia on the site in the very near future.
Dick Lamb (1967)
Here's Dick Lamb and the "Night Train of Music" from 1967. This was the first show from the station's new remote studios located under the roller coaster at Ocean View Amusement Park. The amazing thing about this air check is that over 40 years later, Dick sounds (and looks) pretty much the same. In the 1970's, I worked for Dick at WTAR Radio and also helped out with some voice work and audio production on his Channel 3 TV show (with Sherri Brennen). Dick is a real talent and one of the truly nice guys in the broadcasting business.
Tom Scott (November 1968)
Tom Scott joined WGH for the 11:00 PM - 5:00 AM show in 1968 and use of the overnight automation was reduced to one night per week (Sunday night-Monday morning). I would see him a lot when I was the public address announcer at War Memorial Stadium for the Peninsula Grays in the Class A Carolina League and Tom was the play-by-play announcer for the Alamance Senators out of Burlington, NC. Tom's all night show included a talk show from 2:00 - 3:00 AM called "Talk to Scott." When the night-time airshifts were changed to 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM and 10:00 pm - 1:00 AM, Tom's program ran from 1:00 - 5:00 AM.
Roger Clark (November 1968)
On Sunday evenings Roger hosted the "Sunday Night Hall of Hits" from 6:00 - 11:00 PM. The music covered the early 1950's into the 1960's. He would also feature a lot of old jingles in the show. On this particular night, you'll hear cuts from students of Newport News High School as WGH saluted the school in the "WGH High School Hall of Fame." I graduated from Newport News in 1969...and I'm screaming in the background on one of the promos.
Scott Christenson (1970)
Scott Victor Christenson took over the evening show upon Larry O'Brien's departure for WCFL in Chicago. Scott was at WGH for about a year, when he left to join John Garry at WIST in Charlotte.
Dale Parsons (I think it's from 1974)
In 1974 and 1975, Jim Stewart put together the "Thing of the Past" Weekend. We dug out all of the old jingles and promos and played the hits from the 1950s and 1960s, as well as recollections from some of the old personalities. I think this is from the 1974 oldies weekend. The songs are edited, but most of the commercials are intact. We were pretty much left on own for the weekend. You'll also hear a little reverb, which means this was recorded off of the in-house monitor. For a while, engineering and programming were testing a reverb unit on the in-house system. What I did on the air sounds awfully similar to what we did with the "Time Machine" about 13 years later at WNBC. Oh, and don't miss the classic Bob Calvert cut near end of this aircheck.
George Crawford (1964)
This one is way too short and I wish I had more. I'm not sure where I got it from, but there's a lot of George and WGH crammed into about a minute. Part of the "WGH Hot Wire" intro is heard (a news feature that aired around 7:45 AM) as well as George's reference to "Emperor Crawford." This is great stuff.
Dale Parsons Production (1974-1975)
Here are some production bits I found recently on a cassette.
Cut 1 - A Top of Hour ID I recorded that we used on the weekends.
Cut 2 - A promo I produced for a McDonald's promotion for the "Big Mac."
Cut 3 - A spot I recorded for an Alice Cooper concert at the Hampton Coliseum.
Cut 4 - A promo I recorded for a promotion in which the winner would receive dinner with Alice Cooper and Mike Patrick and tickets to the concert.
The ID was recorded in the Norfolk production studio at Military Circle Mall. The studio always had a very mid-range only sound...like the highs and lows were being chopped off. The other three were recorded in the second AM production studio at Todd Center. It had the tube-type Gates Yard console...and sounded much fuller than the one Herman King worked out of with the newer solid-state Yard. All of the AM on-air and production studios utilized the RCA 77DX microphones (like the one on "Larry King Live"). The mic had three different frequency response settings "M" (for music) and "V1" and "V2" (for voice). Normally, however, we used the "M" setting, which gave the voices an added bass punch. I used to play around with these settings, as well as the directional settings of "U" (uni-directional), "N" (non-directional), and "B" (bi-directional) to get different sounds or alter my voice. I used all of the settings for the Alice Cooper dinner/tickets promo.
Ah, what fun we had with razor blades, splicing blocks, two-track tape recorders, reverse echo, and a Gates Level Devil. It was a lot of work back then. Now, you can knock out the same thing in about a tenth of the time.
