Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Whitey . . . Member of Ko-Op’s Incoming Class of ’64

Russ White and Gary Cook first began working at the Ko-Op at the beginning of fall quarter in 1964. I started work there by early November. Other ’64 high school grads, Ken Kirby and Gus Pekara later came on board.

I still remember how surprised I was when Russ left EIU in 1967 to enlist in the Army.

After boot camp training, Russ spent 1968 and began '69 in Vietnam. He was assigned to the 3/82 Artillery, 196th Light Infantry Brigade. In February, He was blown up on a landing zone (LZ) south of Danang. After recovering from wounds, Russ was assigned for eight months to a burial team out of Ft. Lewis (Near Tacoma, WA). Then he returned to Eastern.

I last saw and visited Whitey around 1971 at his then home in Mattoon. Ken Lowry was also there. At EIU, he had changed majors and soon graduated with a teaching degree in Botany and Zoology.

Russ taught science for six years east of Decatur at Atwood-Hammond school district. He also married Cindy, adopted two children, and they had another daughter in 1978 (Daughters Amber and Tamara and son, Cory).

During that time, Russ also completed a Masters degree in educational administration at EIU. In 1980, he then switched jobs to become the principal at Cissna Park.

Russ continued his education at the University of Illinois and completed a Doctoral degree. Beginning in July 1986, he was superintendent for six years at Crescent City. He also taught classes for the Masters program at Governors State University.

End of June 2004, Russ White retired after serving fourteen years as the superintendent of Wilmington School District 209U, located fifty miles southwest of Chicago in the Kankakee River Valley. During his tenure there, Russ served on the Superintendent’s Advisory Board for the ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education) and advocated for changing school funding to be based on State income taxes and reduced property taxes.

After retirement, he worked one more year as a principal at an alternative high school in Cook County.

Russ and Cindy live near Bonfield, Illinois. They share a Facebook account and post family photos (Nine grandchildren) on their pages. It’s a nice connection to their lives and activities. Enjoy seeing some of their travels. Last March, Cindy and Russ went back to Vietnam and visited the LZ where he was wounded.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Click on the card to see a larger view open in another window:

This second link will open our annual holiday letter:

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Spring in the Air . . .

Spring of 1964; I was finishing up high school in Findlay, Illinois and making plans for EIU that coming Fall. And I heard about the Eastern waterfights from my brother. Bob Johnson was two years older and an EIU student. He was also a student manager at the University Union Snackbar - a popular student hangout in those days.

He talked about being at work on the first night of disturbances (Tuesday, May 18th), and then being a spectator on Lincoln Avenue the second night when the action heated up. Students, mainly male, were marching down Lincoln Avenue, opening fire hydrants, and dumping buckets of water over the heads of officers positioned to 'protect' hydrants down the street. Water was surging down Lincoln Avenue. The rambunctiousness was over in a few nights. Bob told of being followed home from work to his off-campus room another night as a curfew was enforced. As he crossed the yard to his basement room, a spotlight came on, and a policeman told him to 'get his ass inside, and stay there' for the night.

Read about the historic riot in Charleston, and a similar riot in Champaign Urbana's campustown the following weekend:

(1995) Eastern Illinois University. Turner Publishing Company; p. 45.
"The year 1964 was probably the most controversial in Eastern's history. Campus police still recall the famous water fight, involving some 300 students, that began on May 18 and lasted through the week. The disturbance splashed over the campus and into the streets of Charleston. Fire hydrants were opened in downtown Charleston; dorm rooms were doused; and a university administrator was allegedly hit in the head with and empty water bucket. Campus and city police were needed to quell the crowds of students roaming the campus.
On the second night State Police and others set up a roadblock to prevent University of Illinois Greek organizations from answering an alleged challenge from Eastern's Greek Houses, which had been broadcast over a Chicago radio station, to join in a water fight. Doudna filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and condemned the 'mob action' of the local students. By Friday, county and city law enforcement authorities had had enough; they promised arrests under mob action statutes if the disturbances continued"

Things were jumping in Champaign-Urbana too . . .
Fuller, Tony (May 26, 1964). 31 Disciplined in Riot. Daily Illini.
Thirty-one students will be disciplined for participation in Sunday night’s campus rock and bottle throwing incident. All of the students apprehended in the mob action, which one security official characterized as the meanest and nastiest for its size the he had seen, face possible expulsion from the University. The same official estimated the size of the crowd as being somewhere between 500 and 1,000. No injuries were reported resulting from the activities of the milling and somewhat formless group of students who began to congregate around 11:15 p.m. Sunday night. However, one source said that a member of the Dean of Mens staff did receive a nick on the side of the forehead from a horseshoe which was thrown by one of the participants.

