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Jack Fox: All right. It is January 30, 2013, and I'm sitting with LB. Larry, you were associated with WHAS Radio and Television, or basically Radio?

Larry Baysinger: Briefly television. I spent most of my career in the AM and FM radio.

JF : And that big career began at WHAS in?

LB: 1964.

JF : You were a young lad and ready to roll.

LB: Ah, yeah.

JF : Well, how did you come to that point? Let's talk about that for just a minute. Were you always interested in electronics or when had that happened?

LB: Well it's a sad tale of woe and I'll lead you right through it. As a kid, I was more or less home bound most of the time. I was kind of a sickly youth and I'm a product of the radio generation. Radio was our entertainment.


JF : Tell me about that. You grew up listening to the radio?

LB: Yeah, absolutely.

JF : Television was there, but not ... well not [crosstalk].

LB: Television was just coming in.

JF : Yeah. This was in the early 50s.

LB: Yeah, and I grew up listening to the radio dramas was the big thing for me. I always enjoyed those. In fact, that's what led me into broadcasting, in general. I wanted to be a sound effects man.

JF : Ahh.

LB: Because I was fascinated by all the sound effects.

JF : The inner sanctums.

LB: Yeah, all these wonderful shows. I spent most of my youth listening and trying to figure out how all of these things were done in order to sound authentic when broadcast on the radio. I went to Ahrens Technical Trade School.

JF : Here in Louisville.

LB: Here in Louisville.

JF : Grew up in Louisville.

LB: And got into radio and television servicing because that was the big 2:00industry of the time, repairing TVs.

JF : Oh yeah.

LB: You were pretty much guaranteed a reasonably good income doing that. As a result of that, I also got my ham radio license.

JF : What age did you get your ham radio license?

LB: I think I was probably 14, 13 or 14 when I got my ham radio license.

JF : You remember the first time you went on the air with the ham radio?

LB: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

JF : And who you talked to her, where are they were, anything? Was that [inaudible] or was it [crosstalk]?

LB: Yeah. It was about four blocks away from [crosstalk], in fact.

JF : Did that surprise you or were you looking for somebody on the other side of the world?

LB: No, it was another of my high school buddies.

JF : Oh, okay.

LB: He had just gotten his license as well, so that was our big communications. Then probably shortly thereafter, I ended up talking to some people in Europe because this was in probably about '56 or '57, and at that time, the sunspot 3:00cycle was at its greatest for that period of time and propagation conditions were terrific. You could span the world with very low power. It got to be a real challenge to see how many countries that you can reach with low power. Of course, we were doing Morse code, CW.

JF : Oh.

LB: Voice transmission can't hold a candle to code transmission as far as distance is concerned, depending on conditions.

JF : Because of signal?

LB: Yeah. To me, that was the big thrill of ham radio was pursuing all of these foreign countries.

JF : How many you reached. I'm sure you kept a record of that, didn't you?

LB: I think I probably had, when I finally got out of that particular phase of it, I had probably reached 40, 45 countries, I think.

JF : Wow. We'll talk a little later about, I don't know if that had an influence, but I know you went to several Latin American or South American 4:00countries and helped put up radio stations-

LB: Yeah, sure did.

JF : ... that had an influence on it probably, colored it some.

LB: That was another fun period.

JF : We'll talk about that a little later today.

LB: Alrighty. Anyway, my interest was sparked by listening to radio and listening to the radio dramas.

JF : Favorite shows? You remember favorite [crosstalk]?

LB: Oh golly. Inner Sanctum was always a big one.

JF : Well speaking of sound effects, yeah.

LB: Oh yeah, because the-

JF : Door opened, a creaking door.

LB: Yeah, that thing was rife with gunshots and screams.

JF : Were you ever around a studio where they did that? Did you ever watch them do that?

LB: No. Not until I went to work for WHAS.

JF : Really?

LB: Yeah, which was kind of strange. Now most of the radio dramas at that time was being carried by the CBS Radio Network, and WHAS was the CBS O&O here in the ... Well, they weren't owned by them, but they were the key station for them.

JF : Affiliate, yeah. Affiliate. 50,000 watt station.

LB: 50,000 watt station. So growing up through my teen years and early 20s, I listened to WHAS all the time coming and going to school and the whole thing and 5:00never dreaming that I would ever actually pursue a career in radio.

JF : Oh, that was not [inaudible]?

LB: No, I wanted to be in radio and I wanted to be in the sound effects end of it, but I figured you'd had to go to New York, or you had to go to L.A. or someplace like that, where the networks originated all this stuff. Being somewhat strapped for cash most of the time, I didn't see that happening right away. I was not going to do that. So I ended up, my interest in ham radio, more than anything else, getting into broadcast engineering in order to work on some big transmitters instead of the little toy transmitters that we were playing with.

JF : Did you build toy transmit-


LB: Oh sure.

JF : ... I mean not toy, but I mean you built your transmitters and your sets and all that.

LB: That was another interesting thing too, because during the 50s, there was an awful lot of military surplus radio equipment available.

JF : From World War II?

LB: Yeah.

JF : Korean War.

LB: Almost ... and the Korean stuff was available too. The Lexington, Kentucky Signal Depot was charged with reconditioning a lot of military equipment, and that which wasn't economically re-buildable, they would periodically sell off at auction and they would have, I think, about twice yearly auction at Lexington. Actually over at Richmond, I think, is where the warehouse was for this. Several of us teenage ham aspiring engineers would band together and pool our resources and buy enough gasoline to go down there and spend a Saturday and buy up everything we could find in the way of surplus equipment and then bring it home and carefully dissect hoping to revive some of it, and if it wasn't revivable, 7:00at least get a really good accumulation of parts from which you could build something else.

JF : Sure.

LB: My early ham radio stations were built entirely from military surplus.

JF : How about that?

LB: Which was a lot of fun. My very first receiver was actually an aircraft radio receiver from a series called the ARC-5 series, Aircraft Radio Corporation Series 5

JF : Oh yeah. Sure.

LB: These were little compact units that plugged into a framework, and most of the bigger aircraft would carry three or four of these units, three or four receivers, three or four or five transmitters, and they all plugged into racks and they were all powered by the aircraft's DC power supply systems. It was 8:00really fascinating. I tried to collect the whole series. I think finally after a number of years, I got a sample of each of the radios in the series, but as I say, the first receiver I used for ham radio purposes was one of the ARC-5 military receivers.

The first transmitter, I never got one of the military transmitters working. I had enough scrapped out parts that I could build a transmitter from, and that was the first one. Along about that time Heath Kit.

JF : Oh yes.

LB: The saver of many a project, Heath Kit came out with a couple of amateur radio, ham radio units, one of which was a little ... I think it was rated as a 20 or 25 watt transmitter. It was called the AT1.

JF : AT1.

LB: Amateur Transmitter Number 1.

JF : Got it right down to the basics.

LB: I think it was like $29.95 in kit form, and they later became known as 9:00Benton Harbor Wonder Boxes because they were made in Benton Harbor, Michigan, or at least that's where Heath Kit was at the time. That was my second transmitter, and I stayed with that thing for a number of years. It was a very serviceable, very reliable. Then later on, when I got the urge to actually be heard and talk, I built an AM transmitter. As I recall, I think it was about 100 Watts or maybe 150 watts.

JF : What age were you then when you did that?

LB: Probably 16, 17, somewhere along in there. I stayed with that for years and years and years as well. My ham radio career has kind of convoluted because I would get active for a period of time and go at it hot and heavy and then get interested in music or something else, and it would kind of go by the wayside for a while, but I always came back to it. Always came back to it.


