Thursday, October 01, 2015

'Possum remembers WKGN~

One of my favorites involves Bob Crenshaw, who managed the station and was a master salesman. He came back from a sales call to get a message from a new car dealer to cancel his spots because he was placing his business on 10000 watt WNOX, instead of 1000 watt WKGN. Crennie blew into the dealership, walked past the secretary who was trying to stop him and stood before the dealer's desk. 
"Now, you can put your spots on any station you want to," Crenshaw said, looking at the WNOX business card still on the man's desk. "But you need to know what you've bought into." Crenshaw put down his own card and pointed to the "10 kw" notation on the WNOX card. "You've put your money on a station that only broadcasts with 10 kilowatts.
"Look here," he said, pointing to a line on his own card. "WKGN has a thousand watts. A thousand, not just 10! I just thought you ought to know that." The dealer picked up the phone, called WNOX, canceled its spots and said he never wanted to see their salesman in his office again. He told Crennie to put his spots back on the air at WKGN.
Another involves the still-living, but I think I can get by with it.
Eddie Beacon (yo' swingin' deacon) did the night show in 1969-70, during the time I came in as a midday jock and became the program director. Before his show began, Eddie would go next door to Brownie's restaurant (home of mett and beans) and buy at least three Falstaff tall cans of beer. He'd line them up on top of the console and start rockin' at 6 p.m. His program started out strong and only got better from there. I think the beer had a positive effect.
WKGN moved from 22nd and Cumberland on "the UT Strip" to the second floor of a Hamilton Bank building on the Alcoa Highway in 1970. It lost its funk in the move. Gone were the days when a jock would go into the production studio and have to throw things to chase a rat from atop the console (was there, did that) and work in an on-air studio that never saw a vacuum cleaner. While we would have liked a remodel, the move to tall cotton pulled us off the strip and waaaaay down the road. Too far, it would turn out. When engineer Bob Goodman ("Goodie") switched over the line connection at the transmitter at 6 p.m., the air monitor sounded like we were trying to listen in Chattanooga. WKGN's little old 250-watt night signal was beyond the receiver's ability. We listened to the studio monitor until Goodie installed a feed line off of the transmitter's final stage the next day. We literally had to "pipe" the night signal to the new studio location. I looked through the packing boxes for the funk factor, but we had failed to move it.

Here's Possum on you,
 Possum Riley
 Middays/PD 1969/70