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JF: All right. It is first day of February, 2013, Glen Bastin. We uh oh we don't have to worry about Ground Hogs today, do we?

GB: No, but we find out tomorrow if it's going to be six weeks or another um month and a half.

JF: Just for the record on this day when I got in my car this morning it said 12 degrees above zero. It's sunny we had a little snow last night. It was a ground hog would be smart he'll stay down there. (both laugh) How are you. It's good to see you, again.

GB: I'm great, Jack.

JF: Well, this is Glen Bastin who was uh retired used the not retired, but left WHAS news director of WHAS Radio, had a big part of shaping what became the cuddly giant. Glen, tell us a little about yourself first, where you came. Are you were you not from Louisville are you?

GB: Uh, actually I was born in Louisville---

JF: Were you?

GB: ---but, uh, no the folks moved back down to their home area, which is the Pulaski County area.

JF: Somerset, down that area?

GB: Yeah. But, I was uh um about four years old, and uh grew up in Pulaski 1:00County. Farmed, folks had a farm.

JF: Did you farm some?

GB: Oh, yes. Milked cows---

JF: All right.

GB: ---uh, the tobacco fields. We did it all. And it was a wonderful place to grow up. At that time pretty vibrant little community. Today, unfortunately, like most small towns, it's withered away and somewhat a town of widows now. The (??) community we lived in was called Eubank.

JF: Oh yeah?

GB: Yeah, we had a population of around three hundred, a little more than that. Had a high school and uh.

JF: I forgot that junior my friend Larry Martin, too---

GB: Actually Larry Martin and I graduated high school together.

JF: ---is that right.

GB: Yes. And still talk to each other occasionally. He's here in town.

JF: Sure, and wasn't Byron Crawford from down that area, too?


GB: Byron is from just north of our area. Byron was from Lincoln County, or as they say down home, Lincern County.

JF: (laughs) Get it right.

GB: That's right.

JF: So, uh, you were there, you grew up there, uh, when did you when did you begin to leave from there? Did you go away to school or what did you do?

GB: Well, uh, I grew up there, and left and in a sense I'd left in at the end of high school. Went to college at Eastern for uh a couple of years, and had always, Jack, had this bug of wanting to do radio.

JF: Really? What sparked that?

GB: Well, I think the listening I think the listening to radio had a lot to do with it. Of course we didn't have a television until I was 13 years old. Um, radio was part of lives.

JF: What did you listen to? Do you remember what you listened to?

GB: There was there were a lot of the soap operas that Mom would listen to. We would listen to newscasts, um---


JF: Cowboy shows, Tom Mix and those guys.

GB: Sure, yeah, um, the Grand Ole Opry.

JF: Oh yeah.

GB: Um, and in that part of Kentucky, the Grand Old Opry was huge.

JF: Sure, sure.

GB: That was regular Saturday night event, even when I became a teenager, and was driving, the Grand Ole Opry would be on in the car sometimes---

JF: Oh, the fifty-thousand-watt station just boomed out everywhere.

GB: ---that's right, that's right.

JF: Did you pick up a few UK basketball games once in a while---

GB: Claude Sullivan.

JF: ---yeah.

GB: Claude Sullivan and they was it the Standard Oil Network?

JF: I think so, yeah.

GB: And would listen to Claude on on I guess on WHAS, and maybe a station out of 4:00Lexington. Night time our area had very limited local or immediate area radio. Um, because the signals would be reduced, and some of them actually went off the air.

JF: Yeah.

GB: Um, so I'm sure most of the night time listening that we did on UK Basketball um, was through WHAS. One of the things that was interesting. I met with a young group just the other day, and I told them that when I came to Louisville one of the things that absolutely amazed me was we found out that there was another University in the state. (both laugh)

JF: Hard to believe.

GB: Hard to believe. Well, it still is huge Wildcat Country in Pulaski County.

JF: Yeah, you bet. Well, now you uh you had this little spark in thinking you'd like to be involved in a radio somehow. Did that pursue that in college or uh.

GB: Well, actually, no, it started in high school.


JF: Oh, really.

GB: Um, we were very fortunate. There were five highs schools in Pulaski County at the time. And the local radio station, WSFC, had a very forward thinking gentleman named Jim Brown involved. Jim retired only recently after having I don't know how many years in broadcasting in Pulaski County. Jim started what he called Teen Time Hours. He went to each high school and formed a club and allowed that club to actually program a half hour on the radio station each Saturday. Well, I jumped---

JF: Sure.

GB: ---and became our program director for Eubank High School. And throughout my 6:00junior and senior years held court, if you will, on Saturday morning on the Eubank High School Teen Time.

JF: What an early start, wow.

GB: And we played music and dedicated songs and talked about what was going on at school and those kinds of things.

JF: What a nice thing for him to do. I bet he started some, uh, were there other, do you know if there were others beside you who came out of that and went into broadcasting?

GB: Uh, there were others, Jack, um, I think I was fortunate in that I was able to achieve maybe a little more than some of them did in winding up with my dream job at WHAS eventually. Um, but that's where it started, and I eventually into a a real, paying, week-end job, and uh I worked at WSFC later on as a full-time employee, and then played radio gypsy as we all do.


JF: Sure.

GB: Um, I moved from um Somerset to Morehead, from Morehead to Glasgow, from Glasgow to Bowling Green where I returned to school and went into television.

JF: Oh, really.

GB: Channel 13 in Bowling in Bowling Green, then was WLTV, which I recall stood for live tv. Um a friend of mine a a co-worker uh got a job at WHAS tv, and called me not long afterwards and said the radio side has a job. Gotta apply for it, and I did. And was willing to work cheap, and became um early on became what in effect was a news writer.


JF: Now what year was this, Glen?

GB: Nineteen sixty-nine.

JF: Sixty-nine, so by this time WHAS radio and television had moved into their building from the Courier Journal building over to uh, 6th and Chestnut. Is that right?

GB: It had just happened.

JF: Yeah.

GB: And the joke around the uh, station for several years was it will all be better when we get into the new building. (both laugh) That apparently had been been quite a joke in-house when they were in the Courier Journal building, and it didn't die---

JF: (laughs)

GB: ---every time something came up there was a reference it will be better when we get into the new building.