JF : That was your basic then.

LB: Yeah, and I figured that was probably my best training ground of all was ham radio because you learn by doing. It's not something out of a book. It's not a theory. You learn how to do it, and then you read up on [crosstalk].

JF : [crosstalk].

LB: Yeah.

JF : [crosstalk] that works.

LB: [crosstalk]. Exactly. That was fun. That was the fun part of it.

JF : Oh, good, good. That began to parlay. Was WHAS your first radio job?

LB: No. As a matter of fact, I went to work for a little station that was called WLRP.

JF : WLRP. Was that in Louisville?

LB: Nope, that was in New Albany.

JF : Huh.

LB: It was located over on Silver Street on top of a hill in New Albany. It was a little 1,000 watt daytime AM station. I had been involved in recording programs at our church that aired on this station on Sunday morning.


JF : When was this? What year was this [crosstalk]? Early 60s or something?

LB: No, this had to be probably '58, '57, '58, somewhere along in there. I knew where the station was because I had to deliver the tapes to them so that they could air them on Sunday morning. So I got to talking to some of the staff there and I discovered they didn't have a full-time engineer. When something went wrong, they had to hire somebody to come in and repair it. I got really chummy with several of the folks and I said, "You know, I'd really like to have a job. I've got a license." By that time I had gotten my first class-

JF : You were pretty young to have that, weren't you?

LB: Yeah. Yeah, but I was interested in stuff.

JF : Yeah, but still.

LB: So they said, "Well I'll let you talk to our general manager, Woody Delaney." Now Woody had been with WAVE for a number of years, and he was kind of 12:00wanting to get away from the pressure of the larger stations operations, so he had taken over as general manager of this little day-timer. I went in and talked to Woody and he found out that I was interested in ham radio and had done this, that, and the other, and he said, "Well, if you've got a license," he said, "I need for you to take care of the transmitter. That's the biggest thing right now. You have to take care of that transmitter." I said, "Oh, shoot, I can do that. I know all about that transmitter," knowing absolutely nothing about their transmitter. When you're young, you can do those things.

JF : What you do, you can figure it out.

LB: Why sure.

JF : Even if you had to roll out a book [crosstalk].

LB: Exactly. So I became chief engineer for I think it was the grand sum of $75 a week. Now one of the things the chief engineer had to do was also sign on the station on Sunday morning and sort of ride herd on all the religious programs 13:00that were aired.

JF : Oh yeah.

LB: I got a little taste of being able to give the station ID and read the weather and this sort of thing in between shows, and, "Man, this is nice."

JF : You liked that?

LB: I kinda like this, you know. This is sort of like ham radio, but better.

JF : All my friends can hear this.

LB: Exactly. Later on when the ... at that time they were still playing the down-home format type of local radio, and they had taped programs. They didn't carry any network programs, but they did carry network news. I was trying to think what the affiliation was, but it's been so long ago, I've forgotten now. Along about that time, a young fellow by the name of Reed Yadon paid a visit to the station one day and he said, "These folks need a really good newsman."


JF : He was a youngster too, like you. Very young guy.

LB: Oh yeah. I said, "Yeah, we do. We've got a newscaster." Network news was done in those days, he would come in and tear all the news off of the wire, off the teletype and spend about an hour in his office editing and putting together a five minute newscast out of all this stuff. When it came time for the news, he would present it in typical stentorian tones, and just like the good old days of radio. Well Woody Delaney, the station manager, said, "You know, this is old time-y. This is old time-y. We've got to move, we've got to update this thing." So he applied for and got the call sign WOWI. WOWI. So we became WOWI Radio.


JF : WOWI Radio. I hadn't heard that.

LB: We were in competition with WAKY.

JF : Oh, yes, WAKY.

LB: Since that was what was really big in radio at the time, WOWI had to sound like WAKY. So Reed got the job as newsman because he could do that staccato delivery [crosstalk].

JF : [crosstalk], yeah.

LB: Yeah. I got to be a deejay for a short period of time.

JF : How about that? You liked that, huh?

LB: I did.

JF : Yeah, sure.

LB: I enjoyed that. that was my introduction to radio.

JF : As a deejay, you spun the record, you had a record [crosstalk].

LB: Oh yeah. Yeah. 45s, the vinyl days. Everything from the library and we'd bring them in. We had two spindles and we'd stack up a spindle full of records. As you played them, one by one, you'd put them over on the empty spindle until it was full.

JF : That was your program. That was your show. [crosstalk].

LB: You rotated it back again and ran through the whole thing.


JF : Did you have, was it a top 40 type thing where you had a certain amount?

LB: Oh yeah.

JF : Those were the records you played?

LB: Yeah, exactly.

JF : That was it? Nothing else? Nobody could call in and say-

LB: Whatever was on the chart, that's-

JF : That's what you did. I see, and you played them over and over. So that was the top 40 [crosstalk].

LB: Yeah. Exactly. Real easy. That was fun, but the pay never got any better, and by that time I was courting a young lady and anticipating a big change in life and decided maybe I better have something a little better in the way of prospects here before I go talk to Papa, you know? I had heard that there was an engineering position open at WAKY.

JF : They were a big gun [crosstalk].

LB: Then they were a big gun.

JF : Very popular.

LB: They were the-

JF : They were what, a 5,000 watt station?

LB: Yeah.

JF : Were they 5,000.

LB: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

JF : That was pretty good signal.

LB: Between them and WKLO, they had the market pretty well tied up. They were 17:00both top 40 stations and going really well. I went over and talked to the chief engineer, Cliff Morrison was his name, and I said, "I'd really like to have a better paying job is what I'm looking for, and I've got transmitter experience. I've got limited air experience. I'm not really all that interested in pursuing that because I'm not one of these fast paced deejay type people, but I would be interested in engineering." He said, "Well, we've got two positions in engineering. We've got a studio engineer position and we got a transmitter engineer position." I said, "Well, what's entailed in these?" He said, "Well, the studio engineer actually plays the records that the disc jockey on the other side of the glass-

JF : Oh, okay.

LB: ... announces and does his thing," and they had a separate newsman and a separate news booth.

JF : You would operate those while there?

LB: You would sit there at the big console, the big Gates console. Oh my, I was impressed, and that was your thing. Well I did that for a short period of time 18:00and it was interesting. It was fun, but it's-

JF : Remember some of the deejays you worked with?

LB: Oh, golly. Yeah. There was Hal Smith. There was ... I wish you hadn't asked me that.

JF : Is this in the late 50s or early 60s?

LB: Yeah, early 60s.

JF : WAKY was really booming.

LB: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. About that time, Reed Yadon also applied for and got a job as a newsman there at WAKY. So we had some ... we kind of followed each other around [crosstalk].

JF : I didn't realize that. Bill Bailey wasn't at WAKY [crosstalk].

LB: No, Bill wasn't there at the time.

JF : [crosstalk] later.

LB: He came in later. Jumping Jack Sanders was the big man in there at the time, and I got to work with Jack for a while.

JF : What was that like working with somebody like that?

LB: Frantic.

JF : With a top 40 disc jockey. Yeah.

LB: Frantic. That was frantic.

JF : In what ways? Just keeping up with him?


LB: Well, he, he was strictly off the wall. You never knew what he was going to do, and it was almost impossible to anticipate. When we were pulling an air shift as such, we also did production recording. Doing production recording with him was a real hoot too, because-

JF : So you would operate while he was doing the commercials-

LB: Yeah.

