was kind enough to send us information on his time in Orlando.
I came to Orlando and "BJ-105"
(WBJW-FM 105.1) in September
of 1975 after being laid off for the yet the second time at WIVY,
Jacksonville. I replaced Chris Glendon in the afternoon drive time slot
at "BJ-105". Chris had also worked at WAPE,
Jacksonville and was very talented both on the air and in
production. In the fall of 1975 the line up at "BJ-105" was Mitchell
Stone mornings, followed by Tom
West, program director, from 10 to
noon, Terry Long, music
director, from noon to 3pm and yours truly, Dave Edwards from 3 to 7pm. The 7 to midnight slot was hosted by
Creiger...and Fast Freddy, formally of
Cocoa did the overnights. About two months after I arrived, Mike Creiger
was replaced by Bill Barber of WLOF-AM
950 fame. Bill Barber eventually would do mornings and become the program
director at "BJ". WBJW-AM 1440 was
WNBE-AM 1440, all news, and located in
the same building at 222 Hazard Street near the city owned golf course.
It's not clear in my memory if he was the news director or whether it was Jay
Frank, but one of the most gifted and kind men I have ever met, Bill
Thompson, who spent many years at WFUN
in Miami was at WNBE when I
arrived at "BJ-105".
Bill's career would take him to WDBO-AM
580 where he did news for at least 10 years. He actually suffered a heart attack
there and literally (although this may not be fact) died on the job at the
station. I think it was Jay Frank who replaced Bill when he left WNBE.
My timing was just right with my arrival at "BJ", the Arbitron
report for October/November 1975 showed "BJ-105"
number one in women 18-34 and 18-49 and number one total persons 12-34 and
12-49. We also were number one in persons 12+ Monday through Friday 3 to
7pm. Tom West, the program director, had an impressive resume having been on
the air at KOMA and WQAM
in Miami for Storz Broadcasting and then WFUN
in Miami for Rounsaville. Tom's constant companion was the latest edition of Radio
& Records magazine from which came many promotional ideas. He
was always thinking up or finding contests and promotions that didn't cost
anything like the "BJ-105"
largest sign contest. With signs of every size and
description made from every material imaginable it got the station free
advertising. Homemade signs on major highways and intersections, signs
dangling from over passes on I-4, it was just unbelievable. Tom would
eventually become national program director for Rounsaville Radio and Bill
Barber, who by then was doing mornings, became the program director
for the station. Some memorable events while at "BJ-105".
I was one the air August 14, 1977 when Elvis
Presley died. Tom West was
on the phone with a record promotion person based out of Memphis when the news
broke on Memphis radio. We went right on the air with it. By the
time the wire service, networks and local stations got the story we were
already playing Elvis records and producing a tribute. Tom
West would die ten years later, almost to the date on August 18,
1987, tragically, like Elvis, way before his time. In the summer of 1981 I was transferred to sister station WLOF-AM
had been a bit of a political upheaval at "BJ-105" with the departure of then
program director and morning man Bill
Gardner. Bill had been hired to boost the sagging ratings
which he did. He then demanded a pay increase for the air staff. I think
they fired him. And I also think he had planned it that way since he had
probably already accepted a position in a major market. I forgot where he
went, Bill Barber would know. Bill
Barber and a couple of other staff members quit when Bill Gardner
was fired.. I was sent on my way over to WLOF-AM
950 to do the midday shift and was production director.
Here is the
tale of his time at "Y106" (WHLY-FM
106.7). "...In October 1983
changed ownership and the most of the staff was let go. I joined the
production crew of WESH-TV 2 for a short while since I had been doing
voice over work for them since 1976.
August 1984 I was hired to do evenings at
96.5. "...This is where things get
interesting and it's difficult to remember which station, or format, or
shift I was doing on any given day. There were so many changes in format
and call letters on both the AM and FM. When TK
Communications of Ft. Lauderdale took over both stations, all
employees were asked to sign a very restrictive non compete contract at a
substantial cut in wages, both in air talent and sales. Since I was
already under contract with Bluegrass, the new company saw fit to
honor my current contract after a note from my attorney. I stayed (until) my
contract expired on April 1st..." "On
April 7, 1988 I started at WSSP-FM 104.1
doing afternoon drive, the format was a mix of light jazz and
instrumentals and some vocals, elevator music if you will. Very
good ratings but older demos. Sales wanted younger demos so some
tweaking of the format took place. They tweaked us right off the dial.
At 3:52PM, May 3, 1991 WSSP
became "U-104", WZTU-FM
104.1 I was sent on may way along with most of the staff (on) May 10th. That
was my last full time radio job.
I started at WWKA-FM
part time starting on 3/14/92 and at WGTO-AM
540 part time on 3/29/92 and then added WOTS-AM
1220, "the vacation station"
to the mix in September of 1994. (I) worked at all three
stations, at the same time, all part time. My last day on the radio was April
27, 1996 at "K-92 FM". Do I miss it, friends ask....well, not really...it's nice having weekends and
holidays free. I do miss radio people and the way it was during the
early years. But I have the memories."
Visit Dave's website at Dave
Edwards Radio Control Room Tours.