("your intrepid leader," to his audience) is quite a personality - a talented
showman . . . a way-out entertainer . . . and a young man with a versatile
a background as you could ask for. His broad education and almost boundless
interests have developed a tremendous source of material for his daily
morning program on Pittsburgh's KQV, . . . An avid antique bug, he once
sent Pittsburghers scurrying to their attics when he offered a large reward
to the first person bringing him a genuine Early Victorian goat-milking
stool. . . . An acquaintance with biology was fundamental to his A.S.E.N.I.N.E.
organization - the American Society to Eliminate Nudity in Insects, Nematodes
and Echinoderms. The drive produced an overflow of Bermuda shorts for grasshoppers,
shortie nighties for starfish and riding breeches for junebugs (sent in
by his listeners and avid fans) which were made into a window display outside
the KQV studios. You can imagine the crowds that drew! . . . A native of
Vinton, Virginia, Jim majored in literature at Roanoke College in Salem.
Eventually he intended to teach. However, when looking for a summer job
one year, he auditioned for a role in a local outdoor drama. The play was
"Thy Kingdom Come." Jim won the part of "Chief Villain, the Roman Centurion."
Each night for the summer run, Jim had his shield buckled on by the property
director, a Connecticut Yankee by the name of Sue Hinkley from nearby Hollins
College. Two years later, Sue became Mrs. James Edward Gearhart. . . .
While Jim was taking part in the summer drama, a local radio station manager
heard him and offered him a morning show on his station. At 5 A.M. the
Monday, The Gearhart Broadcasting Career began. But without knowledge of
consoles, turntables or "how you make the records play." So, in trouper
style, Jim talked for several hours . . . until help arrived. Hoarse but
enthralled, he fell in love with the microphone. And it was that ad-lib
morning gabfest which set the tone of his style and approach as he has
kept to this day - his belief that the spoken word is more important the
musical note. An example of the Gearhart style: "Listen to the late movie
tonight, 'I Was a Teenage Spirochete,' the intimate saga of the life and
loves of Louis Pasteur. Starring Sal Mineo as Dr. Pasteur, with Haley Mills
as Ben Casey, Tuesday Weld as Albert Schweitzer and special guest star
Fats Domino as . . . The Mayo Clinic." This is the whimsical approach of
Jim Gearhart. Once you tune him in you can't tune him out! . . . His current
passion is Colonial architecture and American antiquity. He recently purchased
an early nineteenth-century farmhouse twenty miles north of Pittsburgh,
and is deeply immersed in restoring the home to its original condition.
His other hobbies" Reading . . . a variety of subjects ranging from Oriental
drama to S.J. Perelman. And music . . . which is an integral part of his
everyday work. . . . Jennifer, four; Jimmy, two; and their constant companions
- "Brandy," an Irish setter, and "Miss Purr," the aging family cat - round
out the Gearhart household. . . . Of his work, Jim believes he has the
perfect job. "Nothing can offer the daily excitement, interest and brush
with creativity that broadcasting can. . . and still give you the spare
time to chase down your other interests in life." . . . That's James E.
Gearhart - talented . . . busy . . . witty . . . and way-out (way, way