Saturday, June 17, 2017

Here's a 2011 "101 Reload" from Bill Edwards~

"I remember WATO and WETQ..It was still owned by Rau Radio at the time. I got my first job in radio there in 1982 after attending Russ Skinner's Professional Academy of Broadcasting and following my stint as an Antique Photos photographer at the World's Fair. I was interviewed and hired by PD Jeff Mosier, aka J.J. Jeffries. I worked the morning drive shift, which was my first experience in going to work before the sun came up -- quite a departure from my previous life as a professional student majoring in partying! The news director at the time was (Margaret?) Fifield and the station manager was Ken Mynatt, who I think I heard was working in the sheriff's department in Kingston,TN...correct me if I'm wrong. WATO is where I became an avid Braves fan after working the boards for both Braves and UT football games. I still have dreams about being on the air in that old building on the dead end Eastburn Lane in Oak Ridge -- it was dilapidated even then! I still drive by it every now and then, which probably fuels the dreams, and it is almost in shambles. The last time I was there, the old tower was lying in tall grass in the back. A few months after being hired, WATO changed its format to Big Band/Oldies or, as it was referred to by J.J., "music by dead people." Needless to say, he wasn't very happy about the change and soon left for greener pastures -- unfortunately I lost touch with him after he left. I eventually became program director at WATO and also worked infrequently on the country side (WETQ-FM). Other people I worked with before leaving included Greg Patterson, Tommy Rowe, Melanie and David Shirk, who was hired as our news director. I left WATO in 1983 to take a job as a news anchor at U102, which was still in Sevierville at the time, working for and with Roger Hawkins (News Director), David Henley, Mike Clark and Darla Medway. I remember working in the news department the day the space shuttle Challenger blew up...very sad. I also got to meet Dolly Parton and dub the original music to cassettes used by Dollywood as the park’s background music when it opened in 1986 -- it was all Dolly Parton songs as I recall. Dolly's manager had called me (I had become production manager position by then) and asked if I could work with Dolly to dub and select the songs to be used. She was going to come by the station to do it, but he told me not to tell anyone for fear of a crowd showing up. I kept the secret, sort of...about 30 minutes before she was to arrive, I decided to at least tell PD Bill Miller and Gary Downs (station manager) about it. Somehow word spread, and a crowd showed up anyway! I remember how friendly and natural Dolly was. She put me totally at ease as we worked together in the old production room in Sevierville. I remember she put her hand on my arm as we talked -- I didn't wash that arm for weeks. U102 DJ's at the time included Dave Dunaway, Tom Van Hart, Larry Trotter, Phil Jarnigan, and Mark Herzog. Later, CP and Walker and Jeff Jarnigan also joined the staff just before the station moved to Knoxville at 8419 Kingston Pike in an old bank building in front of the BooksAMillion at Walker Springs Rd. I ended up realizing I couldn't make enough money in radio to attract a wife, given that my rugged, good looks weren't doing the trick, so I went back to school and became a software developer. Now I have a wife and 2 daughters who, thankfully, look like their mother. Sorry to be long- winded, but waxing nostalgic is fun! Love the blog -- keep up the good work."