University officials said that activities evidently had no central motivation or strong leadership. Although no serious bodily damage was reported, both eat Security Office and the Champaign police said that the mob did more damage to property than any of the waterfight groups of past years. In the past fights the mobs have concentrated more on opening hydrants and shoving people into the stream. However, the Sunday night groups was seemingly bent on property destruction. According to one law enforcement official the students hurled stones, bricks and pop bottles at home and cars. It was reported that Gaylord Hatch, assistant dean of men, has some of there windows smashed out of his car by flying pop bottles.

In addition, many street lights were smashed; Champaign City Manager Warren Browning estimated that it would cost slightly less than $ 100 to replace the damaged lights. One student was arrested by Champaign police. He is Jack D. Rubinstein, freshman in engineering; Rubinstein was charged with disobeying a officer. Officers said that he repeatedly refused to show his ID card when asked. Released on $ 25 bond, Rubinstein will appear in court on June 5.

The mob also opened about 13 fire hydrants. Security officials said, however, that the hydrants were opened with no apparent intention of doing anything with the water. Police had no trouble in closing them shortly after they were opened. The group began to congregate in fraternity park near Chalmers and Third streets in Champaign. From there they moved east to Wright Street and then back to the park. At various times there were sections of the crowd grouping around the MRH Canteen, Locust Street and Noble Hall, security officials said. While moving, the crowd made several stops at women’s residences and screamed we want panties. Most observers said the action seemed to lose force about 2:19 or 2:30 a.m. However, a false alarm brought fire trucks screaming to the burnt shell of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house about 2:30.  The Phi Gam house, 401 East John St., was demolished by fire over the Easter vacation.

Champaign Police Chief Harvey Shirley told the Daily Illini Monday afternoon that he had no way of knowing whether the mob action would reoccur. He did say that his police department and University officials had well worked out plans regarding the handling of any large mob actions. He reused to comment as to the plans content. Hatch, the dean who had his car windows smashed, said that people had to realize that the mob actions involved a very small minority of the total number so students. I believe that most students just aren’t crazy about the ideas of such irresponsible acts, he said.

In other events surrounding student rioting in the state Quincy Doudna, President of Eastern Illinois University, lodged a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission charging radio station WLS in Chicago with irresponsible broadcasting, giving out anonymous information and confusion in the town of Charleston, where Eastern is located. Eastern officials told the Daily Illini that WLS, on Monday of last week, began broadcasting a challenge, phoned in by an anonymous student at Eastern, calling on (University of) Illinois students to come to Charleston and participate in a watertight on Thursday. The officials said that the radio station persisted in making the announcements all during the week.

On Thursday evening the Eastern campus was the scene of a demonstration involving about 200 students. The gathering of students was characterized as a combination revolt and panty raid. Most of the students either went to women’s residences and cried, we want panties, or stood in groups yelling. Down with dictator tactics. There were no injuries reported. Officials at Eastern said that President Doudna consulted with the local sheriff who told him that he thought WLS could be held just as responsible as anyone for the demonstration. As a result the complaint was lodged. Representatives of WLS, contacted in Chicago Monday, refused to make any comment on the situation.

Another article excerpt from the Charleston paper:

CHARLESTON -- Eastern Illinois University officials and Coles County Sheriff Paul B. Smith charged today that Chicago radio station WLS was largely responsible for Thursday night's student demonstrations and general unrest in Charleston. Thursday night's disturbance followed outbreaks Monday in which students damaged a number of Charleston fire hydrants and staged water fights. A formal protest to the Federal Communications Commission was sent today by EIU President Quincy Doudna asking the FCC to investigate WLS in presenting stories in such a way that it would foment a disturbance. Doudna said no other media outlet reported that a water fight was expected on EIU's campus Thursday night. "I believe this station was the only one to accept statements from unreliable sources that Eastern students had challenged University of Illinois students to a water fight.” Doudna said...

