The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Radio Daze

A few old pics.

Going through some of my old photos, I came across this shot of former WHYN radio personality Fred King, sitting at his desk in the WHYN studios in 1999.

King started at the station in 1969. Here he is around that time (right) with fellow WHYN legend Larry Kruger.

These were the top ten songs in the Pioneer Valley in the summer of 1969.

July 25, 1969

1. In The Year 2525 - Zager & Evans
2. Ballad Of John & Yoko - Beatles
3. What Does It Take - Jr. Walker & All Stars
4. My Pledge Of Love - Joe Jeffrey Group
5. Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town - First Edition
6. Put A Little Love In Your Heart - Jackie DeShannon
7. Get Together - Youngbloods
8. First Hymn From Grand Terrace - Mark Lindsay
9. Soul Deep - Box Tops
10. Honky Tonk Woman - Rolling Stones

To see the rest of the list click here.

What I remember most about Fred King is the morning he got fired from WHYN. I was in the studio to do The Reporter's Roundtable starring Kateri Walsh which aired early Sunday mornings but was actually recorded on Friday. Many times when Kateri and I arrived for taping King and his sidekick Bo Sullivan were just getting off the air, so we sometimes chatted with them.

Radio is a notoriously cutthroat business, where people are routinely fired out the door under the flimsiest of pretexts. It isn't even a case of "what have you done for us lately" but more like "what have you done this week?" No matter how long or how loyally you have served a station, you are always just one ratings slip or one hot young competitor away from being bounced from your job.

One morning Kateri and I arrived as the morning show was ending and we heard that Fred King had received a notice to report to the office. When Kateri and I emerged from the studio an hour later, there was Fred King in the lobby with his arms filled with the contents of his desk, waiting for the elevator to come and take him out of the building as a former employee. Even by radio standards, the firing of King shocked industry insiders up and down the Valley. When Kateri realized what was happening and saw King departing the station he had served for over three decades for the final time, she turned to me and exclaimed, "Damn, that was cold!" It was the first and last time I ever heard Kateri Walsh swear.

Republican Presidential nominee John McCain (above with prospective running mate Mitt Romney) is coming to Massachusetts next Wednesday. For all the details click here.

Here is an old picture I came across, taken by Jay Libardi, of me and a bass I caught in Lake Quaboag in North Brookfield. It says on the back it was taken in 1988. God, I had a suntan to die for!

And I might, since heavy sun exposure can cause skin cancer about twenty years later. Yikes, did I say that photo was taken in 1988, exactly twenty years ago? I always had a good tan in those years since I was always running around bareass on fishing trips, getting all stoned and crazed. It made me a popular fishing companion, because even if the fish weren't biting, you could always count on me to put on some kind of freak show. I don't regret my mad past. If you aren't going to push the limits when you're young, then when are you?

Today I tend to come across more like a kindly English professor than an outlaw - although I'm still an outlaw at heart. But I'm a lot more low key. For example this afternoon I went to the afternoon tea at Amherst College's Robert Frost Library. It was well attended.

It wasn't all tea and cookies. There were little displays set up about human rights.

There was also a display for Jack Kerouac Day, which is March 12th.

How will the Valley be celebrating that? I'll be sure to tell you all about it! Meanwhile, at UMass I saw that someone had vandalized one of the benches in front of Bartlett Hall.

That kind of damage to the general campus is rare. It's the dorms that the students tend to trash, especially when the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins or a UMass team of any sort is either victorious or defeated.

Oh well, let me just leave you with the number one song in our Valley in the summer of '69.


Tony said...

Great, now I'm going to have that song stuck in my head for a couple days...

LarryK4 said...

Gotta love those One Hit Wonders.