JF: How did that happen. Tell me about you heard about the job. You applied for it. Tell me about that process. How did that work.

GB: Uh, well, actually it was a very simple thing. Um, I called the um news director---

JF: Who was?

GB: ---Bob Morris. Bob was relatively new at the station, also.

JF: Was he director of radio and television or just radio?

GB: No, in those days there was only one.


JF: Yeah.

GB: They radio has become a bit of step-sister because there was this new thing called television, and television in those days was trying to find its feet. The newscast that we see today that lasts three hours lasted fifteen minutes then.

JF: Even nationally.

GB: Even nationals, right. Um but still television was the in thing. It was uh, uh, what everybody who was involved in a in an operation that had both outlets everybody not everybody, but many people wanted to be part of this newer media that that had more sparkle, if you will. And radio had suffered and not just at WHAS, but at a lot of other operations around the country as well. Um, they they it was somewhat a baby sister.


JF: Um hm.

GB: Um, but none the less I loved it.

JF: You were hired by Bob Morris.

GB: I was hired by Bob Morris.

JF: Were you interviewed by Bob? Were you interviewed by Bob?

GB: I was. As matter of fact as I recall that was the only person I talked with was Bob Morris. Um, and came to work writing the early news for Paul Clark.

JF: A legendary Paul Clark.

GB: Paul Clark, oh was he legendary. Paul had been on the air at WHAS for decades, I guess. I don't really know much of his background, his history beyond WHAS, but um, Milton Metz came here what in the forties?

JF: Forty-six.

GB: Uh, I think Paul Clark was probably there when Milton Metz came there.

JF: Wow, and this is 1969.

GB: It was 1969. Paul was not a news man. He was the chief announcer, but in 11:00those days announcers read the news.

JF: So, he was the news writer, did not go on and report the news.

GB: Not, not in in uh time periods where people could really hear you. (both laugh) Um, I went to work at like 3:30 in the morning, and uh, I did have a newscast that I could broadcast, I could read, if you will, at 4:00, 4:30, and 5:00. And then as I recall Paul came in and took over. And you know one the things that so impressed me, Jack, I'll never forget it. The first morning I read that 4:00 newscast I came back into the news room the phone was ringing. And I answered it; it was somebody from San Francisco who had just heard that newscast and was asking a question about it.

JF: Oh my God.

GB: San Francisco.


JF: California, wow.

GB: That's what I---

JF: Does it bring goose bumps on you?

GB: Here's this young kid um out of a small town, and he just went on the air, and read a newscast that was heard 2,000 miles away.

JF: Wow. He took the time to call you then.

GB: And took the time to call me. I found out later on as time progressed, and I got more involved that San Francisco was just in those days a close town of people who were listening. They were listening in Hawaii. I got an air check from Sweden once, and air check, meaning somebody has actually recorded uh something and sent it to us from Sweden. Unfortunately, the youngsters in today's business um might fine that amazing because there now are so many radio signals that doesn't happen anymore.

JF: That's right. Clear Channel would be 840, Clear Channel.

GB: Clear Channel really isn't Clear Channel.

JF: Not anymore, no.


GB: No. And not only are there other stations on the frequency now, but there are so many signals in the air that they jumble; they don't go as far as they used to. I recall the head of the Civil Defense in Louisville at the time, this is uh, somewhere around the time of the tornadoes, telling me that he continually listened when he was stationed in Hawaii---

JF: Wow.

GB: ---to WHAS. I don't think that could happen today.

JF: Yeah, yeah.

GB: But, none the less for the first six months or so um maybe a little longer than that I was primarily a news writer for for Paul Clark.

JF: Who were the other news people, do you remember, who were reading what you wrote. Paul, you'd write for Paul. Anybody else you remember?

GB: Not that I recall. I do not at the moment recall who did the afternoon. Of course by the time the afternoon came I was home asleep.

JF: Sure, sure.

GB: But, Paul was one of those individuals you just couldn't forget him. He was 14:00such a sweet guy, but had such a marvelous voice.

JF: Hm, diction very precise.

GB: And he would take he would come in and get the copy that I had written, and he would go through it, and he would underline certain words, and I only, in the years I worked with him, which I guess over the span of time I worked with him for about three years, I only saw him on air get frustrated or stumble one time. I had written the word "retirement," and they the typewriter, on me, the typewriter put the "t's" where the "r's" should have been, and the "r's" where the "t's" should have been. And Paul did not catch that before he went on the air. And he hit that word, and he was he was completely bumpuzzled. He didn't 15:00know what to do.

JF: Wow.

GB: But, that was only momentary. I don't think the audience probably knew it, you know, that he was a bit um, bit tongue-tied and went on.

JF: Did you tell me that when we were talking before that Paul as chief announcer uh, (phone call interrupted interview). We're okay. All right we're back here rolling, again, talking about writing newscast for the legendary Paul Clark. I was going to ask you also that you said that he, uh, he assigned all the announcers---

GB: He was he was the chief announcer---

JF: ---and the announcers read that news or were they specific announcers that read the news or were they---

GB: ---specific announcers.

JF: ---they weren't---

GB: Yes.

JF: ---not everybody read the news.

GB: Not everybody read the news. Um, but in those days, Jack, we were still doing the the station was still doing um live musical broadcasts. They were still musicians on staff.

JF: Oh really?

GB: Now this is the very tail end of that period.

JF: It transferred from the Courier Journal.

GB: Right. There had never been, I don't think at that point, there had never 16:00been a period of the day that was referred to as for example the Jack Fox Show. Uh, rather they all had names such as, I can't remember any of the specifics, but Morning Jubilee.

JF: Like Wax Works.

GB: Yes.

JF: That kind of thing.

GB: Yes, yes, yes. Um, and um that the job that um that Paul had involved with radio and television, television still did a lot of live stuff, and an announcer would be assigned to be in the booth and give the station identification at the top of the hour or the bottom of the hour, which was live., all live.

JF: Part of the main shift.

GB: And uh Foster Brooks um not Foster---


JF: Tom Brooks?

GB: ---Tom Brooks. Tom Brooks was (laughs) oh, he he had he was an announcer. He was considered a staff announcer, although he did the side kick on the tv show---

JF: Randy Atcher.

