|As a kid growing up south
of Erie, Pa. and playing disk jockey in my bedroom it was natural for anyone
who ever did this to find a radio station to mimic. After spending
the summer of 1976 at my uncle's farm in West Newton, Pa. and listening
to 1250/WTAE while working in and out of the barn all day... I was hooked
and fell in love. This radio station at the time had the greatest
personality lineup that I had ever heard... from waking up with O'Brien
and Garry to falling asleep to Johnny Williams and Susie Barbour.
After this love affair started, so did my desire to be just like them.
Remember, I'm a kid at this point, 12 to 13 years old. I was able through my father to start on air at WCTL in Union City, Pa. And even when I first started in Erie at 16, I had a daily routine. Drive about 80 miles a day to where I could pick up WTAE's signal and tape 2 to 3 hours of Don Berns' show, then come back and do his stuff on my show. From delivering one liners from joke services like Contemporary Comedy to picking the hits hits that WTAE played, the guy could do no wrong in my book.
The programming was spearheaded by Mark Roberts. A lot of people told me it was Captain Showbiz Ted Atkins. He may have been the leader, but it was Mark Roberts who along with the personalities that made it shine. I will never forget and have collected the great songs that WTAE played including a lot of the one hit wonders like Charlie Dore's "Pilot Of The Airwaves", "Gold" by John Stewart and Stevie Nicks, "Why Not Me" By Fred Knobloch, "Lady" and "Take It Easy On Me" by the Little River Band, "Suddenly" teaming Olivia Newton-John with Cliff Richard, and who could forget the one hit wonder "More Than Just The Two Of Us" by Sneaker. The Music, The Jingles, The Slogans, The Personalities and The Flow made WTAE ... More Than Just A Radio Station ! For me it was a motivation . . . A Way Of Life !
With the resurgence of 70's and soon to follow 80's music ... A station like WTAE would do very well. Stations like The Point 100.7 in Pittsburgh may bring back the music of the 70's, but the can never duplicate the feeling. And the should try . . . Why can't they try ? Because consultants rule the day . . . Another person in another market telling you what is successful for your market . . . I Don't Think So ! If you want to be successful, If you want your listeners to relive the 70's, then bring back O'Brien and Garry, Don Berns, Jackson Armstrong and the others. Let the personalities take control and watch what happens.
From 1973 to 1987,
Rhythm Of The City Was WTAE !
It Will Never Be Duplicated Again !
Chris Lash has spent the last 20 years in and out of radio in the Central Pennsylvania region. As GM of WPXZ/WECZ in Punxsutawney, Station Manager of the Forever Broadcasting Group in Altoona, PA, Owner of 1400 WEBG in Loretto, PA, Sales Manager, Program Director and News Director of Indiana based radio stations U 92 and WDAD. Prior to that he programmed and worked on air in Pittsburgh, Erie, Buffalo and Charleroi, PA. Chris was also the President of Godstock Ministries Inc, owner and operator of Christian Hit Radio 103.7 The Switch in Indiana, PA, and 96.7 The Switch in Zephyrhills, Florida. Chris has owned many radio stations over the years. He also has produced wrestling TV shows. He is living in Tennessee now.