Thursday, July 17, 2014


I was wrong when I said (a couple of posts ago) that the first thing I was taught as a young radio announcer was that "silence was deadly."

That was the second.

The first one was, DON"T CURSE on the air.

Francis Fitzgerald and Ed Myers 1951
(Actually, Mr, Fitz, WGIV's owner, and the best boss I ever had in all the 63 years after that said "Don't CUSS on the air.)

Of course, the words he was talking about are considered mild, and even acceptable today.  "Damm" and "Hell" were the ones he had in mind. I think those were just about the only ones anyone knew back then.

It only required a little common sense to instinctively know not to spout obscenities over the airwaves intentionally, but he was warning us about accidentally letting something slip out.

Art Van Damme
There was a popular musical group called the Art Van Damm Quintet in the early 50's that we were required to announce as the Art Van Darn or the Art Van Dern Quintet.
Sometimes we called it the Art Van Heck Quintet.

The first person that I ever heard let a cuss slip out on WGIV was Eric Dehlin who ended the first half of his morning music show one minute before Julian Barber sat down to read the 12 noon news.  Now, WGIV only had one studio, one mic...and one chair for the on the air personality;  Julian, being the great prankster that he was would occasionally, while waiting for Eric to close out the first part of his show, click the switch to a different speed on the turn table where Eric had his theme song "cued up"  for his opening of the second half of his show. Then, he and Eric would quickly change places.

Eric Dehlin
Julian Barber

After the news, they would again, swap places.

Following that particular newscast, what the listener heard was Eric re-introducing his show, "Hi folks, Eric Dehlin back again with the second half of our Morning Serenade"
Then he would roll the theme song...which back then was on a 78 rpm record...but because Julian had changed the turntable speed it started playing at 33 and a third.

That's when Eric made WGIV history with a loud "G--Dammit"...with the mic still on.

I'm not sure what Eric said after that, but if it had happened to me I think I would have started "vamping" like crazy, hoping the listeners hadn't been paying attention, or convinced themselves that they had only imagined that they heard....what they heard.

As fast as I could, I would have begun rattling off any and everything that I could think of hoping to distract the listener:

What is called a "French kiss" in the English speaking world is known as an "English kiss" in France.

"Almost" is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.

"Rhythm" is the longest English word without a vowel.

Right handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people

Your ribs move about 5 million times a year, every time you breathe!

The elephant is the only mammal  that can't jump!

One quarter of the bones in your body, are in your feet!

Like fingerprints, every one's tongue print is different!

The first known transfusion of blood was performed as early as 1667, when Jean-Baptiste, transfused two pints of blood from a sheep to a young man

Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails!

Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian.

Now, something tells me that I might have written about this before.  The elderly are known for doing that.

We are also known for not remembering stories that we have read before.  And since this website checks your ID before you come in, I think it's a wash.

While I have such a mature audience together, I'll pass along a very funny and equally true story that happened over at WBTV on Fred Kirby's popular kiddie show.
Fred Kirby WBTV

Even though It was a live show he would often take the mic into the audience and interview the kids.  That's a very dangerous thing to do, but for a pro like Fred Kirby, he and his producer were confident he could handle just about anything. And he could!
On this occassion, he was talking to a group of kids...and suddenly over on the side a cute couple of 7 or 8 year old black kids started laughing hysterically.

So Fred couldn't resist going over to them to find out what was so funny. It was good TV...the pictures of the kids laughing were precious...their laughter was contagious...and Fred kept asking what they were laughing about...they wouldn't say. The boys kept laughing, and Fred kept asking....

Until finally one of the boys gave in...and with Fred holding the mic 4 inches from the kid's face still pleading to know why he was laughing... the boy replied,  "Leroy F..ted!"

Well, they say Fred began strumming his guitar faster than anyone had ever seen before......

Moral of the story:  Be careful what you ask for....for you shall surely get it. -Ed