Thursday, January 2, 2014

then Dave got a monkey!

Very little tv and NO cell phones!

Back in the late 40’s and early 50’s we didn’t have much tv...and no cell phones (thank god).
In Effingham, Illinois which was half way between nowhere...(I’m kidding)...south of Chicago and east of St. Louis...there were only two tv stations and they would broadcast limited hours everyday. One was WCIA in Champaign where the University of Illinois was located and the other was KSD in St. Louis.
So radio was still king and through my high school years in the early 50’s I had favorites....all playing music.
Chicago’s Dave Garroway was on WMAQ (where I would end up working for NBC News) every night with a fantastic mellow delivery that made him so famous and his sign off logo...”peace”.  
        Dave would be promoted by NBC to the “Today Show” in New York and be joined by a soon to be famous monkey!
The other Chicago radio guy was the host of “Music Till Dawn” on WBBM...Jay Andres.  This all night program featured soft music and was copied in several large markets with other DJ’s and sponsored by American Airlines. Rumor had it that Jay hosted some high stakes poker games while whiling away the hours.
But the guy who really had my attention every afternoon out of St. Louis on KXOK was Ed Bonner who played the hits...Margaret Whiting and Rosemary Clooney...not the Beatles and Elvis!
When I was starting my radio career on the local Effingham station WCRA... I called Bonner one day and ask him if I could watch his broadcast and he said “sure”.  So a few days later my Dad and I drove over for a Cardinal game and I visited Ed for a short time.  He had Margaret Whiting as a guest and I met her which was exciting.  She had a lot of top pop hits...and was pleasant to a teenage kid just starting in the biz....a far cry from some of the nasty self centered half-wit rock and rollers that I’d have to deal with in the 60’s and 70’s.
Ed would move his show to WIL after several years and I was thrilled again when I stepped into their studio to do my own talk show in later years!

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