GB: ---Randy Atcher, and they both did radio and television as well. But, uh, I can still remember him giving him a television station break---This is WHAS 8:30.

JF: (laughs) He was Bill Cactus.

GB: He was Bill Bill Cactus, right. Um he always was Cactus.

JF: Right.

GB: He never really changed. My position at the station um had something to do with uh the positions I eventually took had had a lot to do with what was happening in other locations of the station as you might as expect. And they 18:00created on television a broadcast called Omelet which Milton Metz and Faith Lyles did. Milton had been the weather man on tv, an announcer assigned to do the weather.

JF: Wow.

GB: And they had to have a replacement for Milton or replacements, if you will, for Milton, um and they started looking around for somebody who had some experience, if you will, um and doing that function, and I had been the weather man among other things when I worked tv in Bowling Green. Um and I was had to be the new weather man on the evening news instead of Milton Metz who was moving to the Omelet broadcast. Ray Shelton, another announcer, was tapped to do the 19:00weather at 11:00 at night. Wayne Perkey, another announcer, was scheduled to do the news, the weather at noon. People used to confuse; they said that Wayne and I looked alike.

JF: (laughs)

GB: I I I think that was a compliment to Wayne, but I they would confuse who was doing the news, and sometimes I would fill in for Wayne if he was unavailable. You know Wayne was Wayne was um very instrumental in the success of WHAS Radio, in that he, and I'm not sure he had this in his mind, but he set out to become Mr. Louisville, Mr. Louisville Radio, if you will. And Wayne got involved in so many community events and functions, um, that, I don't know how many hours he spent outside the station---


JF: He continued that for almost thirty years or so.

GB: ---yes, yes, which was very beneficial to the station. But, uh---

JF: Wayne was Wayne was pretty new at this point, too, wasn't he, wasn't he? Didn't he start out about the same time you did?

GB: ---actually, I think we started the same month.

JF: Is that right?

GB: Um, and late fall of '69, September, October, somewhere along there. Um the weather function for me lasted for about three years.

JF: When did this start, the weather---

GB: Oh, it started about the first of 1970---

JF: Oh, so pretty early.

GB: ---somewhere along there. Maybe it only lasted two years. I don't recall specifically, but during I continuing to do radio, also.

JF: Writing or doing announcing?

GB: Now, I moved into doing both writing and---

JF: Delivering.

GB: ---delivering, yes. Um, there had been there had been a lot of um I guess executive reasoning on what to do with radio, and the decision was made to actually give radio its own identity. And a fellow who was an absolute genius, 21:00I'm sure you've heard of before named Hugh Barr, had been brought in and had been given a lot of authority over radio. Not complete control. That was still was on the second floor where the where the television station was headquarter if you will. But, none the less he was given a lot of freedom to uh, to bring what had become a pretty stodgy signal from let's say the 1950's or the 1940's into the 1970's.

JF: They were still operating like they had back then, yeah.

GB: Absolutely.


JF: Do you remember who the head honcho over it all was at that time. Was it was Ed Shadburne in there by then.

GB: Not yet.

JF: Okay.

GB: Not yet. Um, Sholis was still there.

JF: Okay.

GB: Uh, and uh, there were a couple of other old-line guys. I think there was still, and this is true conjecture on my part, I think there was quite a bit of direction from uh down at 6th and Broadway, the Courier Journal building.

JF: Um hum.

GB: The Binghams the Binghams had um a lot of standards that they wanted met. Um standards that today people in the industry would have a hard time just imagining, but they were striving for quality. Without doubt they were striving for quality. Someone wrote a book once, in which they stated that Louisville would have been Nashville if the Binghams had allowed WHAS to be programmed like WSM was programmed.


JF: Really.

GB: WSM, of course, was programmed with country music, with Blue Grass music, with uh, a lot of almost amateurish talent of those days, and they the book was written, as I recall, by a a college professor down in Tennessee, but he stated in there that Louisville would have been the Nashville of the world had the WHAS signal been allowed to be programmed that way in that fashion. Now if you stop and think about it, the stars of those days came from Kentucky, primarily.

JF: True.

GB: Uh, and uh one of the interesting connections to WHAS in the country music field, if you will, Randy Atcher. Randy's brother, Bob, and his wife, who went 24:00by the stage name Bonnie Blue Eyes, had the first hit recording in 1940, You Are My Sunshine.

JF: Really.

GB: Sold over a million copies. Randy played the mandolin on the recording.

JF: I did not ever know that.

GB: But, they wound up going to Chicago to perform.

(Background noise)

JF: We're closing doors here so we can set our little conversation. We are doing well.

GB: But, that's um, that's a bit of unsubstantiated history except for the fact that You Are My Sunshine did sell make a million copies. Uh, and there was a degree of country music uh involved with WHAS, but not much if you look at the history of it.


JF: It is ironic that eventually their FM station, which was a classical music, became a power house country music station.

GB: Yes, indeed. There were other um, you know, names that came through WHAS. Dale Evans was an employee at WHAS, a staff singer back in the uh, early days, but none the less, the Binghams had standards that um particularly in the news area, where I became fully involved, were very high. They they demanded rightfully so a quality product. But, I'm off track a little bit.

JF: That's good. I want to hear that.

GB: In the early 70's Hugh Barr was brought in to to give radio a new direction and to update it, if you will. Um, and the guy, as I said earlier, I think was a 26:00genius of his day. He had a feel for what the listener wanted, when they wanted it.

JF: Did you recognize that when you first began to work know him, or did you recognize it.

GB: No, I think Jack that those of us who were on staff at the time, Jerry David Melloy, maybe I should phrase that those of us who were young Turks---

JF: Yeah, you recognized that change needed to happen.

GB: ---we knew change needed to happen. And I think we got very excited that the station was going to move forward and that we had somebody who was quite capable.

JF: A little cadre was kind of forming, wasn't it? You and Jerry David Melloy and Wayne Perkey I guess was in there.

GB: Wayne Perkey.

JF: Who else was there? Who else came in there?

GB: Um---

JF: Or Hugh began to bring people in there.

GB: Right. Hugh Hugh started bringing people in---

JF: But, Jerry brought in another announcer at that time.

