|Music Radio WKBO
. . .
in the Bicentennial year . . .
|The first three years of
WKBO's Top 40 format had been filled with great growth and prosperity.
The station consistently had scored 12 + shares in mid teens, a solid #2
behind WHP, a station whose only real asset was perennial King of Harrisburg
Mornings, Ron Drake. Besides, KBO was number one across the board in demos
under 35. They got a new transmitter site, long awaited new studios and
had turned an also-ran underdog into a winner, while doing some pretty
darn compelling radio.
||Then, in the
Summer of 1975, Bob Alexander left the station creating a void for both
a morning show and a program director. Al Dame decided on hiring Dan Steele,
who had spent the last 2 + years at WPGC in Washington. Dan was also the
same guy who had worked at KBO using the name Lou Raymond. Dan's first
order of business was changing the positioner from "The Rock Of Harrisburg"
to "Musicradio". Here's Dan to explain:
During the "Rock Of Harrisburg",
one of the tools in Bob Alexander's arsenal was speeding up the music slightly
to make your competitor seem "draggy" by comparison. The was achieved by
put splicing tape around the capstan of the turntable. For consistency,
engineer Gary McGill went as far as having custom capstans milled for that
purpose. When Dan got there, he returned the music to the correct speed.
Here's Dan with more:
|"During the time I was in
Washington I maintained a friendship with most of the people I had worked
with in Harrisburg and I had really enjoyed working for Al Dame. I decided
it was time for me to learn management if I was going to make a long term
career out of radio. I had already made it in a big city and knew I could
compete there, so I was ready to settle down and look for a nice place
to raise a family. Al made me an offer to "come back home" and be the PD.
It was great to come back and work with people I liked and respected for
what they had already accomplished after my departure.WKBO had really kicked
some butt with "the Rock of Harrisburg" so I did not want to upset the
apple cart with a lot of drastic changes. I felt that their name was somewhat
limiting however and if we wanted to grow the station more and increase
adult listening, we might be better served by using the same "Music Radio"
logo that was being used so successfully in Washington as well as Chicago
and other city's. So I got a budget from Al Dame that would allow us to
buy new jingles."
The first WKBO Music
Radio jingle package was produced in Dallas
"I also got Al to allow me to
give each of my on air staff a raise. Not a big one but I thought it was
important to show these people that I wanted them to be part of my team
and I valued their input. Bob Alexander had left the station, which opened
a hole in morning drive. Al and I had decided to give the morning
show to John St John because he was the top guy in the market and had developed
a huge following in afternoon drive. I was going to do afternoons
and John mornings. We tried this for a couple of weeks but John had some
health issues develop and we needed to give him some time off. I jumped
in to AM drive to fill in and when John was ready to come back to work
it was mutually decided that he would go back to his old afternoon drive
slot and I would stay in mornings working with Carol Crissey who was doing
the news. Well I soon found that Carol had become very popular by doing
a couple of 5 minute news casts an hour and interacting with the morning
man just a couple of times an hour. I decided if Carol was that popular
why don't we use her for the whole hour and get some one else to do the
news. Well that was the birth of "Steele and Crissey" and Harrisburg's
by The Sundance Organization.
You can play a sample below.
|The Sundance Organization
happy with the changes we had
implemented and decided he wanted to do something else with his life and
so he moved on. I started looking for a new midday guy and found Jim Buchanan
doing the all night show in Cleveland at WGAR. Jim had also worked major
market radio and had got that bug out of his mind and wanted to come back
home to Pa. He was originally from Robesonia and fit right in with my plans
to make WKBO sound like a major market station with a major market attitude.
Jim had a great voice, excelled in the production room and was into music,
jingles and "the sound of the station".
full time morning team was on the air. What fun
we had, she was very talented
and it became a legendary show of sorts.The next change was midday's, Charlie
Adams was not
|"When I came back to Harrisburg
the first thing I noticed was the music had been sped up. One of the first
things Bob Alexander had done when the station went top 40 was speed up
the turntables just a bit. He wanted to make us a little snappier than
WFEC. Well WFEC figured it out so they sped up their turntables a little
bit to sound snappier than us. Then Bob said "oh yea' listen to this" and
he had the engineer speed ours up a little more and of course they said
"oh yea listen to this" back and forth it went. Well they whole thing
had gotten out of hand so when I came in I told our engineer to get the
table's back to 45rpm right away. Well suddenly our station sounded like
a major market station and WFEC sounded Mickey Mouse."
Roteman's WKBO Website