Later in 1967-68, there were a few sparsely attended protest rallies on the EIU campus. One asked for a fired professor to be reinstated; I believe that there was a war protest or two. However student unrest of the Sixties did not touch EIU all that much. It was another few years before the EIU campus experienced a small uprising. It was not a threatening kind. Mild temperatures; an early Spring warmup led to streaking.

Another brief excerpt from the EIU history tells all:
(1995) Eastern Illinois University. Turner Publishing Company; p. 52.
“Streaking was a popular fad in 1974, as Eastern students graduated from the comparatively restrained panty raids of years gone by. Several students caught the craze, while several hundred others watched. In a statement released to the media in March, (President) Fite said: ‘While I am disappointed that Eastern students have failed to demonstrate their much-acclaimed maturity by joining this silly, juvenile fad. I am sure that our Health Service can handle any epidemic of sniffles resulting from the exposure.’ Health Director Jerry Heath said there had not been any case of students who caught cold because they had been running outside in the nude.”

An appreciative audience cheered on participants for a few nights. The streaking runs were on campus, so the Charleston Police were not involved. Campus cops were right there in the crowd of students and faculty, along with a few administrators and townspeople who came to watch.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Domino's Pizza to Return to the Short Stop Location

The original Short Stop Drive-in was named by Marty Pattin a few years before he was pitching for the Kansas City Royals. And a couple of decades later, the Short Stop (Built and opened in Spring 1966) on the northwest corner of 7th and Lincoln closed. The building was remodeled and opened as a Domino's Pizza. In 2012 after year's of lackluster business, it too closed. Now new owner's have purchased the property from William Warmoth (Son of Donna and Walt) and are planning to demolish the old 'Short Stop' building and replace it with a new Domino's operation.

Ironic that the old Short Stop building will be taken down by Drake Excavating and Construction. I believe that this business is owned and operated by family members of Steve Drake of Drake Homes, who worked at the Short Stop for a year or so when he was in high school.

Read more at an article in the Journal Gazette / Times Courier (Charleston & Mattoon) newspaper: Domino's Pizza Business to Return to Charleston after Years of Absence.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Linda Warmoth. July 26, 1950 - April 4, 2016

My career path intersected briefly with Linda's (Daughter of Walt and Donna Warmoth) during the early 1980s. As an officer in a state organization, I worked with her in planning a conference in Springfield. She was an excellent facilitator. During our meetings, we reminisced about Charleston, her parents, and Walt's Cafe. Her younger brother, William is an attorney in Charleston, Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD -- Linda R. Warmoth-Shelton, 65, of Rochester, died at 12:16 a.m. on Monday, April 4, 2016 at Memorial Medical Center.
Linda was born July 26, 1950 in Charleston, the daughter of Walter E. and Donna L. Smith Warmoth. She married Michael Shelton in 1992 in Charleston.
Linda was a graduate of Charleston High School and Eastern Illinois University. She worked for the Capital City Speakers Bureau. Linda was the Sales and Catering Director at the Holiday Inn East and retired as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at the Crowne Plaza. She received numerous awards, including YMCA Woman of the Year and National Sales and Marketing Director of the Year of Crowne Plaza Hotels. Linda was a member of the Junior League and volunteered for the Ronald McDonald House. She was on the hospitality advisory board at Eastern Illinois University. Linda was a social butterfly and very personable; she will be greatly missed by many.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
She is survived by her husband, Michael Shelton of Rochester; her step-sons, Alan Shelton (Tracy Dobbins) of Springfield, Tony (Amy) Shelton of Bakersfield, and Matthew (Julie) Shelton of Rochester; four grandchildren, Tyler, Ashley, Clayton, and Everett Shelton; one brother, William J. (Barbara J.) Warmoth of Charleston; one nephew, Brian W. (Joohyun Lyoo) Warmoth of Washington, DC; and her beloved dog, Lucy.
Memorial Ceremony and Gathering: A memorial ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, 2016 at Crowne Plaza, 3000 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield, with Dr. Paul E. Boatman officiating. A memorial gathering will follow until 5:00 p.m.
In life, Linda gave unconditionally with her time and talents. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Linda Warmoth-Shelton Memorial Fund, c/o Rochester State Bank, PO Box 140, Rochester, IL 62563.
The family of Linda R. Warmoth-Shelton is being served by Kirlin-Egan & Butler Funeral Home, 900 S. 6th St., Springfield.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Click on image to get a larger view of the card.

