Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Small Town Radio

Posted March 27, 2008

What's the funniest thing you've heard on a small town radio station? Please share.

I cut my broadcasting teeth on small town radio. I wouldn't trade the experiences for anything in the world.

My hometown station in Morganton had a program called "The Obituary Column of the Air" sponsored by a local funeral home. Once an announcer said: "I am SORRY to say we have no deaths to report today."

Disc jockey Jack Armstrong allowed me to report the news late at night on his program when I was in high school. One of my first bloopers was: "I'll be THIS right after BACK." My buddies at home used to take notes of my on-air blunders and rib me unmercifully. One day I said "shungots" for "gunshots." They still remind me of that.

I also worked as an announcer for a country music station in Lenoir. One of my veteran co-workers ignited my news copy while I was reading it on-air. He said it was important that I learn "grace under fire."

Once a local moonshiner showed up offering free samples of his special Christmas brew.  However, the highlight of my short career in Lenoir was writing a commercial for the septic tank aroma bar sale at the Piggly Wiggly.

It was at this point I decided to become a serious broadcast journalist!


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  • bleslie Mar 28, 2008

    Excellent idea, Charles. Rob Abernathy is tremendously talented.

    Just thought of a funny country music lyric when I was working in Lenoir at WKGX: "If fingerprints showed up on skin I wonder whose I'd find on you."

  • oldrebel Mar 28, 2008

    "Old Paint Pealing" and "Whiskey in the well"...LOL, it jist dun't git any better than dat!

  • charlesboyer Mar 28, 2008

    "Always loved to go see Mike in concert. With his talent and wit, I never could understand why he wasn't bigger nationally. The man had such a way of entertaining his audiences."

    Me either. The man was and still is a treasure. The album "Blue Skies and Teardrops" is North Carolina classic.

    Bill, you are very good musician, and you ought to consider getting together some of the old-timers from the area that are still around. Rob Abernathy and Arrogance reunite and do shows from time to time as do a number of the other 1970-1990 bands and musicians.

    ps - I'll be in your hometown soon to see my friend Ed Wall from Wall Lumber.

  • oldrebel Mar 28, 2008

    Always loved to go see Mike in concert. With his talent and wit, I never could understand why he wasn't bigger nationally. The man had such a way of entertaining his audiences.

  • afictionalwriter Mar 28, 2008

    When I was at now defunct WRBX in Chapel Hill/Durham a quarter century ago, Mike Cross and his lovely wife Cindy stopped by near twilight, after the office folks had cleared out, to drop off his latest album. They were so sweet as they apologized about waking me while the tonearm kept hitting the label of Loretta Lynn's Lying Drinking yadayadalongtitledsong. I quickly did an ID and started another record. Oops...20 minutes of the sound of the end of a record and no one noticed (except Mike and Cindy).

  • thefensk Mar 28, 2008

    If you ever get a chance to cruise backroads Louisiana in true cajun country don't forget to flip on your am radio. I can't remember anything specific but you can get some amazing local cajun radio shows half in English, half in French (usually in the same sentence). Fun stuff.

  • charlesboyer Mar 28, 2008

    Dead air. They preached against that in radio.

    I remember that too. I am a veteran of WCPE, WPJL and WQDR (part time.) Did some turns at WKNC too. I was also an Explorer Scout at WRAL. I loved radio but hated the pay scale, especially in comparison to what engineers typically made.

    One of my old radio buddies, Jeff Dantre', is now on WSB in Atlanta. He stayed the course in radio and has a pretty good gig down there from all I hear.

  • Mar 27, 2008

    Where else in the world can you hear wonderful old rhythm and blues than on WLWL-770 AM from Rockingham---all day, any day. A real treasure. And WPCM-920 AM from Burlington has beach music and oldies all the time. If you like them, go! Both winners of many awards...Fun.

  • oldrebel Mar 27, 2008

    Pat that's a name that at one meant NC radio! I used to love those tv commercials he'd make with him standing by the side of the road with a suitcase and a thumb out looking for " a ride back to the big city"...LOL , He was a toal radio personality in the truest sense of the word. Also, I always appreciated Hap Hanson's professionalism at WPTF. That man was was really great to listen to. Got a lot of good radio personalities out there today even, but so manyu feel like they have to talk dirty and laugh like a hyena to get listeners. Not this listener. I'll flip over to a cd when I hear too much of either of the above.

  • ejwench Mar 27, 2008

    I was a DJ in early 80's & 90's in the Triangle but my first job was with WYYD-FM here in Raleigh. For a 16 year old, playing A/C was...a stretch...but Mike Finley had faith in me - God save him! I blew the station off the air SEVERAL times because the tower meters were just below your knees to the left of the board (what engineer came up with THAT idea??!!!). I fell/spun out of the airchair one night when a cart failed to fire while I was reading the news wire in the tape room - head hit the panel & blew the station off the air then, too! But the WORST feeling was locking myself out of the station when I was doing something stupid like racing the WKIX jock to the mailbox & back. I miss my old DJ friends, think of them often and smile every time I pass the old studio on Chapel Hill Road. Makes me want to play Barry Manilow on the Ipod. ;-)




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