GB: He was. He was. And as I recall he was the first to be allowed to have a 27:00certain section that they set aside that was the Jerry David Melloy Show.

JF: Is that right?

GB: Uh, it that that was that was the break with the old standard if you will. Uh, but the decision that was made that radio could have its own news staff rather than all of us being in that one pot and drawing out what was needed the decision was made that radio would indeed have its own staff.

JF: That was a big step there.

GB: It was a huge step, a huge step. And I I my love, although I'd done television here at WHAS and Bowling Green, my love was and still is radio. And 28:00when I heard that I jumped. At the same time television was doing some very forward things, also. And they were looking for an actual educated, certified, meteorologist to do the weather on tv. Um, Channel 3 had brought in Tom Wills, who was a meteorologist, and was establishing himself and his credentials quite well, and um, and television was looking for that same thing.

JF: They were they were reinventing themselves.

GB: They were reinventing themselves. Uh, the broadcast had moved to a half hour and um things were changing there, also. But, Hugh was putting together what looked like something quite exciting to those of us who were involved, and I, uh 29:00I, along with uh I think some of the others such as Wayne, wanted to be a huge part of it. Wayne eventually became the morning man. Um I can't remember the name of the broadcast that he replaced, but uh the gentleman who was the Mr. Crusade---

JF: Jim Walton.

GB: ---Jim Walton.

JF: Jim Walton, yeah. He replaced Jim Walton.

GB: He Jim Walton had been sort of the host of that morning show.

JF: Um hm.

GB: And it went through a it didn't just happen overnight. It went through a couple of things. I think Jerry David Melloy was originally assigned to mornings. And um, Jerry David couldn't live that getting up life style.

JF: (laughs)

GB: Turned out Perkey couldn't either.

JF: (laughs)

GB: Wayne was Wayne was a tad late on a few occasions, but none the less, I campaigned for, applied for, and became and was named as news director.

JF: What year was this?

GB: This was '72, I guess. Um, and was given, uh, given responsibility for 30:00putting a staff together, for developing um a team that could accomplish what Hugh had envisioned.

JF: Were you reporting to Hugh at this time now, or was it still up stairs to Bob Morris or---

GB: Well, Bob was still downstairs. He was still---

JF: ---he was still news director.

GB: ---he was still the news director. And I had dual reporting lines.

JF: Okay.

GB: Uh, in the programming area, if you will, I reported to Hugh. In the journalistic area I reported to Bob.

JF: Okay.

GB: But, both of them sort of set or had guide lines and standards that they set and then stayed out of the way.

JF: They were pretty similar in ideas (??).

GB: Yes, they were.

JF: So what what was your what were your thoughts on assembling this team. What were you how did you what was going through your mind. What was your thought process?


GB: Well, I---

JF: It was different from the Paul Clark's for one thing.

GB: ---it was, and the station had gone through at this period. There was a recession on if you recall, in this period of time, and the station had gone through um, a shaky period from the stand point of personnel, and some of the old line people were asked to retire. Uh, that included Paul Clark. Um it also eventually included uh some others such as Randy Atcher---

JF: Tom Brooks.

GB: ---Tom Brooks and uh---

JF: Ray Shelton, probably.

GB: ---uh, no. Ray Ray stayed on for a little period. He he---

JF: That's right. He was there when I came in.

GB: ---he made, yeah, he made it through that---

JF: Bill Britton was still there, I believe.

GB: Bill Britton uh, interestingly enough um became a member of my news team. He 32:00had been an announcer. Bill had an absolutely marvelous voice and presentation, and he became eventually a member of my news team. Uh, which probably saved Bill's job, if you will. I don't, well, I guess it did, yeah. Um, but none the less things had changed a lot, and I started looking for people who were young, and uh, experienced at the same time, but had an on-air presence that would measure up or at least not detract too much from the presence that Paul Clark had given us. Um one of my greatest finds or greatest hires, if you will, was a guy name Byron Crawford. Byron was working for a Cincinnati station that was 33:00also a fifty-thousand-watt station, um, and he had grown up in Kentucky, had worked at WAKY in Louisville at one point. Um, and wanted to come home. And Byron had a wonderful on-air presence, a great delivery, um maintains it to this day, although he went into newspapers eventually. Uh, but hired Byron Crawford, uh, hired a young man names Chuck Paytk---

JF: Oh yeah, um hum.

GB: ---um, Chuck came I don't exactly recall from where, but from up north somewhere, and a couple of other people, um who complimented them as well. And Jack, in 1974, April 3rd, um the community was absolutely devastated, this state 34:00and area was devastated by a series of tornadoes. We had more tornadoes on that single day than the state normally experienced in a full year. Um, we had deaths, of course, but the damage was just horrendous. Hugh had hired a fellow to do traffic from a helicopter. And we were meeting the competition. WAVE radio already had one, uh but Hugh had hired a gentleman who had covered traffic from the helicopter in Chicago, who was another somewhat local boy who wanted to come home. And it was Dick Gilbert. Um, the afternoon those tornadoes hit Chuck Paytk was the primary newscaster on duty at the time, but I was in the building; Byron Crawford was in the building; um Robin Hughes, who was on staff at the time, was in the building. Or no, Robin came to the building. She was not on duty at the 35:00time. She came to the building. Um, on air, the announcer was a guy named Jeff Douglas, um who was a super announcer that Hugh had found and brought in to go along with Wayne and Jerry David in the main day time hours. And Dick Gilbert was flying the helicopter when those tornadoes hit.

JF: Normally doing traffic reports.

GB: Normally doing traffic reports. We had established, we the news people, had established a relationship with the folks at the National Weather Service over the year or half or so that we had been working to put together this news team. We had established a very wonderful working relationship with those people because WHAS was the signal that triggered all of the emergency radios, the 36:00radios that were in schools, hospitals, places such as that. And we would run a tone if there was some emergency such as a weather problem, and that tone would turn on these radios---

JF: To alert people.

