Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Old Station Becomes FM

Imagine that, WGIV has just now received their license to also become WGIV-FM at 103.3 on your dial. Next thing you know, they'll get a license from the FCC to be WGIV-TV!

Oh, wait a minute. My old boss, Francis Fitzgerald already did that.

I remember back in 1953 he put a mirror behind the microphone so we announcers could practice for when that mirror became a TV camera. And we wanted to be ready.

Mr. Fitz, as we all called him, had even purchased land over in the South Blvd area, and had drawn up plans for a huge radio/TV complex....called Charlotte Radio Center....or something like that. He was a man of big ideas.

Maybe too big. He got the station license from the FCC. The name on the application was WGIV-TV.........and it was on Channel 36.

I don't know all the details, but as I look back on those years I think Mr.Fitz must have experienced "buyers remorse" after he learned that the channel he got was if anyone wanted to watch WGIV -TV.....they had to buy a converter for their TV set  to see the station...
It looked like getting a return on his money might take a long time.

So, he sold the license for channel 36, and forgot about the South Blvd Radio Center extravaganza, and returned to his roots; WGIV radio, where Genial Gene was king (and what a great personality he was) Chatty Hattie was queen, others on the announcing staff were the great Julian Barber (Red Barber was his uncle) Eric Dehlin, Johnny Surratt, and Joy Boy Saunders, and a couple of others who made up a very talented staff. As the "teenage DJ" I was just lucky to be there.

Genial Gene Potts and Chatty Hattie
I think an apartment complex that was built on that site still carries the name "Radio Center." It may be public housing now. Or it may not even exist at all.

However, now that WGIV is WGIV-FM, I may re-think my decision to retire up here in Virginia and move back to Charlotte.

Maybe I could get my old job back at WGIV.

They do hire white people there, don't they?


Left to right..Johnny Surratt,Eric Dehlin,Ed Myers

PS....WGIV was founded by Mr Fitz and a couple of other WW2 veterans and the call letters stood for "We are GI Veterans."

Final note: One of Mr. Fitz's hobbies was music. He organized his own band...which consisted of some of the best musicians in Charlotte. Mr. Fitz and his band played for our Senior 1954  -Ed