Friday, May 31, 2013

Congrats to the Lady Vols for defeating the Gators in game one of the two is tonight!

We close out the month of May with a 101 Reload from one of our favorites, Dave Foulk! Dave sent us this post back in 2008...

Nearly forty years and eighty pounds ago, I pulled off a toenail curling prank on a co-worker at the old WEZK studios on Sharps Ridge.

WEZK was fully automated with one of those giant IGM setups. It had eight Scully tape decks, three carousels, some other machinery, a card reader, timer, and clock all in one long line of bright blue and gray racks. The station had planned for expansion, and had an extra rack in the line. It only had a few wires running through it and a person could easily fit inside. You can probably see the opportunities appearing already.

The station was an easy listening format that played things like 'A Thousand And One Strings Play The Beatles", or "Enoch Light and The Light Brigade in Quadraphonic Sound". At night, the music became even softer with a lot of string ensembles, etc. loaded onto the eight decks. It was an ideal place for a college student like me. The station didn't mind if I studied or did school work on the 5PM until 1AM shift.

One night, for some reason, my co-worker Bruce Owen was in the building during my shift. Bruce had been a high school friend and fellow musician, and I had a reasonable belief that his heart was healthy.

While Bruce was upstairs on the television studio level getting a soda from the machine, I had the idea to scare the bejeebers out of Bruce. I went to the back of the automation system, opened the door to the big, empty rack, and squeezed in.

Bruce apparently didn't miss me. I waited. And waited. I let him get all settled in with his chips and pop and his school book. The soft violins were playing to the click, click, click of the automation clock.

Then, I took a big deep breath and let out the most blood curdling scream I could manage. Invisible bejeebers shot out from every orifice in Bruce's body. He was looking around to see what in the name of Montovani was going on...when I screamed again.

From that evening on, both of us would open the cabinet door and check every time we went into that room.

My turn came one night when I was doing production in the cement-walled studio. The Collins board, by the way was one of the strangest I have ever operated. It used some kind of new technology for the that was abandoned, I believe. That board was not near as good as the old RCA BC6 at WBIR that I ran in later days. But I am digressing.

I was dubbing in my commercials and setting the encoding and change tones and all the other attendant mess that went with the automation. The studio had a big picture window that was nice during the day, but sometimes a little spooky at night because you were inside all lit up. Howard Oberholtzer was one of the technicians who worked upstairs at WTVK-TV. Howie, a Cedar Bluff neighbor of mine, walked in the dark all the way to the back of the station and stood still in my window until I glanced up. Not expecting to see a face, I nearly wet my linen.

And speaking of the old WTVK-TV- How many people remember Johnny Mountain and his role as Bozo The Clown?

Finally this quiz: Can anybody name the WEZK morning jock who also had a LIVE television show on Channel 26?

This blog is a wonderful read. I enjoy every story and sidebar about this town's great broadcast history.