GB: ---to alert people. While the weather service was quite well aware that we were the alerting organization at that time. Things have changed a little bit. I think the weather service is doing its own uh, it triggers everybody now, without going through someone else, but when those tornadoes started hitting, we discontinued all regular programming, and in effect, went wall to wall with weather reports. Gilbert picked up one of the tornadoes as it hit and followed across town describing it as he went. But one of the most one the most chilling pieces that I can I still get chillbumps listening to it today. Chuck Paytk was 37:00talking with John Burke, who was the chief meteorologist at the National Weather Service, live on the air as the tornado hit Freedom Hall, and John is reading him wind speed that they're recording in the National Weather Service live on the WHAS---

JF: All the while this is happening.

GB: ---while this is happening, and when the wind speed passed 60, John said, "Oh it just hit 60. I'm getting out of here. Goodbye," and hung up on the air.

JF: Oh my goodness.

GB: And that was a dramatic moment that the listener had to say this is serious. We then picked up Dick Gilbert tracking that storm across the city as it hit Bardstown Road and Eastern Parkway and on across the city. Um, and word got 38:00around-whoa, this radio station, which had been having trouble getting listeners, was on top of things.

JF: It was a very key moment, yeah.

GB: Hugh Barr made the decision that this type programming would continue as long as necessary. Everybody from from the Metz program that was on at night to Barney Arnold's agricultural program that was on morning, continued to concentrate on the problems that had developed the needs that were there to be met. Barney, for example, in the farm show, was trying to find generators for the farmers who needed um to be able to milk the cows.

JF: Wow.

GB: And this type programming continued for several days. And the community the community heard it.

JF: Yeah.

GB: And from that day on the listener curve from WHAS was always up, always up. It was so one of the another one of the great memories, Jack, from that period 39:00of time, sometime during the evening we're continuing to broadcast as tornadoes continued to hit across the state after Louisville was struck, then it moved on across into the eastern parts, and we had also established a very good rapport with the governor's office. The governor at the time was Wendell Ford. His press secretary was a guy named Tommy Preston. Um, and we continued talking throughout the evening with with uh, Tommy and various various officials in Frankfort. And I'm on the air at some point in the evening, early evening, and Jeffrey Douglas Jeffrey Douglas saying Glen, there's a phone call from the Governor's Office. Um he was Jeff was was sort of our engineer for this particular period.


JF: He would have normally been on the disc jockey program.

GB: Yes, yes. Uh, and I said okay, put it on the air, and I picked up the phone, and I said, "Hello Tommy," thinking it was the Tommy Preston, and this gravelly voice said, "No, this is Wendell" ---

JF: (laughs) The governor.

GB: ---yeah, the governor was calling WHAS to give a report on the latest um---

JF: Wow.

GB: ---thing that was happening. Um, that was a defining moment for the station without a doubt. It also, I think, became a defining moment not just for the community, but for the people inside the organization, in that they recognized not only our power but our responsibility. And without question from that point on if the news room asked for the microphone, asked for the air, it was granted.

JF: Sure.

GB: Regardless of who was on what was going on, uh, if we went to the to the 41:00studio and said, "We need the air," we got it. And it was blessed by Hugh Barr who recognized also the importance of the informational flow, and said, "Okay, this is going to happen." Well we had a lot of other things throughout the '70's.

JF: You know, it was interesting. I was going to interject something here. Of course talk radio is very big today, and for a lot of good reasons, but I tell people, we did talk radio then, but if we didn't have something to talk about we put music on. (laughs)

GB: Right, right.

JF: So if there's something to talk about, and it had importance then. Not that it doesn't now, but it was just a different angle.

GB: It did, but throughout the '70's, Jack, there were so many other events that demanded attention that what we established during the tornado simply followed through. School desegregation, a huge huge story in this town that got everybody's attention. The court case, after the court case was decided, but 42:00then implementation, and WHAS radio news was out front on everything. Everything single court decision that the federal courts rendered was broadcast first on WHAS Radio.

JF: Wow. Wow.

GB: Um, the snow storms of '77, '78, and '78, '79 we're talking snow of twenty inches or more.

JF: Shut down the station.

GB: Shut down the city, the state. The Ohio River froze. These were other community events that WHAS, not just the news room, the entire organization of WHAS Radio was out front on, and you the Wayne would come in in the morning and instead of playing records, Wayne would have the phone going and would talk to people who were experiencing the drive into work, and and all this, and we 43:00literally became talk radio in those days, although nobody had defined it, yet.

JF: Right, yeah.

GB: But, throughout those periods that were important to the community, uh, we became we became talk radio.

JF: Wow.

GB: And uh, it was an exciting time to be there.

JF: It was.

GB: Exciting time to be involved in what we were involved in.

JF: You mentioned Byron Crawford, Chuck Paytk, Robin Hughes, remember some other news, Bill Brittain was news reporter.

GB: Well---

JF: He would not have he read---

GB: ---well, I'll give you um, a couple of other little factors. The FM station, which was a full-power FM, known as FM-WHAS, was classical music.


JF: Um hm.

GB: And you don't make money in classical music. Uh---

JF: Up until that point with the Binghams it didn't matter at that point.

GB: With the Binghams it hadn't mattered. That was, again, part of their quality programming for the community. But---

JF: It was changing, wasn't it?

GB: ---as a lot of things changed, uh a lot of factors, I think, and there are over all business structure with organizations such as Standard Gravure, which at one time had been a huge profit center, as I understand it---

JF: It printed um---

GB: ---Sunday supplements or Sunday magazines as they were called for newspapers all over the country, um, and did some other printing as well. But but things were changing in a lot of aspects of their their overall corporate structure. And the decision was made to drop um, the the classical music format from the FM-WHAS signal. What would the Binghams would accept as a programming alternative?

JF: Country music, of course.

GB: No---

JF: (laughs) No, I know. Right. (laughs)

GB: ---they wouldn't. At that point they wouldn't.


JF: (laughs) Right.

GB: But, at the same time this decision um what to do with FM-WHAS was being made, NBC started an all-news network on the radio. Their intent was to broadcast news for twenty minutes every half hour or something of that sort, and then the local station would have a period of time for news. Binghams accepted the idea of FM-WHAS becoming an all-news operation.

JF: Right up their alley, yeah.