Another year; another Christmas letter, another compilation of experiences. First reaction… we didn’t do anything special. Wait? What about this trip, what about that visit? After six years living in our Utah home, we’ve definitely settled in.

We continue to be amazed by this place, its landscapes - forests, deserts, mountains, the redrock canyons. We don’t hike as much as we’d hoped, but we add new experiences as we have time. This year, we made our first trip to Upper Calf Creek Falls (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument), and we explored the South side of Monroe Mountain via the Pole Canyon Rd. We spent some time in the Bears Ears area and the nearby House of Fire Ruin. Spectacular! A few months back, we were treated to an afternoon watching and photographing wild horses in the nearby San Rafael Swell (BLM) region.

Larry is enjoying the freedom of full retirement, and keeps busy. This fall, he began working on the patio outside our walk-out basement and completed adjacent landscaping work. The patio project is now on hold until warmer weather returns, so Larry has turned his attention back to refinishing ladder back chairs. There are a few dozen more chairs to rehabilitate. Annette is still busy teaching at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis). Since 2002, she has developed a total of twenty-three different online courses. In addition as the Social Media Editor for Teacher Librarian Magazine, she writes 365 reviews a year: one-review-a-day of a book, app, or a website for children or young adults. Annette also continues to write the Info Tech column for Teacher Librarian (Tenth year next April).

And the people, the talent of our friends and neighbors continues to amaze us. We join many of them in planning and delivering events with The Entrada Institute. Summers speed by with weekly music, festivals, and more. We again volunteered to photograph events of the Wayne County Fair. Another event activity added this past year was volunteer photographers for the two-day bike stage races of the Capitol Reef Classic. We had a great time at these and other events.

We made three trips back to the Midwest (Jan, May and Nov) visiting daughter Brooke in Chicago, Larry’s families downstate and Annette’s parents and sister Allison in Missouri. On the May trip we stopped in Fort Collins, Colorado a few days to visit son Benji and help celebrate his graduate school graduation. We also enjoyed a Spring trip to Austin to visit the Rathsack family and do some babysitting. Alex and Kaylee are growing up fast, so our babysitting fun is quickly coming to an end. In June, we drove and camped through Nevada and California, visiting Great Basin National Park and Wheeler Mtn., Donner Memorial State Park, Angel Island and Point Reyes National Seashore. In addition, Annette presented at the American Library Association conference in San Francisco. We spent three days in the city, saw the sights and enjoyed some excellent seafood.

In retrospect, we did do some things this year. We have already begun planning for our annual Winter Valentine’s Day Party. This will be the 7th Annual - - lots of great food, drink, people and live music. If you are in the area on Feb. 13th, 2016. You are invited.

We’re looking forward to a Christmas holiday camping trip. We will take our teardrop camper “Miss Daisy” on a leisurely drive through Arizona, New Mexico, and on to Texas with a few days in the Big Bend area. Our annual destination for the holidays is Austin, TX and time with Annette’s sister, parents, and family.

Today there’s a little snow on the ground, the road is clear, and it’s bright and sunny. Annette is baking Christmas cookies and has asked Larry for help with a batch of fudge. Winters are cozy here in Utah. Come visit. We would love to show you around this region.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Annette and Larry

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Turn the Radio On

The Music
A music fan; I like music of almost all types. For several years, I've booked musicians, singers, and music groups that perform at the Bookstore Stage in Torrey, UT for The Entrada Institute. Myself, I don't have much talent in singing or playing an instrument. I keep an acoustic guitar around home, and take it out of its case now and then. I know a few chords, but my attempts at playing are strictly solo, without an audience. Not much of a singer either, but I enjoy singing . . . in the car, in the shower - - alone.

Reminder that colored text here indicates an active link; click on them and you will be taken to offsite resources.

