The Rock Of Harrisburg . . .

Changes and the Lou Raymond Story . . .

1973 brought the following staff changes: Jim Roberts departed afternoon drive, opening up the shift for the legendary John St. John.

John St. John Jingles
Roberts was to return less than six months later to fill the 6 pm - mid shift when John Summers departed for Florida. Big Jim was among the first of many jocks who was to return to WKBO. He reigned as KBO's night jock until he departed for Providence and 92 PRO FM in April of 1979.
Jim Roberts Jingles
Overnight man Lou Raymond got the career break of a lifetime when he was hired to be night jock on Washington's WPGC. Here's Lou (Dan Steele), in his own words, on how he started running Sunday morning tapes on WKBO and ended up at WPGC:
"I grew up in Trenton NJ and listened to WABC, WIBG, and WFIL when they came along. I wanted to get into Radio when I got out of the service and I took a correspondence course from Career Academy. I would send them tapes and get great feedback from them. However when I compared my tapes to what I heard on the radio, there was no comparison. The jocks at the stations I listened to where much better than me. So I gave up and went to work for the Southland Corporation (7-11 Stores) I worked my way up to store manager in a short period of time and did that for a couple of years. Some friends of ours bought a home in Dillsburg and we came out to Central Pa to help them move. While I was out here over a weekend, we stopped at a 7-11 store on Simpson Ferry Rd. in Mechanicsburg. I found out the store was available for franchise and my wife and I decided to buy it and move out here. Once I moved out here I started listening to WFEC which at the time was the top station in the area. After listening for a short time I realized there was a BIG difference between the Harrisburg Stations and the New York and Philly stations I grew up listening to. I thought back to the tapes I had made for Career Academy and realized it was comparable to what I was hearing on the radio in Harrisburg and decided to try and get into broadcasting out here on a part time basis. I met Doug McKay who was doing afternoons on WKBO and he recommended I go back to broadcasting school and get my license. I commuted to The American Academy of Broadcasting in Philadelphia a couple of nights a week, graduated got my license and a part time job at WKBO running tapes on Sunday mornings for $1.60 AN HOUR, BUT HEY ... I WAS IN RADIO! Bob Alexander took the station top 40 overnight as I remember it. He thought WFEC was vulnerable and decided to change WKBO to "The Rock of Harrisburg". I was working part time when it happened and then was offered the overnight show. I think that was around August of 72, anyway I did overnights for a couple of months and then was offered 6 - 12 midnight. At the time my son was 3 years old and my wife was a nurse in the emergency room at Holy Spirit Hospital working the 3 - 11 shift. I would watch our son until she came home from work and then I would leave to do overnights. We would have needed to pay a baby-sitter if I had taken the new shift so I turned it down because of economic reasons and stayed on the overnight shift. I was content to work the all night shift and learn as much as I could from Bob Alexander. I used to get off the air at 6 am and then pick Alexander's brain all morning long while he was on the air about production and just about any radio questions I could think of. Most days I stayed at the station till almost 10 am before going home to rest. Back then I needed to get up at 2:30 in the afternoon to watch my son while my wife went to work. In February of 73 a guy who did nights at WFEC got a gig at CKLW and it blew me away. I thought I'm as good as he was so I decided to send airchecks to every major station I could think of. Well low and behold, Harv Moore called me from WPGC and invited me to come down to Washington for an audition. I went down did some production for them and a pretend show in their production room. Interviewed with Harv and the GM Bob Howard and they offered me the 6-10 pm show for twice the amount of money I was making in Harrisburg. I was on my way to the major market after only 6 months full time."
Rick Shockley took over Midnight to 6 when Dan left.
Rick Shockley Jingles
WKBO also moved the tower and transmitter in 1973. The Penn Harris Hotel, condemned in late 1972 and designated for demolition, was set to come down mid 1973. The only problem was that WKBO was still broadcasting from its rooftop. Word is that Al dame had to get an injunction to prevent the demolition until the tower could be relocated. Al was finally able to move the transmitter and tower to Harrisburg's City Island. This move greatly increased the station's signal. The superior conductivity of the riverbed, however, forced a cut back in operating power from 1000 watts day/250 night to 702 watts day/170 watts to protect WITH Baltimore. This sight was far superior to the former Hotel rooftop and KBO remained on the Island until the late 1990s, when Mayor Stephen Reed wanted to develop it into an entertainment complex called "Kahounaville". The tower was moved to a sight on Progress Avenue, behind the State Farm Show Complex and it remains there to this day. Kahounaville never happened.
WKBO's Hitline number was always easy to remember.
The last 4 digits were the year. Through the years they were as follows: 232-1972, 232-1973, 232-1974, then 232-1975. During the Bicentennial, there were two numbers promoted: 561-1976 and 561-1776. In 1977, the request line was changed to the frequency: 561-1230.
1973 also was the beginning of Harrisburg's first airborne traffic reports. "Airwatch One" took to the air in February 1973 with Bob Abernathy providing reports in Morning and Bob Alexander in Afternoon Drive. Captain Edwards took over the reports a short time later. Dave always ended his reports with "Captain Dave, Airwatch One, clear". On the days when they couldn't put the plane up, Captain Dave was in "Ground Control".

Coming Up: The Shock goes and comes and the Rock leaves Downtown!

Jeff Roteman's WKBO Website