JF : ... and putting them together.

LB: Yeah. He had the annoying habit of reading everything on the page. So when it come time for him to do a commercial, he'd start at the top and run to the bottom, and if it happened to say next page at the bottom, that became part of the dialogue that you had to go back and edit out.

JF : Wow.

LB: That was fun. Those were fun days.

JF : How long were you there?

LB: I stayed there ... Well at the studio, I was there for about a year, year and a half, and then I found out that the transmitter engineer job paid a whole lot better. So I asked the chief engineer if I could fill the transmitter 20:00engineer position that was still open, and he agreed. I stayed another two and a half, three years at the transmitter and worked the "swing shift."

JF : Which was?

LB: We had three shifts that we rotated-

JF : Well somebody had to be at the transmitter all the time.

LB: Oh, 24 hours a day because they were on the air. So that got to be interesting too because you never knew what meal was next, whether you were doing breakfast, dinner, supper, whatever.

JF : Sure. So you worked different shifts then?

LB: Yeah. The transmitter plant was located out in Jeffersontown and in the wintertime, that was kind of interesting getting out there off Taylorsville Road. We didn't have any of the improvements then. We didn't have the Snyder Freeway or any of that stuff. You would always take a stash of food and keep at the transmitter because come a heavy snow, you couldn't get out and the relief 21:00guy couldn't get in.

JF : Wow. That happen often?

LB: Oh yeah. Yeah, in the wintertime that happened quite often. The plant was really kind of unique. It was built back in the days when a transmitter plant had to be maintained and manned, and they usually had two or three engineers on each shift. By the time I had gone there, it was down to you're it.

JF : Is the towers? I don't think they're still there. The towers aren't still here anymore?

LB: Yeah.

JF : Are they?

LB: There's four of them.

JF : Are they just off the Snyder and Taylorsville Road?

LB: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Four towers in a parallelogram.

JF : Yeah.

LB: Yeah. Those aren't the original towers. Those were replaced about 20 years ago I guess.

JF : But same site?

LB: Yeah, same site. In our little kitchen we had back there-

JF : They had a building that you could-

LB: Oh yeah, this concrete block building, nice. Had a bedroom, had a full bath with shower, had a kitchen.

JF : Just in case.

LB: Had a nice big workshop facility with power tools because this was during 22:00the period of time when you had to manufacture a lot of parts. You couldn't get a lot of pieces for these big transmitters back then, especially the older transmitters because the manufacturers didn't really support them all that well. So we had a nice shop where you could do a lot of work, and I enjoyed that. I worked out there until I got word that there would be a vacancy soon at WHAS, that big powerhouse down the street.

JF : Wow. It had a reputation.

LB: Oh yeah. Oh golly, yeah. I went over and talked to Joe Fox-

JF : How about that.

LB: ... who was the assistant chief engineer at that time, and, well, he was there well after I went to work for them, but Joe was an interesting fellow because he was a ham radio operator, so we had an instant rapport. Joe was probably in his early 60s when I went over there. I was 22.


JF : Yeah. I never met Joe. Joe was gone by the time I came in '73, but you'd be surprised how many of the old timers asked me if I was Joe's son[crosstalk].

LB: Yeah. Yeah, I can see.

JF : "You're Jack Fox? Are you Joe's son?"

LB: Joe was a great boating enthusiast. He had a boat on the river all the time and, in fact, he practically lived there. That was his thing, that and ham radio.

JF : So you went for an interview, is that what you did?

LB: Went for an interview.

JF : Where was that held? [inaudible] the Courier-Journal building.

LB: At the Courier-Journal building. Yeah.

JF : At 6th and Broadway.

LB: Yeah, up on the fifth floor. All the executive offices were on the fifth floor.

JF : What'd you feel like walking in there that day?

LB: Oh, man, I was worth million dollars, I'm telling you.

JF : Newspapers there and it's big and powerful, the radio and television station there.

LB: Yeah. I didn't go in the front door. The front revolving doors led into a rotunda, and there was this huge globe suspended from the ceiling that rotated.


JF : Covering the world.

LB: Yeah, covering the world. I went in the side door, the employee entrance and of course was met by the security people there. "Who are you and where are you going?" "Well, I'm going for a job interview. I am somebody." He did have to tell me where it was and how to find it, but I got there and interviewed with Joe. He said, "Well, you've got the necessary qualifications, I think." He said, "Now a new man always has to start out in a rather menial position because after all, we have a staff of 53 engineers."

JF : 53 engineers?

LB: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

JF : For radio and television?

LB: For radio and television.

JF : Wow.

LB: He said, "And of course you would be probably the youngest man on the staff 25:00if you take it."

JF : This is 1964, and you're 21?

LB: 21 or 22, yeah. He said, "You'll be the kid."

JF : Because some of those guys had been there for a year.

LB: Oh, yeah, they were Second World War veterans for the most part. In fact, the radio supervisor, Carl Nielsen, Colonel Carl Nielsen had been in the Signal Corps during the Second World War. Paul Devine, who you knew, was a major. A lot of these guys had left radio and gone into the service, and then when they came back from the service, they were-

JF : Well, this was a big time dealer, WHAS and the Courier Journal. That was a very big dealer.

LB: Oh absolutely. So he said, "Well, when can you start?" I said, When do you need me?" He said, "Next Monday, 6:00 AM."

JF : AM.

LB: Yeah. "All right, sir, I'll be there." So that was my introduction to Colonel Carl Nielsen-


JF : How about that?

LB: ... who was the radio master supervisor. Okay. Master Control was located on the sixth floor.

JF : Radio Master-

LB: Radio Master Control was located on the sixth floor. TV was on the seventh floor, the offices and the cafeteria. You wanted to learn that real quick, that was located on the fifth floor.

JF : That was really a community there, that Courier Journal building, wasn't it?

LB: Yeah, it was a big operation. As mentioned in Credo Harris's book, we'll get to that a little later, the building was actually divided in half with an acoustic separator to keep the vibrations from the printing presses, from getting over into the studio and office areas. It was really kind of interesting when the presses were running late in the afternoon.

JF : Oh yeah, there are two editions, morning and afternoon.

LB: In the late afternoon though, when they would fire up the presses down there, if you were over in the studio side of the building, everything was nice and calm. If you walked down the hall and crossed the sound barrier into the 27:00back area, suddenly you hear this roaring rumbling sensation.

JF : It was actually designed that way.

LB: Yeah, it was designed that way.

JF : That building was built in, they were in radio and newspaper at the same time when that building was built.

LB: Right. Right. In fact, they had been in another building at 3rd and Liberty Streets.

JF : Was the newspaper over there at 3rd and Liberty also?

LB: The newspaper, that was the Louisville Times then.

JF : Okay.

LB: They didn't start the second paper, the Carrier Journal until they moved to the 6th and Broadway location.

JF : I didn't realize that. When did they move to that 6th and Broadway? Do you recall?

LB: You know, I really don't know.

JF : I was just curious.

LB: I'll have to look it up. I probably got it here, buried away in the goodies. My first impression of the place was, and it was almost a spiritual thing, you know?

JF : Sure.

LB: To walk into that building at night, because later on I was transferred to.

JF : [inaudible] activity.

LB: Oh yeah, yeah. The place was never dark. I mean, there was always somebody 28:00there, but to walk in there at night and right up to the sixth floor and get off the elevators, there was a little lobby there when you get off the elevators. Only four of the six elevators went to the sixth floor. The executive elevators, of course they went all the up to the top, but to get off the elevator there and it's absolutely quiet. Just deathly quiet, not a sound to be heard anywhere. Go walk down the corridor, open the master control room door and walk in, and here's all this cacophony of sound.