GB: Right up their alley. The call letters were changed to WNNS, uh, was Hugh Barr's decision, and it stood for News 97. They were 97 on the dial, on the FM dial, and WNNS became News 97. Um interestingly while this was happening the 46:00this was all happening during the same time of the busing decisions and implementations. And it was a wonderful opportunity for us in the news room to be able to have continuous a continuous flow of information---

JF: Sure.

GB: ---uh on News 97. But we had to staff up. We had to staff up. We had to we had to um attract triple the radio news staff to operate this 24/7, uh uh---

JF: Had to be fed, yeah.

GB: ---yeah, had to be fed. And that's when Bill Brittain became part of our news staff. Bill was, not only did he read, he wrote, also.

JF: I remember that.

GB: He performed as a regular news man. And they had, I think Bill had had some 47:00journalistic experience in his background, but he became, along with uh some other people such as Ron Gruneisen, who eventually came back to the staff in another function and had changed his on-air name to Ron Notard. But, he had a big, deep voice. We, uh Mark Pheiffer had joined the staff. Mark uh is now in charge of abandoned property in Kentucky. Uh, we had uh, Dave Siler, who was a wonderful reporter, uh, Fran Severn Fran Severn came over from she'd been working at Channel 32, and she---

JF: Was she one of the first---no Robin was there already, uh female (??). Was that a fairly new departure when you started having women---


GB: Absolutely---

JF: ---yeah, right.

GB: --absolutely. Up until that point one of the few female voices on air was Phyllis Knight.

JF: Oh, yes.

GB: And Phyllis eventually worked in the news room, also. She was---

JF: On radio on radio or television?

GB: ---on radio. Actually she did both. She she eventually worked in in the news room and was a pretty solid journalist. But, Phyllis was something like Metz in that her forte was asking questions, or talking to people and getting information out of them, if you will. Metz, you may not may or may or not know is in the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.

JF: I did not know that.

GB: I'm proud to say that I am also, but Milton was a very early inductee into that for the years and years he spent on Juniper 5---

JF: A call in type---

GB: ---yeah, it became Metz here.


JF: ---yeah.

GB: ---in later years. Um Van Vance is also a member of that journalism hall of fame. Van his his sports reporting throughout the years, which is exceptional---

JF: Sure.

GB: ---um, but we turned the FM signal into an all-news operation. Uh, eventually NBC efforts failed at running an all-news radio operation, and we were losing much of our content. We replaced quite a bit of the content with un some other network offerings that we could achieve if we could get from the Mutual Broadcasting System at the time which had been a pioneer radio network from CBS and some other outlets, but it was virtually impossible for us to 50:00replace that amount of information, and it wasn't news as NBC had been doing it; it was more featurettes, featurettes and things of that sort. And they had we had to make some tough decisions on what happens to the all-new signal. Uh it was not making money. It was losing a considerable amount of money because all news is basically people. You've got to have people to staff that, and that is your most expensive element. Um, and eventually the decision was accepted by the Binghams to change to the country music format. Uh, and the call letters were changed to a um, I can't remember right now, Jack---


GB: WAMZ, which Hugh defined, another Hugh Barr decision, as standing for American's Music.

JF: Huh.


JF: I bet.

GB: And no one has ever come up with what WHAS stood for. Uh that's been 51:00debated, been discussed, no one ever came up with what WHAS stood for. I guess the Crusade version of WE HAVE ALL Shared is probably one of the best that we could say, but as far as an actual definition but, WNNS did have something it was based on something, and WAMZ was based on something.

JF: And those were Hugh Barr creations.

GB: Those were Hugh Barr creations. Hugh, unfortunately, in the late '70's, unfortunately for us, not for Hugh, got an offer from another organization that he couldn't refuse, and he moved on to, I think it was Syracuse, New York. Un, and eventually wound up in San Antonio, Texas, where he is now retired. I don't know if you know or not, but he did lose his wife a year or so ago.

JF: No, I didn't know that.

GB: Um, she had been in poor health for some time. Um, I haven't talked to him 52:00personally in a year or so. We do share an email occasionally. Um, and when we had a wonderful reunion of some other staff from the '70's, um we had great hopes he would come, but because of his wife's health at the time he couldn't. But, we did at my house.

JF: Yes, I know. I have pictures from that. Great time.

GB: Get together uh, fifty or so of us, who had been involved in WHAS radio through the '70's. Some individuals you talked about earlier, what happened to some of the individuals I worked with in Somerset; think of what happened to some of the individuals that came out of WHAS. Ed Tonini, who was on our sales staff, is Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky today.


JF: Wow.

GB: People such as, oh, the young man who was youngest announcer ever hired, and his name escapes me---

JF: Bill Cody.

GB: ---Bill Cody---

JF: Yes.

GB: ---is uh the star of Nashville radio today.

JF: WSM, yeah.

GB: WSM. Um, John Chumway, who was on my staff at WHAS radio. John, when I had this opening that I hired him for, sent me a telegram, and the telegram said something to the effect of for the opening you have I am your man Stop.

JF: (laughs)

GB: And I was so---

JF: It got your attention.

GB: ---it got my attention, and I called him up. He was working in Lexington, and I called him up, and I said, "You got my attention. Come talk to me." He did. I hired him. He is now the morning man at KDKA Pittsburg.


JF: I did not know that.

GB: Some of the people who who came out of that staff have gone on to some really wonderful positions. And uh, the one I hold is not bad.

JF: What are you doing today?

GB: Well, they call me Senior Ambassador because we adopt titles here, but I'm in effect running the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.

JF: Ancient, long, long standing honor in Kentucky.

GB: It is, indeed.

JF: In fact we are sitting in the conference room of your office is right here.

GB: And one of the one of the marvelous things about the Honorable Order of the Kentucky Colonels, Jack, we have members in every state of the Union, each Canadian province. In fact, in sixty-two countries of the world.

JF: Wow.

GB: And my experience at WHAS probably, well not probably, did lend itself to 55:00the work I do here, and the knowledge I gained of Kentucky and the people of Kentucky.

JF: Well, another part of that was the Pondering Kentucky series you did. Talk about that a minute.

GB: Well, the Pondering Kentucky series was was uh an absolutely wonderful series I did for about twelve years. And then I roamed around Kentucky looking for stories involving people and facts about our state that were little known. It was somewhat on the radio of what Byron Crawford wound up doing in the newspaper. Uh, he told me once that his mail man would stop each day and say did you hear what Glen did today?

