Boy Leaves WIRL
WIRL was a hard place to work, but there were some fun times too. When I couldn't think of anything funny, there was always local politics. The fire chief was always pleading with the city council for some new fire trucks (their newest engine was a 1937 La France.) So I got on his side.
"Listen, you guys down at City Hall, give Lester a break. The only piece of backup equipment he has eats hay."
And then of course there was always Robin Weaver. When Thanksgiving came around, I couldn't resist sandbagging him. So I took the cart that had a bunch of two- or three-second call letter ID's on it and dubbed them off on to another cart, erased the ID cart and put a big turkey gobble sound on it. The next morning was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so the log was running over with spots, so much so that there was no place to make them up if you got behind. I got up at 6 a.m. to listen to my handiwork. At about 6:20 all was going well, then the newsman stuck Robin with a Big Red something or other. He went into a short record, came out with a spot set, then he hit what he thought was a two-second ID so he could play a bunch more spots after it. Instead, he got my turkey gobble.
Well, Weaver lost it. His big old deep laugh was really great. He kept playing the turkey sound over and over then he said, "That's an old turkey bird. That's what that is!" And then he said, "I know who did that; it was that Jones boy from the afternoon," then laughed again and played the turkey some more. By then he must have been at least three spots behind because he put three carts in the machines and played them all at once. When the din was over he said, "There. Now we're all caught up. And here comes the news." I don't know if the newsman was laughing because I was laughing so hard I couldn't hear anything. I'm sure they talked about that around the station long after I was gone.
Here's another great Robin Weaver story. Robin was always telling me how cheap the station was. So when Christmas time came around, and instead of giving us bonuses they gave us turkeys, he got really steamed. (A letter in his pocket opened itself.) At the Christmas party he was still grumping around when VLJ went over and said something to him. He nodded, so V got everyone's attention and said, "We have a big treat for you now. Robin is going to recite 'The night before Christmas.' " So everyone who had kids grabbed a chair and an offspring and dragged both to the side of the room where Weaver was trying to sell his turkey. It took quite awhile to get everybody settled down. When that finally happened, Robin pulled up a chair and in his best "rattle the paper in your woofer" voice he said, " 'Twas the night before Christmas." And then he got up and left. After I stopped laughing I left too (I think VLJ finished the story.)
At the beginning of January 1964 I got a call from Gene Where-Was-He-When-I-Needed-Him Snyder. "Hey Mizer, do I have a job for you!" he said.
"Oh yeah? Where were you when I needed you?"
"You already wrote that," he replied.
"Well that's because I mean it twice as much as you think I do. Where's the job?"
"WOWI," he said.
"Isn't that the one KW daytimer in the glove compartment that nobody listens to?"
"That's it," he said.
"What kind of money?"
Big pause on his end.
"I've put together a nice package of cash, hotel and restaurant trade-out, and ten books of Top Valu stamps a month."
We talked back and forth for a few days and came to an agreement. The next day I went to the manager and said, "Time to talk about a raise." I was going to ask him for a lot more than he was willing to pay and then I would quit. But before I could do that, he told me that they could not afford the little $15 a week increase they had promised me. It was all I could do to keep from laughing. WIRL was sold out every Wednesday - Friday, 6 am to 6 pm and had plenty of money, so at that point I gave my two weeks notice. A few years later they pulled the same $15 trick on my friend Dale Reeves.
About a week later when it got out that I was going back to the Louisville market I got a call from Dusty Roads, or Muddy Roads (I remember it was something that made you want to wash your car.) I think he was at WSAI in Cincinatti. He wanted me to send him a tape (more of that.) I found out later that he got my name from Jim Brand the P. D. at WAKY. I guess he wanted to keep me out of Louisville. What a compliment.