JF : Sure.

LB: You got programs running, you got programs being queued up, you got people practicing. It was just-

JF : Were they still doing some live - they were still doing some live-

LB: Oh yeah.

JF : ... in studio stuff, weren't they?

LB: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

JF : Do you remember what some of that was?


LB: Yeah, because I was involved in some of it. Yeah.

JF : Tell me about it.

LB: Well we still did Jim Walton's Waxworks, which was a predecessor of deejay type of radio there. As I said, they moved kicking and screaming into the 20th century. It took a long time for top 40 radio to ever permeate and get over to HAS, but Jim Walton's Waxworks, they did pop music, Peggy Lee, that-

JF : He sat at the studio and then somebody like you played the records for him?

LB: Well it was interesting. The studio, and then it was done out of ... Jim Walton's Waxworks was actually a big production. It was a live and recorded type of thing. He would always have one or more guests on his show in the mornings and sometimes musicians to accompany one or more guests in the morning.

JF : Really?

LB: So his show was done out of Studio A, which was the largest radio studio up there. It housed the big Kilgen organ, pipe organ, that was down [crosstalk].

JF : Pipe organ [crosstalk].

LB: Oh yeah.

JF : Wow.

LB: I mean, that was top of the line, you had a pipe organ.


JF : I'll bet.

LB: And Herbie Cookwas still there then and played. He had a show in the afternoons and played organ and recited poetry.

JF : How about that?

LB: It was interesting.

JF : This was in the middle 60s, so yeah.

LB: Yeah.

JF : Wow. It was like a island to itself out there, really.

LB: Yeah, it was, and to do a radio show there at that period of time was like doing a television show today. Studio A was this enormous studio, acoustically treated, cork floors.

JF : Wow.

LB: Adjacent to was the main control room, okay? To the right of the control room was the producers and directors booth. Above that, like eight feet, nine feet above it was the client's booth because sponsors in those days liked to see 31:00their commercials being done.

JF : Done live. They were done live.

LB: Indeed. Indeed.

JF : Wow.

LB: So you had a client's booth. You had a producer/director booth. You had the [crosstalk] booth.

JF : Equipped with couches and tables.

LB: Yeah. Oh yeah. It was posh.

JF : Wow.

LB: Yeah, it was amazing. In order to do the audio end of it, you had one man on the audio console. He was the switcher, okay? You had one man on turntable. He was the record man. You had one man who had a remote control box that controlled four tape machines. They were located way the heck and gone down the hall in Radio Master. So before every show, it was his responsibility to go and queue up each of the tapes that would be needed during that show. If there were more 32:00tapes than four that would be needed, somewhere during the operation of the show, he'd have to run down the hall and change tapes.

JF : What would be all the tapes? Would it be music or interviews?

LB: It could be music. It could be a delayed newscast. It could be all kinds of things, little featurettes, it would be on tape. All the music, recorded music would be on transcriptions and sometimes 16 inch diameter transcriptions. Once in a while, occasionally, but not all that often, a regular 12-inch vinyl disc would be used, but most all of the music at that time came from our music library and had been transcribed onto these big discs.

JF : So somebody had gone into a studio and played the music and they had basically made the records there.

LB: Yeah. So, I mean, it was like network radio.

JF : [crosstalk].

LB: I was just in seventh heaven. Big time radio man.

JF : I believe it. I can see why they had 53 engineers right there obviously.

LB: Oh yeah.

JF : Probably a little shorthanded sometimes.


LB: Yeah, sometimes it got [crosstalk]

JF : Were they on the air ... radio was on 24 hours then, or just-

LB: No, it went off at midnight, came back on at five. I often wondered about that. It didn't seem very economical to do that, but that's the way it operated in those days. Well, I think at one time it was dictated by necessity. You needed four or five hours of maintenance time.

JF : For all that equipment.

LB: Yeah. So that made sense to do that.

JF : All these studios and tape rooms, they were all connected with wires running over the floors-

LB: Oh gosh, yeah.

JF : ... and that was an engineer's responsibility also.

LB: Oh yeah.

JF : Install that and maintain.

LB: We had a separate crew of engineers that did maintenance. That's all they did. The "operating engineers", I was fortunate enough to be one of them to begin with. Later on I went into maintenance and then it got to be work. The fun went out of it real quick, but while we were on the operating staff, that was 34:00really fun.

JF : When you started there, that first morning, were you on the operating staff then?

LB: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

JF : What did you do that day? Do you remember what you did?

LB: That first day, I followed people around to see what they did. They're not going to trust the kid with anything responsible.

JF : You bet.

LB: "Hey kid, go get a microphone out of the closet," that sort of thing, which, and that-

JF : You remember, who were some of the people you worked with?

LB: Oh, Harold [DeArmond 00:34:24]. You remember Harold?

JF : Yeah.

LB: He was with us over in the other building. Harold Cox. Ooh, golly. Charlie Newman. You remember him?

JF : Yeah.

LB: Paul Devine, people like that. Now Paul was never in operations, but Charlie Newman was, Harold Cox was, Harold DeArmond was. In fact, Harold DeArmond was the audio man. You've got a problem, you go see Harold. He'll tell you how to fix it.

JF : He'll tell you how to do it, yeah.

LB: Oh, one of the things about operating out of that big studio, Studio A, and 35:00I was going to mention that, it was standard procedure that before every show, even though you did this show five days a week out of the same studio, five days a week at the same time, five days a week, you tore the studio down after each show, took all the equipment out, put it away. Mic stands, microphones copy holders.

JF : That's pretty involved.

LB: You stripped the whole ... and this was the operating engineer's responsibility to do this which meant, "Hey boy."

JF : Is that because each had different requirements?

LB: Yeah, because that show would be used throughout the day for other things.

JF : Yeah. Makes sense I guess.

LB: You go in, if the show was to air at six, you'd get there at five, go down to the microphone closet and get the microphones out, bring them up to the studio, go over to the other storage closet, get the mic stands, and these were 36:00huge boom stands like they use in television nowadays.

JF : Wow.

LB: Why I don't know, but that's what we had. Well, because occasionally they would have a pretty good size band in that studio, and you'd have to mic them from a distance. Being the new guy, that was my job, and Harold DeArmond would give me a list of what he wanted for that setup that day, and so I'd go down and check them off the list, get the mics he wanted, get the mic stands.

JF : How about that.

LB: Go out and set up the studio and he'd come out and, "Yeah, that's right. That's right. Okay. Now you want to move that cable. You know, somebody who will trip over that."

JF : Wow.

LB: Very meticulous about it.

JF : Very elaborate.

LB: Set the studio up. Then I would ... at that time we had a separate music library, which was down on the fifth floor. So supposedly sometime during the night, the music librarian would bring this wheeled dolly up with all the transcriptions in it and all the tapes in it and three or four copies of the 37:00script for the show, and hopefully that was there when you got there, because if it wasn't, you're going to have a fine time trying to find all this show.

JF : Scripts for the show, was that-

LB: Oh yeah.

JF : ... a producer would do that?

LB: Oh yeah, everything was scripted. Yeah, absolutely.

JF : Wow.

LB: No ad-libbing. You can't have that. That's no good. Yeah.

JF : It was great stuff though, wasn't it?

LB: Oh yeah, absolutely.

JF : So this was sort of like what you listen to as a kid-

LB: Yeah.

