The Rock Of Harrisburg . . .

The Shock goes and comes and the Rock leaves Downtown!

In 1974, tired of working overnights, Rick Shockley left KBO to do news at WFEC. Dennis John Cahill briefly replaced him in overnights. One of the legends of the era goes like this: Dennis had a bad habit of coming in late for his midnight to 6 shift. Jim Roberts, himself already pulling a six-hour airshift, was not happy about this. One day, he was so fed up that he allegedly went to Alexander and demanded Cahill be fired. Alexander, in his wisdom said to Big Jim: "O.K., I'll let you fire him" Jim, by then calmed down replied: "Well, why don't you just talk to him about it" Alexander supposedly said: "that's what I thought you wanted me to do". Several weeks later, after Cahill did not mend his ways, Roberts went in to Alexander and said: "Alright, already, I'll fire him"
Alexander replied: "no, that's O.K. I'll fire him. I'd just had to see it had really gotten that bad". Cahill was fired and Shock soon returned. WKBO was already becoming the station more people came back to.

In late 1974 or early 1975, WKBO finally packed it in downtown, leaving its digs at 31 North Second Street where it been for close to 40 years. With some memories on the old studios, Dan Steele:

"Working the all night show at 31 North Second was a trip. We were on the 3rd floor of the "Roy Rogers" building (they had a restaurant on the first floor). The 2nd floor was The Pa. Addictive Disease office and there were many nights I would have to climb over a drunk or a junkie sleeping in the stairwell outside their office. We always kept the 3rd floor door to the station locked after hours because you never knew who might try to get in. I remember one night coming out of the studio and finding a guy walking around in the office. He was wearing a jean jacket and jeans with a sweatshirt and he looked pretty scruffy. I told him I didn't know how he got in but he would have to leave right away or I would be forced to call the police! He looked at me and said "I got in by using my key, I'm Mike Rea and I own this station"! Blew me away he was a unique guy who owned a lot of buildings in Pittsburgh and basically had Al Dame running the Harrisburg Property for him." 
Al Dame moved the station to 411 South 40th Street, just outside the city in Lower Swatara Township. The new studios were located in the United Republic Life Building on a hill overlooking Paxton Street, the I-83 Expressway and the old Keystone Drive In Theatre, just down the street from Harrisburg East Mall. The new facility was much newer and roomier. The North side of the building was all glass. The control room was on that side of the building so that the jock could see the traffic. The station also upgraded equipment in the move, replacing the 1938 Western Electric Board with a brand new 12 channel RCA. KBO stayed in this location until the mid 1980s when it relocated to the USF&G Building on Front Street briefly before moving to a remodeled doctor's office on Green Street in the late 1980s. It, of course, is now located with the other Harrisburg Clear Channel Stations on Progress Avenue. Metaphorically, KBO had done in the 70s what retail had been doing. They left the downtown for the mall.

Next: the Rock goes away, but doesn't crumble ... Music Radio WKBO

Jeff Roteman's WKBO Website