Professor Rick Wright of SU's Newhouse School was renowned for preferring class field trips to lecturing. In my Junior year at SU, one of those trips took our TCM 393 course out to the faraway land of Liverpool and 62 WHEN.
I can accurately say at that time I was interested in broadcasting, but couldn't be more specific. My visit to WHEN that day in April changed all that. Stepping out from the world of radio academia into an honest to God for profit radio operation was a real eye opener. There were probably twenty of us, so the visit was somewhat anonymous. Cindy Thomason guided the tour and as we proceeded through the high-tech security gate past the reception desk (remember that?) we all immediately noticed someone dancing by himself in the production studio immediately on the left? An artist doing improv and preparing for a recording? No, it was Rick Yacobush blasting Ray Parker Junior and Raydio's "You Can't Change That" and performing his unique version of dance.
I must say I was pretty impressed by that, as well as the impressive studio booth, news department and personalities. We barely even saw the "business end" of the building. A final peek at the 62 Heavy Vette and we were on our way back to pizza and gravy fries at the Varsity.
As you will do after a visit to a facility like WHEN, I took a liking to the station and started listening to it. Though the tail end of the era, it was still a good time for contemporary music on the AM. "Cool Night" and "Hot Rod Hearts" still strike me from then. The station personalities were likable too. Shockingly, I didn't listen much in mornings but I particularly liked that Flannery fellow and Captain Scott King in the afternoons.
I applied for and was granted an internship at the big 62 that following fall term. The internship was designed to give exposure to each of the radio stations departments (except engineering, sorry Roy). Though polishing the 62 Heavy Vette for events was engaging, I particularly hit it off with that Yacobush fellow. That sales thing he did seemed to be rewarding and fun. I went on as many calls with him as I could. I also managed a few with the force known as Cathy Crawford. All these years later, I can easily point to those two people as being the most influential in my career. They are, without a doubt, the two finest broadcasting sales professionals I've ever seen.
Of course there were many others who made that time in my life special. Shortly after I graduated, Lee M. Vanden-Handel actually hired me, and Bob Carolin saved my job when Lee and I had a dispute over something silly.
I started there with Ron Jewett. We learned a lot together and are friends to this day. Bill Carey, Donna Speziale, Christy Casciano, Laurie Bean, Dan Cummings, Jim Campagna, Jim Gilchriest and the rest of the news crew set a standard I was so proud to go out and represent.
We had a fun airstaff. The aforementioned Jay Flannery was such a pro. PU King and Steve Simpson were good friends. Who could forget JB Lewis?
Those FM'ers were good too. Guy Hall, JJ Jenners, Gary Dennis.
It all felt like family to a NYC kid working in CNY. Cathy Miller, Kim Hermann, Joanie Licenski, Boogaloo Brucie and many others made it fun to come to work every day.
I especially remember the Tuesday morning all hands on deck staff meetings Bob used to hold. You don't see that very often any more. Nor do you see anything like the 62 Heavy BaseBreakers or Heavy Spikers. Perhaps there's a correlation to the decline of the industry?
Thanks for listening. And thanks to all those colleagues who made up a very unique radio station, 62 WHEN. It's legacy lives on in all of us.