JF : ... [crosstalk] in the middle of it.

LB: Yeah. So I made it. I made the big time.

JF : Did you have sound effects people there?

LB: No, but they still had the sound effects equipment.

JF : Oh.

LB: And I stumbled across that in one of the closets, the storage closets that was in the hallway between Studio A and Studio C. A was the largest, B was the next largest, C was the smallest, and then you had D, E and F Studios.

JF : Oh my goodness.

LB: These were like, maybe as big as this room here, 12 by 12, something like 38:00that. Those were considered announce booths.

JF : A big space.

LB: They thought on a grand scale.

JF : Yeah, they really did.

LB: Each one of these studios had the double glass windows in the control room adjacent to it because you always had an engineer do everything. The talent was talent.

JF : Just walked in and that's it.

LB: They read the papers, which was fine, but, oh, that was fascinating.

JF : Who was the station manager at that time?

LB: Victor Scholis.

JF : Okay.

LB: Yeah, Victor Scholis.

JF : Over everything, radio and television? Yeah?

LB: Yep.

JF : Who was the radio manager? Do you remember? Probably had several there.

LB: Well, yeah, there were several on and off. The chief engineer of course.

JF : I see why that was a big responsibility, the chief engineer, yeah.

LB: Orin Towner, he was-

JF : Anybody was the news director, some of the news people were?

LB: Bill small at one time.


JF : Who went on to become CBS. Yeah.

LB: Yeah. It was kind of a revolving door. There was a lot of-

JF : A lot of people, yeah.

LB: A lot of news people, news men, even though there were a lot of women.

JF : As big as it was and as important as it was, this was also sort of a stepping stone for New York or Chicago or something like that.

LB: Oh sure, absolutely.

JF : If you, if you worked at WHAS then-

LB: You had credentials.

JF : Yeah.

LB: It was good. In connection with that, part of Walton's Waxworks show in the morning, that thing was at least an hour long, maybe longer. I don't recall now, but anyway, in the show there was a segment, a news segment. So you had to change gears right in the middle of the show to do a newscast. I think they were about 10-minute-long newscasts then, and what would happen is in comes another rollaway table stacked up with these 10 and 12 inch transcriptions. Every news 40:00actuality was cut into a disc.

JF : Which is a report from Libya or someplace [crosstalk]?

LB: Or even Joe Schmoe on the street, whomever, but if it was an audio actuality, it was recorded and cut into a disc.

JF : And put into the script.

LB: It was scripted where it was going to be played back, the disc number, the cut number because there would be 15, 20 cuts on this disc. Inevitably, even though this stuff is brought up in plenty of time to have it all ready for the newscast, if you were the unlucky so-and-so who happened to be on turntable, it was your responsibility to match up the news cuts with the [crosstalk].

JF : Interesting.

LB: It could get very interesting because especially usually at the last minute, just before time for newscasts, newsman would come running in with an edition.


JF : It's the latest news, breaking news.

LB: And throw down two or three discs and a piece of paper-

JF : Oh wow.

LB: ... and you've got to find out, "Oh wait, which one is which, and where does it go," and try to get this other thing queued up at the right time.

JF : Wow.

LB: That was fun.

JF : I bet it was.

LB: That was really fun.

JF : Wow. Now this was only middle 60s. You went there in '64. How long did it continue like that? Now let's see. That was the time you were getting ready to transition to the new building.

LB: To the new building.

JF : [inaudible] at 6th and Chestnut.

LB: Yes.

JF : [inaudible]. You were involved in that, obviously.

LB: Yeah. Yeah. In fact, by that time I had gotten involved in some television as well, and my first experience with the new building was unpacking and testing out all of the TV monitors that would be used in the control rooms. In one of the big shops, we had a huge shop area in the basement and I had work bench after work bench after work bench stacked up with TV monitors, plugged in and 42:00running -

JF : Just checking to make sure they run.

LB: ... to make sure that they would [crosstalk].

JF : Now you saw that building, which is still in operation today with WHAS Television.

LB: Yes.

JF : You saw that literally from the ground up.

LB: Sure did. Sure did.

JF : You run some wires and helped [crosstalk].

LB: Yeah. A whole lot of them.

JF : Yeah?

LB: I'll tell you a little story about that too. Paul Devine was the maintenance supervisor even in the old building, at the Courier building. When the new building was under construction, Paul Devine was given the chore of making sure that everything was wired state-of-the-art. So we had these massive blueprints of wiring troughs, where everything would be, where each wire and cable, every wire was numbered.

JF : Wow.

LB: Every cable was numbered, every run was numbered. You had to have a scorecard to play the game when it came time to [crosstalk].

JF : No rookies siting here. No rookies in here.


LB: That was fun, fun, fun. This was '67, early '67 when we started building that building. I was working part-time at the studio still and part-time over at the building, helping in the transition of moving equipment.

JF : All part of your eight hour shifts?

LB: Yeah.

JF : Oh, you didn't come in and do one and do-

LB: No. No. The Union wouldn't hold still for that.

JF : Right, yeah, usually [crosstalk].

LB: Yeah. That was the big attraction of going there in the first place was the union salary for engineers.

JF : That was-

LB: Big money.

JF : Were there any other ... I guess WAVE was sort of [crosstalk].

LB: Yeah. WAVE was ... initially we were with NABET, National Association of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians, and then it became IBEW, International Broadcasting. That's a whole different story too. The Union negotiations is, oh.


JF : Oh, were you involved in Union negotiations?

LB: Unfortunately yes, yeah, a couple of times. It was a learning experience, let's put it that way. You develop a deep appreciation for independence, but I digress.

JF : Well while you're digressing, let's talk for just a minute because the Bingham family of course owned the [crosstalk]-

LB: Yes.

JF : ... television. What was the atmosphere like there with the Bingham family? Did you have much contact with the family itself?

LB: Yes and no? It was kind of almost like the Royal family type situation there.

JF : Was Mr. Bingham, Barry Senior, was he still pretty much involved with [crosstalk]?

LB: Oh yes. Yeah, very much so. Barry Junior was being groomed at that time to take over. In fact, they started Barry Junior working in the newspaper, and he worked in just about every area of the newspapers at one time or another before 45:00transitioning over to the radio side.

JF : Was there one daughter? Did they have one or two daughters?

LB: Three.

JF : Were any of them involved in any of the operations?

LB: Well they were all on the board of directors.

JF : Okay.

LB: But they-

JF : Not day to day.

LB: No active participation.

JF : But Barry Junior was involved.

LB: Yeah, Sallie, later on, got involved in TV when we had gone over to the new building, but that was several years later. I don't know if you've ever read her tell-all book or not, but there's-

JF : I have not, no.

LB: ... there's some interesting things in there too.

JF : That was an interesting time though, wasn't it?

LB: Yes, it was. Yeah, I worked with Barry Junior quite closely because I was involved in ... we had established an FM station as well. WNNS FM, which was to 46:00be a 24 hour a day, seven day a week news outlet.

JF : Well didn't have a classical music station before that?

LB: Nope. NNS came first.

JF : I didn't realize that.

LB: Yeah, and it didn't pan out.

JF : Okay.

LB: So they became a classical music station that Barry Junior was very, very much involved in.

JF : Do you remember when this was? What year that was?

LB: Oh, golly. You would ask me [crosstalk]

JF : Was that still in the old building or was that the new building?

LB: No, this was the new building. We'd already moved to the new building.

JF : So that'd be in the late 60s?

LB: Mm-hmm (affirmative). '69.

JF : A news operation was the first design for that.