From an early age, I was drawn to music - - that is, listening to music. And the first music I heard was likely on the radio. Sometime around 1957, in my childhood family an old clock radio was replaced (mainly used to wake my Dad for early morning farm work). My brothers and I took the old one upstairs to our bedrooms. We tried using a metal coathanger and aluminum foil to improve its reception. The best time seemed to be late at night when some of the AM stations boosted their signals - - occasionally I could pickup a station from Memphis, TN, probably WDIA. Three hundred and sixty miles away.

A quick rundown of some of the pop music of the Fifties leading into the Sixties (Perhaps not always in order). Popular styles included big band and orchestras, jazz, ballad crooners and song stylists (Nat King Cole), and traditional country tunes (Hank Williams) and then Rockabilly. I remember kids my age and older still citing Stardust (1927 by Hoagy Carmichael), covered by groups such as Glenn Miller and His Orchestra as their favorite song. 

Your Hit Parade was a weekly network TV show that aired from 1950 to 1959 (Its radio predecessor began in 1935 and ran for fifteen years). I did not watch the show until the late Fifties when my family first got a television. Each week the seven top popular songs were featured and performed in reverse order by the Hit Parade cast of singers and dancers. The top songs were determined somehow by a ‘national survey of record sales.’ American Tobacco Company’s Lucky Strike cigarette brand sponsored the show. Each week on Saturday night, the audience would anticipate which songs would be in the top three positions and how many weeks they might stay there.

A vivid childhood memory is of me and my two older brothers being invited over to a neighboring farmhouse by an elderly couple to watch television on a Sunday night. We washed and scrubbed, put on our best clothes, and were dropped off in the early evening. There was popcorn and Kool-aid, but my main recollection is seeing and listening to the Nat King Cole Show. At that time, I did not realize his was the first network music variety series hosted by a black performer.

By the late-Fifties, youngsters like myself were beginning to listen to rhythm and blues music with its stronger rhythms, often faster-paced beats, and sometimes suggestive lyrics. Music by black performers such as Fats Domino and Little Richard.

Yeah, I remember listening to 'rockabilly music' too.
"Well, I never felt more like singing the Blues
cause I never thought, that I'd ever lose
your love Dear. Why'd you do me this way?"

That is the first song that I remember learning all of the words and singing along to - - whistle if you wish.

Marty Robbins and many others covered Guy Mitchell's pop-hit of 1956; YouTube has numerous other versions - guess I was in good company.

The Sixties . . .
Growing up in the rural Midwest nearby hometown Findlay, IL, guys around my age spent hundreds of hours driving around in automobiles (Gas was cheap, around 30 cents per gallon) and listening to radio, station WLS at AM 890 kilocycles on the dial.

Five thousand watts of power that on a clear, cold night could reach way out into Iowa, east to Ohio and beyond, north to Deer River MN, or down to the Ozark hilltops and beyond to Louisiana. WLS - - 'The Bright Sounds of Chicago Radio'. Music fans could pick up the station’s evening, atmospheric ‘skip’ hundreds and sometimes a thousand of miles away. WLS made the world seem a little smaller to the average guy growing up in a place that they thought was the middle of nowhere. We ignored the signal drift and static that only lasted for a little while before the signal came back gangbusters strong. The call letters, WLS originally stood for ‘World’s Largest Store” - the station was owned by Sears, Roebucks way back when it started as a country station. But by the Sixties and into the Seventies, it was basically Top-40 music all the time and had some well-known deejays that ushered in the golden age of top forty radio.

Walt Mizener (Apr 2015) posted an article on Facebook about 'Superjock' Larry Lujack’s death (Dec 2013). Lujack was one of a string of radio deejays from the Sixties and Seventies who kept WLS radio as a top rated Top40 station.

In early May of 1960 a pack of new deejays were hired by WLS and revolutionized the music heard in the Chicago area. “WLS’s Swinging Seven” (Art Roberts, Mort Crowley, Jim Dunbar, Dick Biondi, Gene Taylor, Bob Hale, and Clark Weber) became known all over the country. Bob Hale was the MC of the Winter Dance Party the night Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper played in Clear Lake, Iowa (February 1959) . . . “the day the music died.”

A Sixties feature at WLS Radio was the Silver Dollar Survey Countdown. The survey was compiled each week from record sales reports gathered in the Chicagoland area. 