Jim Stewart (1974)
Jim Stewart was named Program Director after Lee Fowler's departure in 1973 (Lee went to WQRK-FM as PD). Jim also was on the air from 9:00AM-Noon. This air check is courtesy of my old friend Tom Ogburn, who hired me in 1971 for PM Drive at WTVR-AM in Richmond.
Assorted Stuff (1967)
Richard Webb recorded lots of things off the air over the years. This is just a compilation of various items. You'll hear some WTID "Top Gun" jingles, some WNOR jingles and a news outro, some WGH jingles and news intros, and even some WRAP "Soul Radio" jingles...all recorded from Richard's radio in 1967.
Gene Loving (November 1967)
Richard Webb recorded quite a few air checks from his home about 15 miles north of Richmond. During the day, the reception was very good, but late in the afternoon, a lot of interference was heard. This particular aircheck was recorded around 5:00 PM. You'll hear Jim Lawrence come into the studio to talk with Gene. It's pretty scratchy, but I think it's worth putting up on the site.
John Garry (4th of July Weekend 1968)
The air conditioner was broken and the studio was hot, hot, hot ... and then, arriving to save the day, "The Air Conditioner Man!" Another tape from the collection of Richard Webb.
John Garry (July 1968)
John is late for his remote broadcast from the WGH Showmobile in Virginia Beach and then has to put up with Bob Calvert jumping in from the main studio. It's a scratchy, static-filled recording, but fun to listen to nonetheless. From the collection of Richard Webb.
Roger Clark at WNOR (February 1958)
Roger hosted the all night show at WNOR prior to being hired by WGH in the Spring of 1958. Here's an excerpt of his WNOR program recorded about a month before he moved to WGH.
Roger Clark (1961)
One of Roger's early sponsors of the all night show at WGH was Budweiser Beer. Here's a 1961 aircheck of the program. Listen for the Budweiser jingle customized for the "Tidewater" area.
JJ Bowman (1969)
JJ arrived from WDGY/Minneapolis to handle the WGH weekday Noon-3pm airshift in the late Fall of 1968. After Bob Calvert's departure in 1970, JJ took over most of the commercial and promotional production load. He later moved on to WTAR Radio, where he was production director and left the market sometime in the mid-1970's.
Teen Time (1958)
Here is a 1958 interview by Ronnie King with Buddy Holly for a 1958 broadcast on the Saturday morning program "Teen Time". This interview was recorded after the October 17, 1958 "Show of Stars" at the Norfolk Municipal Auditorium (which, by then, had actually been renamed the "Center Theater" - it's now the "Harrison Opera House"). Featured with Buddy Holly & the Crickets were
Willie Edwards - WNOR (1969)
I have a few WNOR-AM airchecks...not enough for a whole website, but I thought I'd post them as well. This is Willie Edwards on a Sunday night in May 1969. WNOR still had it's reverb on the air and toward the end of the aircheck is a promo announcing that the latest Hooper survey showed WNOR was the number one contemporary radio station in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. You'll notice a lot of static and co-channel interference. This was recorded in the 9PM hour, well after WNOR's nighttime power reduction to 250 watts. In 1969, however, with less electrical interference, the nighttime signal was fairly listenable in much of Southside Hampton Roads. Today, WNOR-AM is WJOI with a full time power of 627 watts.
Johnny Hart - WNOR (August 1965)
Gene Davis asked if I had any airchecks of Johnny Hart and I mentioned that my brother Tim had one from the mid-1960s at WNOR-AM. Johnny passed away in 2006 and Tim worked with him at WLQM in Franklin, where Johnny was Sales Manager. Johnny Hart (Eustace) loved radio and I think everyone who ever worked with him loved Johnny. Over the years he worked at WYSR in Franklin, WNOR in Norfolk, WLPM in Suffolk, WTID in Newport News, WWOC in Portsmouth both on the air and in sales. He also was a musical entertainer, performing at clubs throughout Southeastern Virginia with his wife Sunny Rae. I got to see Johnny shortly before he died and enjoyed talking with him about his varied and eclectic radio career. He was always good for an interesting story. This aircheck has a bit of distortion and is from a fifth-generation cassette dub, but it's enjoyable just the same. The music and the news stories narrow the date to sometime in August 1965. You'll hear jingles for Schaefer Beer, Rich's Drive In and Mary Jane Bread.