LB: Uh huh, [crosstalk]. Everybody said, "This is not going to be practical. It won't support itself. There's no way." Well-

JF : They weren't as much concerned at ... well, they were starting to get that way, but up until that point, they weren't particularly concerned about that.

LB: They carried on the tradition of the days of Credo Fitch Harris, and back in the 20s and 30s, when there was an obligation to provide this service to the community.

JF : Yeah, that's what I was getting at with the Bingham family, that was kind of their attitude.

LB: Yeah, and their attitude was if we happen to make money in the process, 47:00that's great.

JF : Now they made money from tele, from newspaper, [inaudible].

LB: Yeah. Newspaper was-

JF : But the radio and television were pretty much a ... it was actually public service, but it was a public [crosstalk].

LB: Television became the cash cow after a while, but radio to my knowledge, I don't think radio ever made any money. It broke even every now and again, but I think it was always a cash drain on the resources. But there again, there was this obligation, this is a service we provide to the community and if it costs, it costs, we do it and they spared no expense either.

JF : Yeah. No, obviously they didn't. Yeah. And took care of their employees well [crosstalk].

LB: Absolutely. Absolutely, with the exception of the retirement fund, we won't 48:00go there. Most of us learned way too late.

JF : Too late. Wow.

LB: I have no regrets whatsoever for working for the Bingham family. I had a great deal respect for them. I met Mr. Bingham Senior on a couple of occasions, but he was rather standoffish. He was the patriarch. He was the former ambassador to England.

JF : Even looked the role, didn't he?

LB: Oh my goodness, yes. Impeccably dressed, Savile Row suits. Barry Junior was not a slouch either.

JF : No, that's right.

LB: He dressed quite nice.

JF : But it was a change.

LB: And sported the RAF mustache.

JF : Yes.

LB: But a nicer man you would never want to meet.

JF : Good.

LB: Just very down to earth. Very, very wholesome individual who I enjoyed working with. I started to tell the story about when we went to FM-

JF : Oh yeah, sorry.

LB: ... and the classical music format. We installed, at that time, one of the first automated broadcast systems. It was a Schaefer broadcast system based on a 49:00huge array of reel-to-reel playback tape machines. The "brain", which was this controller that was operated from a time clock device. There was no computers involved. There was no program logic of any kind. This predates the real world.

JF : This was '69, somewhere in there?

LB: Yeah, somewhere in there. It was the requirement of the engineer. We had revolving shifts, but at that time we were on 24 hours a day, and it was the responsibility of the engineers to load the program tapes in the right sequence on the right machines. We had an innovation at that time also, it was called a spotter. This was a two deck reel-to-reel tape machine that held commercial 50:00announcements. And yes, we did, we had commercial time on the classical station.

JF : Really?

LB: The way these things worked, some poor soul had to come in and sit for hours and record these one minute commercials, and then he would take a razor blade, a cotton swab and alcohol and scrape the oxide off of the tape in between each cut so that the optical sensor on the playback machine could tell when you'd hit the end of the commercial.

JF : Talk about high-tech.

LB: Oh, it was grand stuff.

JF : You said innovations, that's something that you all came up with or was that a-

LB: It was in cooperation with the folks at Schaefer. They developed this system 51:00and to my knowledge, I think we were the first station to actually implement it and put it in. We spent a lot of time corresponding with him and him working out the bugs of the system. I was going to dovetail this with my experiences with Barry Junior. Since that was his baby, he was the classical music freak and he wanted to see that thing succeed, so it had better be right. Well, inevitably things go wrong. I mean, with an automated system, especially sooner or later, something's going to get out of sync and you're going to have the wrong announcement for the wrong piece of music or you're going to ...

Since all the announcements were also prerecorded on tape and this brain switching device would alternately play the announcement tape and then play the appropriate music tape to go with it.

JF : Oh, guided by the little gaps in-

LB: Yeah. Oh, this was fantastic stuff. Well, in order to assure that things happen more or less in a reasonable order, you had this like a pegboard installed in this, they called it the switching matrix, but you had to insert 52:00pins in this thing at the appropriate time for the appropriate channel.

JF : So it'd just bypass something.

LB: Right. When the little time clock would come up and go tick, whatever happened to be plugged into that slot, that's what started and ran, and hopefully it was the right thing at the right time. You had this music sheet, on which was indicated the time at each segment that this was supposed to play, and then you had to write in the number on the pegboard where you could set the little pins and the switches so that this would happen at the right place.

JF : Wow.

LB: Well, after a while, it got to be a routine thing. You could scan down the thing and take a glance. Yeah. It's all there. Everything's fine. Is ready to go. Once in a while, you'd get busy. We're now going to hear so-and-so, such and such by so-and-so. Silence would prevail, you know? Well, we had a real handy 53:00little device attached to this equipment. It was called the silence sensor. If things got quiet for more than 30 seconds, beep.

JF : Panic.

LB: It would warn you. So you'd have to go see, "Whoa, what happened?" Well, generally, while programs were running like that, you were doing other things like recording tomorrow's announced tape.

JF : Sure.

LB: So there again, you sat at the console, the announcer sat out in the studio and you sit there and work back and forth and read these things. So here he's reading what's going to happen, and beep, goes off in your ear and you, "Whoa, hold everything." So you run around and you try to determine, "Ho, what happened here? Yeah, that's right. According to the sheet that's supposed ... Oh, that's supposed to be playing." Punch. Punch the button. Now the music is running.

JF : Wow. [inaudible].

LB: Of course, now you're a minute and a half off schedule.

JF : Oh yeah.

LB: Which means that you're going to run long when the segment comes up for the next time clock to go click, it's going to cut something off in midstream and 54:00this is not going to sound good. Well, that happened a couple of times. Generally when it did, the phone would ring. "This is Barry. Something seems to be wrong." "Yes, sir, I'm on top of it. We'll get it straightened out right now."

JF : And he was always there.

LB: He was always there.

JF : Wow.

LB: I think he listened probably 24 hours a day. He probably got some of it subliminally while he slept.

JF : That's amazing.

LB: He was never harsh. Never accusative. He'd always say, "I think something's gone wrong."

JF : And you knew very well.

LB: Yeah.

JF : Get it moving. Let's get it going here. This was a big transition though, to go from the elaborate studios you talked about. Now, they were very nice studios in the new building-

LB: Oh yes.

JF : ... but they were all representing a different era in broadcasting.

LB: Exactly.

JF : [crosstalk] studios. Well, you did have a couple of large ... you had one 55:00or two large studios for radio.

LB: Right. In fact, the first deejay studio, Studio C, as it was called, was green, pale green painted, if you'll remember it. That was the original Studio C out of the other building.

JF : Really?

LB: They brought it part and parcel.

JF : This was that big room?

LB: Yeah.

JF : It was a huge room.

LB: They brought it part and parcel from the old building-

JF : I didn't realize that.

LB: ... and that became the first big studio. He also had the-

JF : Did they use any live - they didn't do band, did they?

LB: No. No.

JF : None of that came over there?

LB: No. That was long gone by the time we had moved over. We did do record shows out of there, deejay shows, but we still had an engineer playing the records for the deejay who set out in that big empty studio.

JF : Yeah.

LB: Which was fun.

JF : Yeah. You were sitting in another room with a window looking in there [crosstalk 00:55:56].

LB: Exactly. Looking down into it.


JF : Yeah, looking down.

LB: Because we were elevated about four feet.

JF : Yeah.

LB: But that was fun too. We had the awards room, which later became WAMZ's on the air studio.