Lujack, Biondi and some of the others . . .
Dick Biondi was at WLS in 1960 to 1963. He was named the number one disc jockey in the country by Billboard magazine in 1961 and 1962. He called himself 'The wild I-talion' and (Suspended for some FFC violations) was noted for his occasional off-color jokes. Around 1962, I remember his on-air-comment “Meanwhile back at the oasis, the Arabs are eating their dates.” Is my memory correct? Did the station go silent a few moments and then another deejay take Biondi's place? The dreaded FCC censor at work . . .

Biondi drew an unbelievable sixty percent of all radio listeners as 'The Screamer' at WLS. One fan noted that “No matter how crazy things get, as long as you can still hear ‘The Wild I-talian’ on the radio, you just know that all is right with the world.” (Robert Feder, 2009). Listen to Dick Biondi WLS Radio Second Anniversary Show 1962.

WLS fired Biondi three years to the day of his hiring because of a dispute over the amount of advertising that was broadcast during his air time. He was the first to play a Beatles tune on radio; 'Please Please Me' in 1963. He was influential in advancing the careers of performers like Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. Dick Biondi was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame (1998). Sometimes sidelined for health reasons, today he's still on-air at WLS-FM 94.7 Radio; Biondi claims that he wants to die with his headphones on . . . 

There were others:
Dex Card
Clark Weber (East of Midnight show)
Bob Hale - MC 'Feb. 2, 1959' in Clear Lake, IA
Ron Riley (Sixties) 
Art Roberts (Sixties) 'Bedtime Stories'

Tribute to WLS Sounds of the 60s

Bill Bailey (Seventies) Includes an audio clip.
Fred Winston (Seventies)
Joel Sebastion Show (Seventies)
Jon ‘Records’ Landecker (Seventies) - "Records was truly his middle name." He created 'Boogie Check', 'Americana Panorama', and satirical songs and bits based on current events such as 'Make a Date with the Watergate' and 'Press My Conference'.

Larry Lujack was a standout WLS deejay, the Superjock of the Seventies. Uncle Lar, the ‘wild man’, and ‘king of radio’ was on-the-air with his sidekick, Lil’ snot-nosed Tommy (Tommy Edwards).

"When buying a used car, punch the buttons on the radio. If all the stations are rock and roll, there's a good chance the transmission is shot." - Larry Lujack

Among Lujack's most popular radio bits were Animal Stories (Made three albums of them in all) and the Cheap Trashy Showbiz Report. Animal Stories included the tale of an anteater who had a twelve inch tongue and could move it in and out of its mouth forty times a minute. Lujack's response was, "I'd bet mom would love that for Mother's day"!

Larry Lujack "Off the Record" Part 1 of 3.

Who remembers the 'Tooth Fairy' stories with Dick Orkin, nurse Durkin, and the Toothmobile? Or the ads for drag strips in Union Grove, WI and Oswego Speedway in IL. SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!

Other great links:
WLS 890 AM Chicago - The Lost Sixties

WLS Radio 25th Anniversary TV Show Ch-7 Chicago (1985)
The radio station celebrated its 25th anniversary of playing rock and roll with this retrospective TV show. Most of the disc jockeys of the past (and some of the present at the time) appear on this program. The program was hosted by the late super jock Larry Lujack

There were a few other AM Radio competitors in nearby regions. During summer vacations back to the Arkansas Ozarks, I listened to KAAY out of Little Rock (K Double A Y!), another 50,000 watt clear channel station - Clyde Clifford and Beaker Street.

WDIA-AM Memphis in the Sixties was the among the nation's first stations to devote its entire format to black popular music. They were the first to have African American broadcasters on staff; Nat D. Williams, B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, and many others demonstrated an original flair, wit, and personality that helped attract young black and white listeners alike. Whether they were making up poems on the spot or urging their listeners to stay in school, these deejays made WDIA the true pulse of Memphis. Late night clear channel AM broadcasts, "50 thousand watts of goodwill" out of WDIA opened the doors to blues music by James Brown (Caldonia), B.B. King, and more.

Back in the day, we listened to WLS almost exclusively. It was the golden age of AM Radio. These days, WLS is talk radio with a few seemingly sane hosts augmented by mostly jabbering nutcases; syndicated programming such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Have a related memory to share. Click on the 'comments' below and add your ideas and information. (Do that on any posting). lj