I came to 62 WHEN in September 1977 to do afternoon drive (3-7PM) after Jim Shafer had departed for St. Louis radio. Previously I'd been doing morning drive in Elmira at WENY as one of the "WENY Good Guys" since 1970.
In the summer of 1977, after sending out some airchecks to stations I liked, I found myself in the running for an on-air job at KDKA in Pittsburgh. David Graves who was Program Manager at the time at KDKA,
eventually had to tell me I was still going to be a bridesmaid and not the bride. I moved on. I'd sent out a few more airchecks, one being mailed to 62 WHEN.
A few weeks later, I got a call from a guy named Bob Carolin. "Jay, this Bob Carolin, Program Director at 62 WHEN in Syracuse. We have your tape... and by the way, I was in town (Elmira)
last Saturday morning to listen to your show." (My instant thought... Oh my God! A Saturday morning show! YIKES!!! ) As best I can remember after all this time, Bob proceeded to ask me if I'd be
interested in coming in to see him and to talk about the possibly of taking over the station's PM drive slot. In the interim, Pete McKay was temporarily holding down the fort in afternoon drive
while Bob conducted his talent search. "Yes, sir, Bob! I'll be there! Name the time." But wait....
Feast or Famine Time
As luck would have it, I'd also gotten an invitation from WINR in Binghamton to come to meet with their GM and then PD, Jerry Reed. Their interview was scheduled ahead
of my visit to Syracuse so no commitment was made to them as "I knew" there was something else waiting in the wings that might be even more interesting...and exciting.
Early in September 1977 I made the hundred mile trip from Elmira to interview with P.D. Bob Carolin and take a look at his station. I was dazzled. Here was essentially a brand new radio station (brand new studios on Old Liverpool Rd had just opened during the summer Believe me, I thought I'd walked into The Starship Enterprise – Polished, Shining and Sounding every bit the station you'd hear in any major market. What a thrill. Great on-air sound, state-of-the-art studios, terrific air talent, big promotions and one big listening audience. This station was King of the Cumes
without question. At this point Binghamton suddenly became but a very, v-e-r-y distant memory. Bob Carolin was (and is) a very likeable guy and I thought he'd certainly be a PD I'd easily be able to work with and for...and I was right! I stayed at 62 WHEN for almost 11 years. ***Note –This is not to say, however, that I didn't get in trouble with Bob...and on quite a few occasions over the years, but our friendship has always far outweighed any disagreements we ever may have had. Bob also gave praise when he felt it had been earned and I can back that up
too. I used to think, however, I got yelled at almost as much as Ray Diorio. Keep your head down Jay...there's incoming. Once when porno star Annie Sprinkle and a male co-star were in Syracuse for a promotional visit to a notorious downtown adult cinema, I invited them to visit the station and be my on-air guests. Hah! I conferred with Bruce Seigel, who was Operations Director at the time and we concurred...we'd go for it, oh yehh! Oops. One problem, we didn't discuss or clear it with it Bob. Bob, by now, had become 62 WHEN's General Manager. Just 'possibly' it was a lapse in good judgement ...or maybe I was a just little ahead of my time...at least for Syracuse. Annie, her co-star and I were on the air for just a few minutes chatting and I got to my first commercial break, and as quickly as they had entered the building, they were escorted from it...and with never a word ever mentioned as to where they went. Holy cow! What happened? Another time Bob got so mad at me he sent me home! All this just an hour before I was to go on the air. Talk about being expendable, the heat was on... and it suddenly looked like Jay was going to be the main course. Bon appetit! Funny now...not so funny then ...and all this was result of a little discussion about cruisin' in the 62 "Heavy Vette." But not to worry, all turned out well and I returned to do my shift the following day and many shifts thereafter. Over the years I found Bob to be both fair and kind...to all who worked for him. Bob and I still sometimes run into one another (literally) at Wegmans. I've certainly always been grateful to him (and have told him so) for (1) taking that road trip to Elmira to give me a personal listen and (2) for allowing me to be part of a terrific radio station team that was known far and wide for its outstanding reputation.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Jules Coleman
. Jules was the PM drive news anchor when I arrived and he contributed mightily in giving us a real "downtown" sound in afternoon drive. Anyone who
listened to Jules knew he was blessed with both great pipes and on-air style. News Director Bill Carey and his team of news people always were seemingly on top of everything and Syracuse listeners knew it.
The late Ray Diorio, in 1977, was the polished air personality with the great voice who held down mid-days. We crossed shifts every day for a number of years before Ray moved to morning drive at 62. Phil Markert, Ron Redneski,
Millard Ferndock and of course, "Buy it Or Bag It", all regular features of 62WHEN's very popular morning show at the time. Paul Kelley hosted 7 to midnight and Pete McKay went back to overnights once I arrived
to do 3-7P.M. Special thanks always to Pete for putting me up for a couple weeks while I looked for a place to live. Much appreciated, Pete. Along the way it was a privilege to work with countless
dedicated broadcast pros, many of whom have become close and life-long friends, including: Captain Scott King, Roy Taylor, Peter King, Vic Johnson, Dave Greene. Joe Gallagher, and many, many others.
It was a great ride 62!
Thanks. You are always fondly remembered.