JF: (laughs)

GB: And I, of course, was always looking at Byron's column to see what Byron had done today. One of the things we attempted to do in news at WHAS radio, was report events that affected people. We didn't pay that much attention to city 56:00hall. Now city hall occasionally made news because they tax us and etc. etc. But, one of the stories that stick to my mind, I think it was assigned to a young lady named Melanie Roberts, Melanie Roberts Smith, who had been on the FM news staff, but moved over to AM when we stopped the effort on FM. Uh, one of the she was a Louisville native, and I assigned her to do one of the tours of Louisville. You know the bus tours?

JF: Yeah, hm uh.

GB: Get on the tour and go see---

JF: Interesting, yeah.

GB: ---what they're showing the tourists, and see what surprises you as a Louisville native. As I recall she was a little bit reluctant, uh, "But oh I don't want to waste my time," but came back raving about the things she learned about her home town.


JF: Really.

GB: And we aired a series of reports on her trip around town, and the things that she discovered. Um we tried to do some things in radio news, and it was successful, that wasn't being done, and the same thing was happened with my Pondering Kentucky series. In school, um, you're not a native of Kentucky are you?

JF: Not, I've been around it a lot.

GB: I know you've been here since the early '70's, but in high school, grade school, high school---

JF: I went to grade school a little bit in western Kentucky.

GB: ---yeah. We were taught political and military history. We weren't taught people history. We weren't told that a Kentucky native invented the three color traffic signal. We weren't told that a Kentucky native invented flavored chewing 58:00gum. We weren't on and on and on you can go with these wonderful stories about Kentucky. All the way to the point that uh during Prohibition what is now known as Land as Between the Lakes, and was then known as Land Betwix the Rivers, supplied a tremendous amount of moon shine that was consumed in the speak easies up north. That that there's a lot there were a lot of wonderful people in history, and that's what I tempted to do, and I think I pretty much pulled off with Pondering Kentucky.

JF: Yeah, yeah. We talked before our interview there may be a book coming out of that.

GB: Well, it's something to think about.

JF: (laughs) Very good.

GB: Let add another fact, too, Jack, and compliment Jack Fox and the other wonderful announcers who were brought in to WHAS. One of the things that Hugh attempted to do was raise not the announcing quality, because the quality of the announcers we had, they had, in the old days, was absolutely marvelous. I mean---

JV: Those wonderful voices and tones, and enunciation, yeah.


GB: ---but what I think Hugh tried to do was to bring in people who were going to get more involved in the community itself. As I said earlier, Wayne was trying to become Mr. Louisville.

GB: Well, I don't know that he was doing that intentionally, but it benefited that station greatly. And bringing in people such as yourself and of course, Gary Burbank. (laughs)

JF: Yeah.

GB: (laughs)

JF: Yeah.

GB: Uh, did you have the unfortunate duty of following Gary when he left the station for a period of time?

JF: No, no that wasn't me. I was---

GB: That wasn't you?

JF: ---yeah.

GB: But, um---

JF: But I forget who that would have been. It wasn't me.

GB: Well, I---

JF: I was there when Gary came---

GB: ---okay---

JF: ---and uh (??)

GB: ---but there was a there was a period of time between when Gary left and uh Terry Meiners was brought in, and to be sandwiched between those two. (laughs)

JF: Unbelievable, yeah, yeah. I'm glad I wasn't there during this time. (laughs)

GB: Well, none the less he tried to bring in people who would get involved with the community, who would spark the imagination of the community, and he succeeded.


JF: Yeah.

GB: I mean he brought in Jack Fox; he brought in Gary Burbank, uh, Steve George---

JF: Yeah.

GB: ---uh, one the things I'll never forget was when uh, and and this was this was something that's in my mind, has nothing to do with the history of WHAS radio, but I was reading at the time the announcement of Elvis Presley's death. I was doing what we called the broadcast of record, which was the news from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. It was a holdover from the old days if you will, but we still did that half hour news cast in the afternoons as people were getting in their cars to go home. And the news room had someone from the news room handed me the Associated Press bulletin that Elvis Presley had died.


JF: Wow.

GB: And while I had an actuality on or something I glanced at that and I said this can't be true. Check this out. Handed it back to him. They brought it back to me a couple of minutes later. It's true. And I made the announcement during the 5:00 broadcast, which Gary Burbank named the broadcast of record, and it stuck, and became a serious a serious nomenclature for it, but then Steve George came in. Steve was an absolute expert---

JF: On Elvis.

GB: ---on Elvis Presley.

JF: Wow.

GB: And he did that show that night with all his information on uh. We just had a staff that was just from one end to the other. The announcers to the news people the that were just uh---

JF: It was.

GB: Wow, they were great.

JF: It was. It was a unit. In fact, I want to branch over a little bit. A part of that was the sales staff. The news you know, you wouldn't particularly get involved, but that also had some bearing on some of the things we did, too. Do 62:00you remember any of the sales people there?

GB: Oh sure. Uh---

JF: There was Jim Topmiller was---

GB: ---Jim Topmiller was the sales director.

JF: The people, the same type thing. They were part of the community. They were recognized and---

GB: --well, it was ---

JF: ---and they were there for a long time.

GB: --well, as I mentioned Ed Tonini is now head of the Kentucky National Guard, both the air guard the regular guard. Ed was a young salesman; he was I think I was twenty-three when I went to work there. And I think Ed is about my age, about the same, and he had started in the sales department about the same time. Bob Scherer, who eventually became um manager of the Clear Channel properties in Louisville, once Clear Channel bought all the radio stations in Louisville, probably half of them.

JF: Jerry Soloman was probably there.

GB: Jerry Soloman was. Oh, I can't remember-Curt Smith.


JF: Yeah, um hm. Was Jane Vance in there by that time?

GB: Jane Vance came during the all-news days of FM.

JF: Really?

GB: She came to work for---

JF: That's right. She was FM.

GB: ---yeah, she sold the she was a salesman for the all-news.

JF: But they were all---

GB: Now a young man named Mike---

JF: Crusham.

