Here's Bradley manning the board.
THE MAGIC, THE MEMORIES
By Bradley Hatchfield
It was 1971, fresh out of college when I was hired by the former General Manager of WJRZ. (Before Nick and his Secretary Vicky). My new job was the station's new "Gofer/Production Assistant/Etc". Little did I know, I'd soon be "adopted" by all my new friends.One Of the jobs assigned to me was driving the Magic Bus(and was that that magic real !).
Other assignments given to me were helping in the studios, doing small production tasks for Don Cannon as well as some of the other Jocks. The entire station made me feel like family. From Edna the switchboard operator who drove a Yellow Mustang fastback, to Kathy Regan the Traffic Manager, (She drove a huge Chevy Suburban). I even helped write and schedule copy for local spots. I remember the "Graffiti wall" in the back patio where we could get away for a little while from the stress of the day. There were parties at Bwana Johnny's and some of the other Jocks. One moment that stands out was when we were gathered in a dark room at Bwana's house, and there were candles and incense lit, with Bwana debuting the Roberta Flack song, "Killing me Softly". We all sat in that darkened room, wordlessly as the song played. It was much like hearing Ina-Gadda Da Vida for the first time.
I also fondly remember George from the mailroom that gave tours, Lynette in Accounting, Inga who sold me my 2nd car. Joe in Traffic, Don and Steve in the newsroom. (I remember Don used to rock back and forth as he said the news. We tried desperately to crack him up while he was reading the news. He never broke until Marcus Driscoll came in one day with a plastic Statue of Liberty filled with soap and squeezed it. We all lost it. There was also Al Kaufhold (Allen Kay), who manned the request lines. He and I did a Shaffer beer commercial as "the Meeces" using our voices, Chipmunk style, to make a "When you're having more than one" commercial. Allen would always have the on air DJ play "Precious and Few" for his girl.
The DJ's had some flashy cars in those days. George Taylor Morris's old Datsun 240Z, fluorescent yellow-lime green. His big black Labrador used to lay under the back window. Ronnie Grant had a Corvette, which he later traded for a Lotus Europa. He even trusted me to take it for a spin. I was saddened to hear he passed away.
I had much interaction with th DJ's at WWDJ . Wheather it was being invited to dinner at Sean Casey's house, meeting his family, or going to Mike and Carole Phillips house. Mike had a little dog that had it's own room and would go get whatever toy they asked it to. If you didn't keep asking him, he'd bring out all his toys. Once I went with Joe Conway to a little Chinese restaurant in Harrison, New Jersey. It featured a piano player named Billy Martin, now known as Billy Joel.
As the driver of the Magic Bus, I would make trips during the week to the NY advertising bureau. They were little adventures for me. The week end's always promised to be amazing with giveaways in all parts of the state,(talk about beach and street parties!) I met so many people. I even got to drive the Magic Bus inside Madison Square Garden and the Nassau Coliseum at The Osmonds concerts. I saw Marie Osmond backstage tossing a football with her brothers. One of my most memorable moments was seeing the Osmond family gather before the concert in a locker room, holding hands, praying together and singing a cappella to warm up. It filled me with emotion to witness the Osmond family in such a private moment.
Another function I had was screening telephone calls for the Sunday Gene Frances talk show. (Gene called me his "producer" but I didn't really produce anything). Gene was gentleman always a to everyone. I remember helping John Brown the music librarian, and Jeff Mazzei the music director, sorting new records that came in for review and airplay. One of the neat perks of working at the radio station was all the great singles and demo records everyone got to keep because we got so many. At the time, one of my hobbies was collecting "B" sides of records. I relished my chats with the engineers (Gene and ) at the station and added fuel to my fire for learning of technical knowledge. I used to make up cartridges for the cart machines as the engineers would spin their yarns. We also attempted to be one of the first AM stereo stations in the NY market.
I was amazed when the new automation equipment arrived at the station, not realizing it was the "beginning of the end" of some of my fondest memories. As the days progressed, most of us were called upstairs one gloomy afternoon and literally given "pink slips" and told that our services would no longer be needed. Alas, the station was going to answer to a "higher authority" as the transition was made to inspirational format.
I'll always remember that day as "the day the music died".. My heart and my spirit were broken. All through college, our professors told us, there is no such thing as job security in radio. Alas, they were right.
It was a privilege and honor to be mentored by so many great people. Even though I was mostly behind the scenes, we all felt a part of something very special. Thanks for the great memories that keep popping into my head every now and then. Thanks to John Porcaro for looking me up and prodding my brain.
WWDJ had the distinction of being able to get up close and personal with it's listeners.
So for the listeners, the on air talent, the engineers and all the support staff and yes, Administration as well, Thanks for letting "The Sound Shine In".
Bradley on that WWDJ request line!
I would like to thank Brad for this article & John Brown for hooking me up with Brad.
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