I'd been a fired person for about a week when the phone rang early one morning. The bird flitted nervously in its cage, as was its wont. A large voice in the telephone informed me that I was one tough puppy to reach, that he'd been trying for days. It was Dave Woodling, program director of WBRB, a suburban Detroit station billing itself as the Voice of Macomb County. It was a well-deserved nom de plume. After listening to the tape I'd left them a week earlier, they felt that 1 was what they were looking for, and I felt that they were what was looking for...a job and a paycheck.
But WBRB was much more than just that. Dave Woodling had been a No. 1 rated Detroit disc-jockey in the early sixties, and the station manager, Charlie Park Jr. (son of early-radio personality, Charlie Park Sr.) was a gifted sports announcer with the managerial grit to have helped WBRB become a real champion. Woodling, Park, and the station's owner, Milt the Millionaire, had developed a success story with WBRB, winning numerous national awards.
The element that did it was the news team. WBRB's news team was peerless. Frank Lee and Ed DeWitt did the work of half a dozen ordinary mortals, and they did it superbly. They deserve Honorable Mention somewhere in posterity; I'm sure they'd be thrilled to know it'll have to be here.
Milt the Millionaire built a little broadcasting empire from the profits of WBRB, with stations in Minneapolis, Rochester, New York, Los Angeles, and Ohio. I'm sure the announcing staff's unselfish devotion to low pay contributed greatly to Milt's clout at the bank.
Throughout my eighteen month occupation of the squeaky chair at WBRB, I was able to wear many hats--as one does in community radio. We had both AM and FM transmitters, which contributed greatly to the potential for audience. AM programming was simulcast during the day; at sundown AM signed off, victim of a daytime-only license. The FM transmitter then took over with an entirely different format, aimed at the Detroit metropolitan market, which the more comprehensive FM signal pattern allowed us to reach. So, I'd be on the air until sundown with one format, then shift gears in the space of a five-minute newscast 62