JF : Even HAS was in there for a short while, I remember, right?

LB: Yeah. The reason for the awards room was that was where they brought the mommies and daddies of the kiddies that were going to be on TV show in the afternoons, and they had all the station awards around on the walls-

JF : So they could see them all.

LB: ... so that they could see them and be impressed, and they had the monitor there so that they could see little Joey when he was on TV later. Well, that function sort of went away with time and we needed a studio space, so when WAMZ, when WNNS and WHAS FM had finally transitioned into WAMZ and become a country 57:00music station, we needed a studio for it. So the awards room became the first WAMZ studio.

JF : Now let me ... I'm trying to remember something. WNNS was going to be the news [crosstalk].

LB: Uh huh.

JF : Now, did that ever go on the air before the classical music or did it not? So classical music went on, but then they moved from classical back to WNNS-

LB: Yup.

JF : ... and then tried to do a newscast for just a short while, this would have been in the middle 70s or early 70s.

LB: Yeah, early 70s. Yeah.

JF : It never worked.

LB: That just didn't work.

JF : That's when they went to WAMZ.

LB: Right.

JF : A country music station.

LB: They had had such "success" with the automated system for the classical music that we moved it into the control room adjacent to the awards room, and WAMZ went on the air as an automated country music station-

JF : I didn't realize that.

LB: ... with a live announcer.

JF : Wow.

LB: So it was a-

JF : In my mind, I'm just thinking Coyote Calhoun and that pegboard system. 58:00That's gotta be a wild combination.

LB: Well Coyote never mastered the pegboard system. Fortunately, we still had engineers involved in the operations of it, but Coyote, he was a good sport about this whole thing because he had never-

JF : He was the deejay and the program director of WAMZ. Yeah.

LB: Exactly, and he was never accustomed to live of assist operation.

JF : No.

LB: Nobody was, I mean-

JF : Actually Coyote had come from WAKY a long time ago, and then was a rock and roll disc jockey and wanted to get into country [crosstalk].

LB: Sure was. To make the transition was a real chore on his part, but he handled it quite well. We'd load up all the pre-packaged country music programs that he would be the deejay for. He'd be the announcer and all these things. He had to read the script because this is what's going to be played. That was just awfully galling because he had his ideas of what ought to be played, and this 59:00pre-packaged just doesn't get it. So that didn't last too long until he finally prevailed and became the deejay. He actually-

JF : That was a shift to even on WHAS AM to go from, for a while there, when you moved to the new building, you still had operators doing production and replaying the records, but that changed when? Probably in the early 70s? '71?

LB: Yeah, Wayne Perkey.

JF : Okay. That would have been about '69 or so.

LB: Yeah. Let's see. Wasn't there someone before? I think Wayne was the first deejay.

JF : Well, because I think that Hugh Barr came in and he was starting to carve out WHAS Radio AM as opposed to the television station, and he hired Wayne and a news director and things like that.

LB: Yup.

JF : So that started that era then when disc jockeys came...

LB: Disc jockeys came into existence.

JF : Even at that time, though, Wayne still had Harold DeArmond, you were still 60:00playing the records.

LB: Yeah.

JF : Then that began to shift, I guess, as a result of union contract negotiations [crosstalk].

LB: Well not really so much as-

JF : Just wanting to have more, just a different philosophy [crosstalk].

LB: Exactly.

JF : More ad-lib stuff.

LB: This was the "industry standard".

JF : Sure, yeah.

LB: That's what they went with.

JF : Yeah, that was the, yeah. It was a transition, big transition.

LB: Oh yeah. Yeah. It was relief for a lot of the engineers-

JF : Really?

LB: ... because there's nothing more pressurizing than to be on the spot, you've got to have that record queued, you got to have it ready to go when he says the last word of whatever it is he's going to say and goes like that, you better let go.

JF : Because the people listening don't know you're back there.

LB: That's right.

JF : They just know him, and he's quite worried about that. [crosstalk]

LB: His image is more important than yours. Yeah.

JF : Interesting.

LB: It was still fun. It was still fun.

JF : As that began to go away, did your duties change as the operators [inaudible] began to go away, did your duties change at AM radio? You did FM and 61:00AM Radio.

LB: Yeah, because then a lot of the people who had been involved in radio operations were transitioning to TV. A lot were going, in my case, we went into maintenance, engineering maintenance and did more ... well, we did a lot of recording, too,

JF : A lot more equipment to take, or at least a different style, a lot more portable equipment and things like that, because I assume it was new equipment moving into the new building, a lot of new equipment.

LB: Yeah. In fact, I transitioned first from radio into TV news. I did all the repair work on the Bell and Howell 16-millimeter cameras that the news people carried around.

JF : Wow. They carried those around in film. Yeah, did film.

LB: Yeah. So that was real different.

JF : I'm sure it was.

LB: I was always interested in photography as an adjunct anyway, but that's a whole different world too. TV news is a real pressure cooker.


JF : I bet.

LB: And anything associated with it, it gets to be a real pressure cooker too.

JF : It became a lot more instant at that time didn't it, as opposed to everything scripted and brought down the hall in a roll tray. Now it's everything is instant and happening-

LB: Yup.

JF : ... and radio is like that now, more ad lib.

LB: Yeah, exactly.

JF : And the disc jockey on the air, I think, have more control of it and everything.

LB: Yeah.

JF : Well, you helped-

LB: You know, the philosophers say life is change. So regardless of what the industry is, it's life, it's change.

JF : So you never had a problem with that? I mean, you always-

LB: Not really.

JF : Some change was probably in - you were having interest in a lot of things in life, so I'm sure that was kind of interesting to you.

LB: Yup.

JF : You did a lot of transmitter work during-

LB: Oh yeah.

JF : ... as the years went on.

LB: Which stood me in good stead. After I retired, I started doing missionary radio work. Excuse me.

JF : When did you retire, by the way, from WHAS?

LB: '97.

JF : '97.

LB: 1997. I retired at 60. My wife said, "Retire or I'm going to divorce you." 63:00So the lesser of two evils.

JF : Yeah. That freed you up to do some other things?

LB: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

JF : Tell us about that a little bit.

LB: Actually, even before I had retired, I had spent a couple of years working with the Southern Baptist Mission Board. A good friend of mine, David Daniel from Dallas, Texas, who by the way, had been a newsman at WBAP-

JF : Oh yeah, Dallas.

LB: Yeah. Was a missionary, and he had gone to Guatemala and spent 20 some odd years in Guatemala, and I got acquainted with him sort of in a very strange way by way of my brother-in-law, who is a Baptist minister. On Sundays, we would after church usually go stop someplace to get a meal or snack or something, and on one of those occasions, I made the mistake of saying, "You know, I really would love to be doing something in a missionary line. I wonder if there's 64:00anything in like missionary broadcasting, something like that." He said, "I don't know, I'll find out." So nothing else was said about it. Couple of weeks later, I get this huge envelope in the mail from the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board welcoming me to [crosstalk 01:04:28].

JF : Wow. You're in, huh?

LB: He had signed me up. So I volunteered and got to meet some people. At that time, we had a core group of engineers, mostly out of Texas. Texas is a hotbed of Baptist missionary.

JF : And Radio and Television Commission was strong there [crosstalk].

LB: And I met a couple of fellows and David Daniel was one of them, and at that time, he was the media director for missions in Guatemala. He said, "We've just 65:00built a shortwave radio station here, and it reaches up into the States on a regular basis. You might want to try and listen for it sometime, see what it is." Well, it was TGVC was the call sign on 4845 kilocycles. In the wintertime, you could actually hear this thing all the way from Guatemala. It was only a 1,000 watt short wave station.

