In the previous post called AM Radio, I mentioned Dick Biondi as the King DJ….
Let me explain something about mid-late 1960’s radio stations. If it was a LARGE station they had a DJ and an Engineer. An engineer is someone that had knowledge of transmitters, towers, antenna’s etc. The engineer was in charge of the equipment, the DJ was in charge of his mouth and the music. The engineer had to be licensed by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), and licensing required testing. If it was a little station, then the station hired ONE engineer, known as a 1st Phone who was there, or on call during evening hours….the DJ’s had to have their 3rd Phone license, more on that later.
I don’t exactly recall how I got into this…….radio, that is….I guess I made a “good” follower, someone that could be enticed to do something, maybe that’s why my parents worried about me so much… (Wait some things I got into on my own…but, that’s I different set stories…) So, I had this friend Alan, and he worked at WASK-FM (FM a technical term you can Goggle). Well worked is a relative term….what I should say, is that a number of us high school classmates had gone off to college. College for me was in my back yard…Purdue…just 14 miles away–I was a commuter–one who went but never got involved in anything, since I lived at home.
Alan had this part-time job at the radio station, man it sounded good…a few hours a week on the air!! No manual labor!!! Was this the Dick Biondi in me coming out…or was it just something is the family gene?? My uncle, began working/singing on the air at WVLN, Olney, Illinois in the 50’s, later becoming station manager. However, WASK, being a small station, all DJ’s had to possess a 3d (Class) Phone FCC license, that required study (a topic I usually preferred to avoid) My memory reminds me that the FCC Regional Office/Testing site was Chicago Illinois, and it seems another of our classmates, Candy Franklin (attending BSU), also got talked into taking the test. It seems we all drove to Chi-Town. Candy and I took the test, both scoring almost perfect..and Alan and another girl waited for us… I’m recalling….the guys sat in front of Alan’ 1960 Ford convertable with 420 cu in engine that just rumbled, and the girls sat in back, both directions of the trip….now I liked girls, but it always seems they wanted to sit together in the back..maybe they just didn’t like me, or us, guys that is….
In my youth, I had a significant….very significant stuttering problem…fear or reading out-loud, was a killer… Although in my college years, I was MUCH improved, I always stumbled over strange words/names.. Dvorak. In applying for an opening at WASK-FM; by the way, WASK-FM later became WKKK, now WKOA, had a reading test….reading test???…..ok, not hard, I can do the “big brown cow jumped over the moon”—NOT.
It was “Our next selection will be Dvorak’s, 3rd Symphony, in D-Minor, Conducted by Rubics Cube and Oslow’s Philharmonic.” That was the easy one, and you don’t even want to venture a guess what I did to Dvorak.
They must have been hard up, because I got the job……….well, I got evenings, …………actually, one evening……ahhhh, part of one..the 6pm to midnight Saturday night shift. By the way, FM radio was BRAND NEW–no one had broken it yet… 50,000 watts of stereo, COMMERCIAL FREE, we shut the transmitters down Saturday night.
As an FCC certified “responsible” person, I was in-charge of reading the transmitter meters every hour, and pushing the “off” button at mid-night. “My Studio”, used Gates equipment, big different colored dials, 2 turn tables, 2 reel-to-reel tape decks, and all sorts of ‘jumper” cables to plug in the AM station, telephone lines etc, etc. !!!! boy, oh boy…
Look out world, you allowed me to become a DJ !!! 50,000 watts, here I come…!!!!!!!