The job in North Carolina doesn’t appear on my resume.
First off, I don’t recall being there for more than 6 months. I took the job when I learned my then wife was carrying James II, although technology being what it was in those days (1973) we surely did not know “he” was a “he” until “he” came out.
Previous sentence written mostly so I could enjoy putting “he, he, he” in.
Second reason why it does not appear my resume is it would not do me any good. It was the first job I would be fired from (not the last as it turns out) but there is more to the omission.
The owner and the managers of WJNC, Jacksonville N.C. at the time were complete and utter imbeciles. To be sure I have worked for my fair share of dummies but these guys took it to a fine art.
I didn’t help my case down there much. Jacksonville N.C. is where Camp Lejeune (Pronounced “lajerne” – rhyme with tern) is. Camp Lejeune is the home of the First Marine Expeditionary Force. At the time I was negotiating for the job at WJNC the letter head of the station proclaimed “Proud home of US Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune – the largest amphibious Marine base in the world.” I should have taken that as an omen.
But it was a job that would pay me $50 more dollars weekly, which was a fortune at the time and seemed to make sense to a father to be.
It was NOT a good place for a Damn Yankee long-hair fresh out of college, never out of New England.
The disconnect became apparent after my two day drive down with U-Haul trailer in tow behind the first wife’s hulking 60’s Dodge something or other. The Program Director was to meet me at the station to give me the keys and directions to the apartment the station had secured for me.
This bozo had hired me on the basis of my audition tape, sight unseen. I had long hair, a full beard and was road hypnotized from an 800 mile trip. In the car waited the first wife with son in belly and my friend Jeff Goldfield who had hitched a ride down with us to get to Myrtle Beach.
He was clearly taken aback by buyer’s remorse when he met me. He looked around to see if it was a ventriloquist’s trick, that I wasn’t what he had hired.
Then he explained that I was to start THE NEXT MORNING (Sunday) at 6am and he was there to train me.
WJNC was one thousand watts on 1240. It was no problem. I knew how to run all associated equipment and once shown the control room and where the transmitter readings were taken I was good to go.
WRCM-FM was a different kettle of fish. FM was not an issue in 1973. Few cars had it standard (you could add an FM tuner- which will figure in my eventual demise at WJNC) and mostly it was a vast wasteland of “Beautiful Music” and Classical. WRCM-FM was an automated country format.
Automation systems were quite common on FM at the time. Later on in my career I would move the automation system on WAQY (Wacky 102!) to an AM station, WTYM and get a write up in Billboard for being the first to do so.
It was designed and built by the Schafer Automation Company. It had the music on the reel-to-reel machines and commercials and other elements on the circular devices, called “Carousels.” Each slot held a “cart” which could hold up to five minutes of material on a looped tape system similar to an 8-track.
It was NOT a computer. Far from it. It was a “Sequential Electronic Memory” device. Really just a big switching arrangement. You programmed using small switches to play an event, one after another. Because you had to identify the station with call letters and city of license once an hour within two minutes before or after the top of the hour, it had a clock that reset the elements to beginning which was the “ID” unit.
It worked OK at WKNE-FM, which was a “Beautiful Music” station with no announcement of selections names or artists and long periods of segued instrumentals by Andre Kostelanetz, Percy Faith, Mantovani, the 101 Strings, Billy Vaughn, The Living Strings, Frank Chacksfield and so on. It was terribly boring to a 20 year old just out of college who wanted to play the Rock.
The system at WRCM-FM was a little different. Either they were too cheap (most likely) to buy a real system or the engineer decided he could do it better, but this was a hodgepodge of mismatched gear and never worked right. Plus it was a nightmare to program as the brain trust at the station wanted “Personality” on their automated country station, so the announcer carts had to synch up with the music, something it did once or twice while I worked there. The rest of the time it would cheerfully tell you that the song playing was by Eddie Arnold and you would hear the latest Lynn Anderson hit. It was awful.
So there I was, road weary, dirty and only wanting to move into my new apartment and this guy was looking at me like I was a bug and laboring to explain this system, which as it turned out, he knew little about.
It was not an auspicious beginning and it did not get better.
NEXT: The first, and very nearly my last day at WJNC.
The Rant D’Jour is about a deer, a doe, a female deer.
It was a strange Sunday morning and it just kept getting weirder. As we walked into the supermarket…more