JF : But the signal would travel.

LB: But it would travel, and I heard it several times and was really fascinated with this thing. I told him about having listened to it and heard it. He said, "Well, would you be interested maybe in making a mission trip to the station 66:00just to see what the facilities are and see if there was anything that you could suggest in the way of maintenance and upkeep or what have you?" I, "Hey, yeah."

JF : Yeah, sure.

LB: Yeah, absolutely. So I ended up making 12 trips to Guatemala over the years.

JF : Wow. He really volunteered you, didn't he?

LB: Yes, he did. It stuck. It took.

JF : That's great.

LB: I'd have to say that working under those kind of conditions, I mean, we were-

JF : What were you doing?

LB: One station was up in the rainforest. Guatemala is an interesting country. It's got 12 different climate zones and 22 different indigenous people groups.

JF : In a small place.

LB: In a little place, it's about the size of Illinois.

JF : Yeah.

LB: Fascinating place. So I got to see how radio used to be because they make do with what they've got.

JF : You were doing back-building those army surplus.

LB: Yeah, back to the good old days. Radio like it used to be. I enjoyed that. So the shortwave station was located in a little place called Fray Bartolome de Las Casas, or they call it Las Casas for short, up in the rainforest of 67:00Guatemala about 175 miles from Guatemala City. By real bad road, by the way.

JF : Did you have a vehicle or you have to go on mules?

LB: Four wheel drive is required. Even then, that's not guaranteed, but there's always some walking involved. You learn to deal with that. I got familiar with the shortwave station, and at that time, they were wanting to branch into FM broadcasting because the young people, even in Guatemala, the young people are music oriented and they want to hear FM, es stereo FM. So the local Baptist 68:00churches got together and formed themselves a commission to study this, and they decided, yeah, this is something we need to do. We need to keep the young people interested in what we're doing. So they applied for a license, but this was about the time that the Guatemalan civil war was grinding down. My first trip down there, I was met at the airport by what looked like teenagers wearing military uniforms and carrying AK-47s-

JF : Wow.

LB: ... which gives you pause to wonder.

JF : It's a long way from that client studio at WHAS.

LB: Oh, wasn't it? Shortly thereafter, things got got back to an even keel, but the government decided that they would allow indigenous people groups to have FM radio stations. The long and short of it is I ended up making two trips down 69:00there and we built an FM station to go along with the shortwave station. In fact, the first FM antenna was mounted on one of the towers that supported the shortwave antenna system up on a mountainside, which was kind of interesting too. Towers, in the general sense only, they were vertical. They were sort of a support structure and they held the antennas up. Outside of that, tower is not really an adequate description of these things.

JF : Wow.

LB: But it was fun. That was fun. In fact, that was probably my downfall because several years later, my wife found a picture that the missionary had taken of me climbing those towers, and she said, "You don't climb."

JF : Another ultimatum here.

LB: "You don't climb."

JF : Wow, what a rich experience.

LB: Oh yeah.

JF : You haven't done that in a while?

LB: Last trip was six years ago.


JF : Okay.

LB: Yeah, yeah. Not because I don't want to, and not because I don't think I can, but we've got other health issues in the family that I can't be away for any time period.

JF : Yeah, but what a fascinating time.

LB: Yeah.

JF : I want to come back to two quick things here.

LB: Sure.

JF : You mentioned your transmitter experience. You had a love for that. Tell us about the day, I remember maybe there are other experiences, but I remember the day that the tower out on Flat Rock Road was blown over.

LB: Yes.

JF : And there's a 50,000 watt radio station with its tower laying down, and you guys, I think you were involved in this, weren't you, going back and getting it back on the air?

LB: Well, actually Charlie Newman was the keynote man in that project. Charlie spent hour after hour after hour out there, but he and Paul Devine was involved in it too. I did the calculations for the temporary antenna, but they ended up 71:00stringing piece of wire, literally out the window of the transmitter building and running it out to an old tower in the front of the antenna site, and they operated on that thing for several months while the new tower was being built.

JF : Joe Donovan, we interviewed Joe Donovan, and he talked about being on the air, or was off the air, and then all of a sudden they're on the air with that wire running out and getting a call from New Jersey-

LB: Yeah.

JF : ... saying, "We picked you up."

LB: Which is kind of illegal, but under emergency conditions, you can get away with that sort of thing.

JF : What a wonderful time. I want to mention one other thing. You brought a book in with you. People can't see this, but tell me about the book.

LB: Well, this is called Microphone Memoirs, and it was written by Credo Fitch Harris.

JF : Who was?

LB: Who was the first and original station manager for WHAS.

JF : He was not still around when you came was he?


LB: No, no. No. He had deceased-

JF : Had he really?

LB: Yeah, by then. If you'll notice the frontispiece, the dedication.

JF : To Robert Worth Bingham.

LB: Yeah.

JF : Tell us about Robert Worth Bingham. One of the Bingham's sons.

LB: Yup. This was the original Robert Worth Bingham.

JF : Oh, okay.

LB: So he would have been the grandfather.

JF : Oh, his was the father.

LB: Yup.

JF : Oh, okay.

LB: Yup.

JF : Sure, it would have been. Yeah.

LB: The opening paragraphs says, "When my friend, Judge Robert W. Bingham, publisher of two large and influential newspapers, later to become the American ambassador to England, telephoned me one peaceful April morning in 1922, there was evident, if restrained, excitement in his voice. 'What are you doing today?' he says. 'Finishing the ninth chapter of my next book,' I say. 'Have you seen the Courier Journal?' No.' 'Well, you may be aware of the fact that there is 73:00such a newspaper.' 'Vaguely,' he says. 'Then finish the ninth chapter. It's doubtful that it'll be terrific. Drop it off today, if you can. Meanwhile, I've sent word that the morning Courier Journal and the steamer edition,' I'm not sure what the steamer edition is, 'will have the headlines, "Radio telephone broadcast station starts."

JF : Wow.

LB: And that's how WHAS came into existence.

JF : How about that. That's great.

LB: This was in 1922.

JF : That's great.

LB: Yeah. H goes on, he has story after story and anecdote after anecdote about the early days of broadcasting of WHAS. They were rather phenomenal, even for the time, because they went on the air with 500 Watts, which was just incredibly powerful at the time.

JF : At the time, sure.

LB: Most stations then were 50 Watts, 75 Watts, and this was a 500 watt station.


JF : That's amazing.

LB: He talks about the trials and tribulations of building a radio station in a newspaper building.

JF : Sure. Presses running, as we talked about before.

LB: Yeah, it's a fascinating history.

JF : Microphone Memoirs.

LB: Yeah.

JF : Credo Fitch Harris. Very good. Well, that's a great way to end our interview. It'll come from where we started. You've shared some wonderful stories, Larry. Thank you, and, again, you were at WHAS from 1964 to 1997.

LB: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

JF : Very good. Anything you want to add? Any special memories?

LB: And I've got a little plaque to prove it.

JF : All right. It would have hung in the awards room if they'd held onto it.

LB: If they'd held onto it, yeah.

JF : You have an awards room at home?

LB: No.

JF : No?

LB: It's in the den.

JF : Very good. Very good. Well, thanks for taking the time. You've shared some wonderful stories.

LB: Well thank you.

JF : And I'm sure we'll think of more later on.

LB: Oh sure.

JF : This is great. Thanks, Larry.

LB: Thank you.