Adam in the Evening Mystery Guest
Adam in the Evening Mystery Guest

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After All These Years, the Hampton Hall Looks Better than I Do - Go Figure

Working at WINN in 1962 was great fun. As I said, Gene Snyder and Glen Harmon were going back and forth for weeks about whether the station was going to go rock. All the while Adam in the Evening was happier than Glen Beck selling mortarboards, tassels $5 extra.

The studios were old and shabby with linoleum on the floor, but it had a nice comfortable feel to it. I got to do things like, Adam in the Evening Goes to the Beach. This piece of business took hours in the production room, putting together sounds of kids playing in the waves, interviews with people - some of whom were sloshed in more ways than one. All this mixed together with music by people like the Hi-Lo's, Oscar Brown Jr., Jack Sheldon, Lambert Hendricks and Ross, and Lord Buckley, along with the Adam in the Evening Players - and you had a radio enigma of the first degree. The fact that there is no beach in Louisville was not lost on our listeners who called to ask where this remote was coming from. I was amazed by the number of phone calls, and answered as many as I could in my best Harvey Fierstein voice. "Control room. I don't know where he's at. There's a switch here that says "Beach Remote" and I turn him off and on. I've got to go, my phone's running over."

WINN was at 1240 on the dial. I think that was the year that all 250 Watt stations went to 1000 Watts, but had to change power back to 250 at night. I remember that the engineer at the station (a real nice guy) was working hard to change everything over. They had been using the new 1000 Watt transmitter but the remote switch hadn't been installed in the studio so he had to be at the transmitter site every night to change power by hand. Unlike a lot of engineers at the time, this guy had a life, including a young daughter that he had to take with him every night on his flip-the-switch trip. I don't know where the transmitter was but it must have been in the woods (he said he was always running into goofy people hauling hundred pound sacks of sugar.) Anyway, this nightly trek was a drag. He was waiting for the replacement part to come from the west coast (by carrier geek.) Stopping on the way home every night for snow cones was getting on his nerves (not to mention his white shirts) so one night he rigged up a switch on the remote panel in the studio to make the switch return to the center position. He used a rubber band. The first night it worked fine, but the next night when I went to change power it didn't. So we were stuck on 1000 Watts (BIG FCC NO-NO!) I tried to call the engineer (I wish I could remember his name) but he wasn't home. So I had to write on the transmitter log, "Unable to change power. Reason: The rubber band broke." I thought it was funny. The engineer didn't.

A few days ago I went to Google Earth to look for the Hampton Hall Apartments and by golly, there it was! 209 York St. in Louisville. They were studio apartments, which is a nice way of saying that your bed comes out of something. I have lots of good memories of The Hamp, as we used to call it. When I first moved in there, Gene Snyder, Pat Murphy from WKLO and a guy from WAVE all lived at the Hamp. Also the manager was the piano player for Peewee King. He not only played keyboards, but also played a collection of utensils (common in country and western bands at the time.) The Hamp was a great place to live. It was handy to the station and to what was then the center of downtown. Pat and I used to go to the $1.19 Steak House a lot. For that price you got a strip steak, baked potato, and a salad. The food was really good and that was a very cheap price even in those days.

Another nice thing about The Hamp was that you could go up on the roof through a trap door on the 8th floor. I took a chair up there and the view was great and it was nice and cool on hot nights. I think there must have been a Colonel Sanders restaurant somewhere nearby because I remember the smell of chicken blossoms from time to time. I never smelled them again until we moved back to northeast Ohio (They have a Chicken Blossom Fest every spring in Barberton, Ohio.) Also sitting on top of the Hamp you could hear trains and riverboats - BOOOP BOOOP! That was either a towboat or the manager tuning up his jug.

Gene and Glen finally decided on a Chicken 40 format. What Glen Harmon didn't tell us was the station was for sale. Now in 1960's radio you couldn't keep things like that a secret for long. It wasn't more than a few weeks before we all knew about it and started looking for new jobs. Jerry Thomas, the morning man, got a gig at WKRC in Cincinnati so I moved to the AM (my first "Up and Adam Show.") A few days before I was to take over for Jerry, I sat in with him in the morning to learn the ropes. That's when I met Dean Michaels. Dean should have been a DJ; he was way too funny to be a newsman. He had a great set of pipes. Unfortunately for me he also had an alarm clock that must have had solar power - more about that later. I remember that after Jerry's show was over and we cut some spots we both went out for a bite. On the way to the restaurant he stopped in at the bank to take out all his savings. I think he was moving to Cincinnati the next day. He said that he hoped his new job worked out or he would be stuck. Well it sure did work out! He became a household name in Cincy. for many, many years. I worked with another household name years before in Sandusky, Ohio: Johnny Mopp!

Hold everything I just heard that Martha Stewart is moving her show to the Hallmark Channel. This will no doubt coincide with their new line of cards called Wall Street Felons Just Want to Have Fun! ("This card gets right to the point - I'm sorry they caught you and you're in the joint." Or, "It's hard to feel snooty in an orange jump suity.")

- Adam Jones

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