Chris tells a great story about his life in Central Florida radio and beyond.
"My grandparents lived in Pine Hills from 1958 to 1972 and I used to visit them every summer vacation from 1958 through 1964. Just getting into my teen years, I of course listened to Top 40 radio in those days. I first listened to
WHOO(-AM 990), mainly because my
grand folks lived "around the corner" from WHOO across the Pine Hills Country Club golf course.
When you sat at their dining room table, you could look out with a clear shot of
In the late 50's I visited WHOO at their downtown studio and met a DJ named Frank Lynn.
I never knew what happened to him after he left. I also met
Rock Robinson, who was a member of my grandparent's church,
St. Andrews, in Pine Hills. Later in 1965, I spent some time at the transmitter site studio on Silver Star Rd. with "Wild" Bill Carter.
He autographed a promotional copy of Freddy Cannon's Greatest Hits LP on Warner Brothers Records,
which I still have in my collection today.
In 1965 I enrolled at Rollins College and immediately became involved with
WPRK-FM 91.5. I was taking the broadcasting courses offered at the time and eventually got paid to handle some weekend air shifts because I was so "gung ho" and totally wrapped up in radio (even though it was classical music!).
The teacher and Station Manager at the time was a grand old gentleman named Marcus P. Frutchey.
Apparently, Rollins hired him after Ben Aycrigg became a successful TV anchor and left the college.
Frutchey, according to what he told me, had been an engineer with the NBC Radio Network for 33 years before he decided to retire to Florida.
Because of his knowledge and
experience, Rollins hired him to run the station and teach the broadcast courses.
Unfortunately, age caught up with him and he passed away in 1970. I attended his funeral at Rollins.
By that time, I was long gone from Rollins, having entered the world of commercial radio broadcasting in 1967 here in my home area of suburban Cleveland, Ohio.
My fondest memories of radio in the Orlando area were of WLOF(-AM
950). Like WHOO, I began listening to WLOF in 1958 and listened every time I visited.
It was while at Rollins in 1965 that I met Sir Arthur Knight (real name Carroll Hendricks) who was attending night school at Rollins. I looked him up one night on a break, we became friends and he invited me over to
WLOF when he was on the air on the weekend (Sunday Noon to 6 I think).
I loved the place and quickly got to know Bill Vermillion, Johnny Gee
(Jim Ivey), Pat O'Day,
Greg Masters, Allen Shades,
Don Colee, Charley the WLOF Girl and PD
Since I was in class during the day and (Bill) Vermillion was on in the evenings,
I began spending all my spare time there, becoming one of the WLOF "Gofers".
Rip the news copy, grab a bottle of pop, cue up a record while the jock is in the
john and all the usual stuff. Vermillion was a lot of fun to be around and I learned a lot from him about Top 40 music selection and programming.
I have one of the original white on black WLOF license plates in my collection along with a few of the "Funderful Forty Action Surveys".
story, it was early 1966 I think and WLOF was celebrating its 25th anniversary with lots of live local concerts among other things.
I think it was a Friday night because Vermillion was on air and couldn't be there,
that the station had a concert at Colonial Plaza in front of J.C. Penney's. The stage where the bands performed was a big,
long flatbed trailer parked in front of the store. Johnny Gee had come off stage and squeezed between the trailer and a vehicle to come over and talk with me and a few others.
What he didn't know was that when he squeezed through the small opening, the back of his nice bright red
WLOF blazer brushed up against the
trailer hitch, leaving a huge black streak of grease across his back.
next thing I know, Tom Thacker (one of the many
Peter Jays) and I are driving all over Orlando looking for K2R spot remover.
We found a couple of tubes of the stuff at a 7-11 I think and rushed back to the concert.
We quickly globbed the stuff all over Johnny's blazer, let it set for a few minutes,
and then scrub brushed it out. You could tell it had some kind of stain,
but the big grease smear was gone and Johnny could go back into action. Those guys were all great to be with and there was a lot of camaraderie at
I am forever grateful for their encouragement and friendship and I will always treasure the times I spent with them at
After hopelessly getting the radio bug and leaving Rollins (College) and WPRK in 1966, I have been working steadily in radio. I have been fortunate to work at some legendary Cleveland radio stations such as
WIXY 1260 and WGAR 1220 , and more recently WMJI
"Majic 105.7" where I held #1 ratings 25-54 in the 7-Midnight slot in the mid-90's.
Over the years I have been a jock, PD, MD, and Chief Engineer and have been fortunate to work with radio legends such as
Charlie Tuna, the late Charlie
Greer, Joey Reynolds, the late
Morton Downey, Jr. and others.
I am currently Chief Engineer of WABQ 1540 in Cleveland and also WRTK
1540 in Niles, Ohio, and am about to take over as Station Manager of WBKC 1460 in Painesville, Ohio for the same owner."
"... And to think this all started for me because of WHOO, WLOF, and WPRK
some 46 years ago !!! "