|1979 started out inauspiciously.
For the first time in three years, there was no new jingle package to debut.
WKBO continued with the Positron/Logoset jingles. Disco was definitely
at its peak and WKBO whole-heartedly embraced it, even going as far as
having a mix show on Saturday night called "Studio 1230". At the same time,
WFEC had a show every night called "Studio 14". It was around this time
that a logo was instituted. It read WKBO/1230 and made no mention of Musicradio
on it. New bumper stickers were distributed with the slogan: WKBO/1230
Ain't It Great!
A major snafu occurred when
the same ad agency that created it, did an exact duplicate logo for WSBA-FM
(Now WARM). It wouldn't have been so bad because the stations weren't in
the same market, but WSBA-FM had purchased a bunch of billboards in Harrisburg,
so this look a-like logo was plastered all over the Capital City.
The big event in 1979 was
the near meltdown of The Three Mile Island Nuclear plant. WKBO was at the
forefront of coverage of this disaster. On March 28, 1979, while out in
his Traffic Watch vehicle, Captain Dave Edwards observed irregularities
with one of the TMI cooling towers. He immediately made some phone calls,
setting into motion the drama that became America's worst nuclear accident.
Dave's discovery is part of the congressional record of the TMI disaster.
Mike Pintek, Joe Wambach and the news department went into emergency mode
and provided updates around the clock. WKBO won numerous awards for its
coverage of TMI.
The KBO meltdown was about to
begin. In early April, Dan Steele resigned to become PD at KTSA, San Antonio.
Dan lived near TMI and because he couldn't sell his house, he was back
in Harrisburg by fall, programming WFEC. He changed the format there from
disco to an urban contemporary format. Several weeks after Dan left, Big
Jim Roberts, who had been at KBO since the beginning of the Rock of Harrisburg
with the exception of 6 months back in 1973, resigned to go to WPRO-FM
in Providence, Rhode Island. Tim Burns was hired from WAHT and paired with
Heidi Kramer, who also had worked there.
Three Mile Island
It was rumored that Tim and
Heidi didn't particularly get along well and that she had left WAHT to
get away from him. Rick Shockley was moved up to the 6 - 10 PM shift and
Chris Andree was promoted to 10 PM - 2 AM. Part timer Matt Michaels was
hired to fill the 2 - 6 AM shift. Jim Buchanan was named as Program Director.
||Burns & Kramer Jingles
By early summer,
KBO did buy some new jingles,
However, now the station was
using fewer jingles than ever, sometimes just 2 or 3 an hour, many times
talking out of commercials without a jingle as a buffer. They had been
named "Station Of The Year" at Bobby Poe's Pop Music Convention and had
incorporated that slogan into the top of the hour Legal I.D. jingle.
The Spring 1979 Arbitron ratings
were not kind to WKBO. Maybe it was the personnel changes, maybe it was
the polarizing disco music, but more than likely it was more erosion by
FM stations. Even the TMI situation didn't help buoy ratings as it occurred
one month before the start of the then annual, 4-week survey. There also
was a rumor at the time that WHP radio was handing out flyers that said
"tune to your official EBS station, WHP, for emergency updates", that could
have influenced ratings. The 12 + numbers dropped from a 13.5 to a 9.9,
by far the lowest in the Top 40 era.
the JAM Prom-Mod package.