The new releases show continued into the 90′s with Jim Cooley, Music Director,
along with Chris Perry, Jeff Ruznic (?) and Lori Edwards.
Jim took his music seriously.
He was a member of the Blue Meanies, along with Bill Sollidor.
Chris Perry later took over for Jim as Music Director.
Here, on the New Releases show, February, 1991, Jim and the crew play an amusing spot for WIDB classified Valentines. Anybody know how popular these were?
The first Presidential Election WIDB covered was in November ’72.
Throughout the ’70s and most of the ’80s WIDB maintained a substantial and industrious news department. Under News Director Cliff Albert, newspersons were dispatched to Senator (Puchinski/Percy), Governor (Walker/Ogilvie), President (Nixon/McGovern) candidates’ campaign headquarters in Chicago.
Correspondents included Chris Bury (now at ABC TV Network News), Walt Leisering and Todd Cave (now at Turner Broadcasting/Time-Warner), Mike Slabik, Debbie Santarelli, Bob Comstock, and Rick Bronars.
There were live reports from WIDB reporters stationed in Chicago, Springfield, and in Jackson County. Anchoring the coverage at WIDB were Allan J. Friedman, Tom Cooper, and Cliff Albert. On election night, WIDB’s regular programming was pre-empted for over four hours by election coverage. Here are some short edited highlights.
This is a rare example of “ad-hoc” on-air production that got recorded and survived.
In 1972, SIU was still on quarters, not semesters. Spring Quarter started in March and finished about June 10. Robbie did the morning show (7-10am) every other day during the week. This included holidays, so on Monday, May 30, 1972 (Memorial Day), after a long night of partying, Robbie had to get his butt down to the station and do his show.
Long before the “Morning Zoo” concept was invented, some of the members would drop in on Robbie’s show to do various bits.
One of them was “traffic reports” done by “Flying Officer Irwin Corey.”
Officer Corey (actually Jim Rohr) had noticed how the old UPI (news) teletype machine had a rhythmic sound just like a helicopter. So, Jim decided to get on the telephone and lean into the clickity-clacking UPI machine and do his traffic reports “live from the WIDB ‘copter.” (And it really sounded good, too!) Remember, it was Memorial Day, and Jim had enjoyed a long party night too.
There was no plan or script; he made it up as he went along.
To provide background, Mae Smith and Neely were female-only dorms, and men were not allowed to remain overnight. Men who did had to use the stairways and exit the emergency (side) doors. “VTI,” was later renamed as the “School of Technical Careers.”
The only problem with using the UPI machine was that it would suddenly and unpredictably stop typing. Totally improvising, Jim runs out of material just as this happens. Listen to how he responds on this aircheck from WIDB, 8:40 am, May 30, 1972.
The very first fully live in the studio episode. Floss Daily (Pete Jacobs) stars as the conductor – Floss saved the day…I just could not come up with an adventure idea all week. At about 4pm that Friday Floss stopped into the station….sensed my impending doom and remarked….. you are going to take a train and I’m your conductor! A tad past 5pm we were finished in production studio…and I was busy typing script in the sales office (yes on a real typewriter….no computers back then). This episode was so quickly thrown together and then it turned out to be one of the most entertaining (at least for Rankin as I always have difficulties making sure carts are cued!).
The very last station stop on the train ride has a really good remembrance on my part. Conductor Daily voiced together a cart of several train stops that ended with the last one you hear…..and I knew that one was the very last one. Problem was I really did not remember the order of the stops and I desired to end the episode with that particular train stop….thus a “reason” for the drawn out silly discussion with Rankin and all those extra train stops. Rankin finally had enough of me (the scheduled 5 minute segment turning into almost 10 minutes) and wanted me out of “his” studio to get on with “his” music programming. So when Rankin went back to his regular gig and spun the Iggy Pop tune on the turntable….I swiftly got up from my news chair, walked over to the board, reached over him and hit the green button on the cart machine one last time. Rankin went completely nuts and scolded “don’t you ever touch my board again!!” The cart pot was still up and honestly it’s an unadulterated WIDB moment that final train stop was cued up on the cart – and boy does the finish back to the music sound absolutely fantastic……all good karma….completely by chance!!
The show’s sponsor Two Smart Cookies is highlighted and subsequent episodes also contains this commercial. Voice credits/production – Floss Daily featured as Holmes and Dave The Rave (Dave Linke) as Watson.
I never knew until this day that Eric Clapton is Rankins’ father.
Episode was in part inspired by bomb scares on train rides home…Carbondale to Union Station and then to Downers Grove…back in the early 80’s I remember getting evacuated from the Amtrak train in the middle of nowhere south of Champaign and north of Mattoon because of some phone call threat.
Dale Gardner spent many creative years at WIDB, as Music Director, Program Director and General Manager. But a recently unearthed “lost tape” of Dale’s early production involvement in Wright I clearly demonstrates the emerging genius. We suspect Alan Matthews, and others, were involved here but we do not have the whole story.
Here are two the 2 rediscovered promos for the “Ralph Edmunds Brown Bag Lunch Hour,” circa 1986. What did this show sound like? Does anyone have tapes?