GB: ---yeah, Crusham, he was part of the FM, he was the sales director for the---

JF: Yeah, I forgot about that. he eventually became later uh became---

GB: ---and the general manager of Mid-west-something.

JF: ---he was manager of HAS for a little while, yeah.

GB: ---was he? Yeah.

GB: ---yeah. Wow. It was it was a staff that would they have a good staff at WHAS today, I am sure. I know a couple of the guys in the news room, uh, the lady who is doing the afternoon news now is I think is a wonderful on air news person. Uh, I can't remember her name. I can't remember her name. It is Susan uh 64:00something I think.

JF: Um hm.

GB: I'm sure they have a great staff there now, too, but broadcasting is such a different world today.

JF: It is, uh hum.

GB: Um---

JF: Although you know if you think about it, uh, what we were doing in the '70's that was different from what was going on before, and that was high quality before. It just had to be redefined, again. Things change.

GB: --even during the '70's the equipment we were using was changing dramatically.

JG: Sure.

GB: I remember the tv guys would use these little 16 millimeter cameras that just took silent film. And the film, we have film lab down the stairs that they would take the film down and had to be developed and then had to be cut and edited. And it was done with a razor blade. What in radio we did much the same 65:00thing. We'd do an interview or put together a program, and it would be recorded on tape, and you'd take a razor blade and edit the tape, and uh---

JF: Keep the parts you wanted.

GB: People who don't understand or don't know what I am talking about, but you would actually take out certain sections of the tape, and then put the two pieces left together, again.

JF: A little scotch tape.

GB: A special scotch tape.

JF: Well, yeah.

GB: It was a special broadcasting tape that um. One of the things I think you said you talked to Charlie Strickland.

JF: Yes, the engineer.

GB: Charlie was uh head of radio engineering for a period of time. And I had heard about these wonderful pieces of equipment called Martis. Martis were used primarily to transmit-it was a radio signal, but they were used primarily to transmit a radio signal from the studio to the broadcast tower. And it sounded as if you were. You can tell is somebody's on the phone.

JF: Yeah.

GB: But, this was pure---

JF: To a microphone, a regular microphone?

GB: ---studio sound, a regular microphone. And I went to Charlie, and I said, "Charlie, can we make these mobile?"


He said, "I don't know."

But, he dug into it. We wound up putting an antenna on top of the First National Tower in downtown Louisville. And in the trunk of the news cars we installed these devices called Martis so that our news people could go to a fire or to a scene of some event, and broadcast live like it was in the studio.

JF: Yeah, big step, big step.

GB: We called it the live mike, WHAS LIVE Mike.

JF: How about that. Wow.

GB: Now at the same time the television people were beginning to discover 67:00mini-cams and being able to record on video tape, but they didn't have the ability yet to send the signal back to the station and do it live. They still had to record it and bring it back to the station, edit it and put it on the air. But, we were doing things live.

JF: Wow.

GB: From and then the Marti devised a portable one that could be carried. It wasn't as powerful as the ones we had in the vehicles, but our news people could carry those on the street.

JF: Wow. And make it yeah, they could broadcast back and---

GB: Broadcast back and you could put it on the air, and it sounded live, and I remember one time Dave Siler was at an event, and it was, there were sirens going on and all kinds of things, and he said to us, before we put him on the air, "Wait a minute I got to roll up the windows so you won't hear all these sirens." And I said, "No, Dave, roll 'em all down. We want to hear those sirens."

JF: (laughs)

GB: But we couldn't take people live to wherever events were.

JF: Big innovation.

GB: Big innovation.

JF: Yeah, very good. So how long were you at WHAS. Glen when was your when was your---


GB: I left in early 1980, Jack.

JF: ---1980, okay.

GB: Yeah.

JF: So 1969 to 1980.

GB: Yeah.

JF: Some momentous things happened during that time.

GB: Oh, it was uh---

JF: You were a big influence on that---

GB: ---it was momentous in a lot of instances, not only what was happening inside the station but what was happening outside the station that allowed us in some respects to make many of the gains we were making with the station. And as I recall, Jack, and you may need to check me, as I recall in the early '70's when Hugh arrived and started the change the best rating the station had was like eighth in the market, meaning there were seven other radio stations that had a whole lot more listeners than we had.

JF: Yeah, and that was for a fifty-watt radio station, that was unbelievable.


GB: Yeah.

JF: And people listened to it around that state.

GB: Yeah, yeah. When we finished at the end of the '70's there wasn't a single station with more listeners than we had.

JF: Isn't that amazing?

GB: Yeah, it is amazing. And I think that's a credit to Hugh's leadership.

JF: Yeah, because he put a staff together.

GB: He put a staff together that was talented, um, that had imagination.

JF: And was interested in that kind of (??). It all worked together, all the pieces fit together.

GB: All the pieces fit together. And everybody I think recognized what the other side of the building or the other departments of the station were attempting to do, and respected it and lent their---

JF: Yeah, that's what I was getting at with the sales staff. All those ingredients, and they recognized that the overall picture what was trying to be achieved down there.

GB: ---yeah, everybody from the sales staff through the announcing staff to the traffic staff, the support staff---

JF: Everybody bought in---

GB: ---to the news room. Everybody bought in to it.

JF: ---and again, I think that goes back to Hugh Barr's initial direction and influence.


GB: Absolutely.

JF: He found good people, and let them do- gave them direction but let them do their thing.

GB: Hum un.

JF: Well, it's been a pleasure to talk with you. It has been great to stir up some old memories, and we'll have to get out on the golf course now, when the weather breaks up a little bit and see what we can do.

GB: Well, Jack, I went down a moment ago to fill up my coffee cup, and I asked the girls did you feel like you were at the airport. Um, Jack Fox, of course, this will never make the uh HAS part, but is the voice every voice of every airport in the country, I think.

JF: I am notorious for that.

GB: And uh---

JF: Moving sidewalk.

GB: ---that is but that is another factor but that is another factor that we were talking earlier about where people are today who were with WHAS at that period. Well, Jack Fox is in every airport in the country.


JF: Can't get away from it.

GB: You've had you've had a wonderful after career---

JF: Yeah

GB: ---as have so many other people.

JF: Yeah, it's been great.

JF: Well, thanks Glen. Good luck to you in your future endeavors.

GB: Thanks.