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It was a different world back then!

WQIQ - Chester-Aston, Pennsylvania

 

When I first sat down to write this, I thought I should call it, "I Was a Child Program Director". Then I realized that sort of title wouldn't be anything unique; just about everybody I knew back in the "Good Ol' Days" of radio was just a big kid.

I was 23 years old in late 1979, I had accepted a position at WCPA AM/FM in Clearfield, Pennsylvania for my first job as a Program Director. All had I had to do besides all the programming chores was a six hour airshift, six days a week, station remotes and production. For this I would be paid the princely sum of $180. The person I was replacing was Jim Bosh. Jim was pretty popular and replacing him would be tough.

Fortunately, Jim gave several weeks notice, which meant I had a lot of time on my hands. So, I did some part-time on air work at WQIQ, which was dual-city licensed to Chester and Aston, Pennsylvania in suburban Philadelphia. At the time, I lived in the East Oak Lane section of Philly, and it was approximately 30 miles from the station. It was a pretty rough ride. But, I was happy to get my $3.10 an hour and have some fun on a contemporary music station that sounded pretty darn good from an audio perspective.

WQIQ was owned by John Haggard, Sr. John had bought the station for his son, John Haggard, Jr. and apparently, they had some sort of falling out. Mr. Haggard was 52 years old at the time, lived in Nashville, Tennessee and was newly married to his second wife after having been divorced for 20 years. He owned, what was described to me as one of the "best" restaurants in Nashville. It was called Julian's and my understanding was that they specialized in French cuisine.

Mr. Haggard had little or no passion for broadcasting, but he was a business man. After John, Jr. left the station, Mr. Haggard employed the services of the consulting firm of Jason Jennings and Associates. I was also able to take part in the sales training (off the clock, of course). Scott Gilreath headed the team from Jennings and was soon made the General Manager of WQIQ.

The week before I was supposed to leave for Clearfield in January of 1980, Scott Gilreath called me into his office. He told me that I didn't really want to move to what he described as "the middle of nowhere" and work at a tiny radio station. So, he offered me the Program Director's position at WQIQ for $235 a week and I didn't have to move.

I did this in spite of the fact that the station had only three active accounts on the air. Two of which were trade.

Initially there was great excitement at the station. Our lineup on air was extremely strong:

6am - 10am: Ed Moore
10am - 3pm: Bob Wade
3pm - 7pm: Greg Price
7pm - Midnight: Jim Russell
Midnight - 6am: Jim Walsh

John Harper and Jeff Moore anchored the news team. Bob Lenio was our Chief Engineer. Scott Gilreath left the station for reasons that were not clear to me and Jack Holefelder became our General Manager.

Ed Moore was the former voice of W.T. Grant. W.T. Grant was a company which operated over 1,200 variety stores. It went bankrupt in 1976 and with that, so went Ed's $50,000/year announcing gig. Ed had a terrific, big voice and a great sense of humor.

I don't remember much about Bob Wade's background. I think he was originally from North Carolina or Virginia and according to him had paid his dues in small market radio. I don't remember his real last name either. He was a big fan of Don Wade; hence he was Bob Wade on the air. Bob had a rich baritone voice and was skilled at production. When he left the station, he went to WIFI-92 in Philadelphia as their overnight jock.

I had just come from Greater Media's WPEN and WMGK-FM, where I was a programming assistant for WPEN and the Assistant Director of Creative Services for both stations. I also did weekend air shifts on WPEN after having worked at WRHY, WDDL/WNCE and WQIQ back when it was called 16Q. Additionally I had worked in college radio at Temple University at WRTI and WTDR.

Jim Russell (Jim Workman) was and still is my best friend. I met Jim at freshman orientation at Temple University. Prior to WQIQ, Jim had worked as the morning man at WIOO in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Jim is from Piscataway, New Jersey and grew up listening to New York and Philadelphia radio. His knowledge of markets and stations is unsurpassed. He also has a talent for writing some very unique commercials.

Jim Walsh was a solid pro and rounded out the team doing the overnights.

John Harper (John Hachtel) and Jeff Moore (no relation to Ed) were as talented a news team as I've ever seen regardless of market size. John was the News Director.

Sometime during February, the station underwent cutbacks. It resulted in this lineup:

6am - 12pm: Greg Price
12pm - 6pm: Bob Wade
6pm - Midnight: Jim Russell

The news team remained intact.

Vince Papale, fresh from his experience as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, did a weekly, two-hour Sunday night sports talk show from 8pm to 10pm and made a number of personal appearances on behalf of the station. The show later moved to Mondays.

WQIQ served as the flagship station of Philadelphia Fury Soccer and was the local affiliate of New York Yankees baseball. Among those who worked weekends at WQIQ were Bruce Crawford, E.A. Wood, Sab Michaels (Sabatino Capelli), Sergeant Smiley (Ron Smiley), Skip Merrill (Skip Morello), Dave Shaw, Brad Roberts (Bob Heim), and Bill Webber, Jr.

Ron Smiley did a children's show as Sergeant Smiley on Sundays at 11am.

After Bob Wade left the station, he was replaced by Roland Dennis (Jim Rowe). When John Harper left to become Press Secretary for a local Congressman, he was replaced by Harry Klinger and Jeff Moore became the News Director.

At this point, the station had well over 100 active accounts on the air which we couldn't have done without our terrific sales team led by Jack Holefelder. It included E.A. Wood, Eric Herr and four others whose last names I don't recall; Carole, Maggie, Les, and Dave.

On 15 Aug 1980 at 6pm, I was instructed to read the following announcement on the air: "The management of WQIQ wishes to announce to our listeners that WQIQ is going off the air pending an ownership change. We want to thank all our loyal listeners for their enthusiastic support. Good night!"

WQIQ left the airwaves. I turned the station off myself. The staff then met at the Aston home of Steve Walton, who was a listener and friend of the station. We had all lost our jobs, so we drank beer and started our search for new ones.

 

 

 

 

 

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