WGH - AM Radio Station
Newport News and Norfolk, VA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WGH
1952 Newport News City Directory, p. 92
Courtesy of Tom Norris (HHS - '73) of VA  - 12/10/04
Thanks, Babe!
04/27/04
11/10/03

SCROLL DOWN FOR SPECIAL BONUS!!!

RADIO STATION WGH 1310 "AUTHENTIC VIRGINIA GOLD" RARE SPLASH VINYL COLOR LP ISSUED IN THE 60'S.
INCLUDES VARIOUS 60'S HITS PLAYED ON THE STATION
SUCH AS JAMES BROWN, BOB MARSHALL & THE CRYSTALS, ROBERT PARKER, SHADOWS OF KNIGHTS, STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK, BEAU BRUMMELS, BILL DEAL & THE RONDELLS
AND MANY OTHERS
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 07/01/04
WOW!  Thanks, Dave!
 WAY BACK THEN: LATER: THEN:
Newport News and Norfolk Ferry Pier and W.G.H. Broadcasting Station W.G.H. Studios
Next to Warwick Hotel
"Miss Shirley Linkous, employee of HRPE since 12 March 1945, is the first civilian to entertain troops aboard ship during debarkation. The diminutive Newport Newsian, who is assigned to the Office
of the Director of Personnel, sang a two-hour program of popular selections for the wounded troops aboard the USS WEST POINT. Some of her best received numbers were 'Don't Fence Me In,' 'Embraceable You,' and 'Star Dust.' No amateur, Miss Linkous has been the featured vocalist with Blair Blanton's orchestra for two years and for seven months last year conducted her own musical program over Radio Station WGH."

This remarkable image is courtesy
of The Library of Virginia, and was discovered and shared by Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/26/03.  

Shirley Linkous is Dave's mother's sister!
Thanks so much, Dave!

1950s - Shirley
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 08/22/03
Thanks, Dave!
Courtesy of The Library of Virginia,
via Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/11/03
Thanks, Dave!
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA -
 01/24/04
Thanks, Dave!
THEN: NOW: NOW:
Here is the WGH studio at Newport News Point in 1930.  Notice the nifty logo hand railing. Former W.G.H. Broadcasting Station Site of W.G.H. Studios
Next to Warwick Hotel
Thursday, January 15, 2004 Sunday, April 3, 2005
Shirley Linkous Girt Callaway of TX
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 03/07/05
Thanks, Dave!
Images by Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/15/04
Thanks, Dave!
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA  - 08/24/07
Thanks, Dave!

NOW: THEN: NOW:
Dick Lamb Gene Loving
 http://929thewave.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWDE-FM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WVBW 

soundspark.com/
NewSoundsparkGarageSale.htm
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWDE-FM

http://www.goldengatecap.com/news_02_20_03.shtml

 Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA -
08/02/04
Thanks, Dave!  
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/10/03
Thanks, Dave!  
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 08/02/04
Thanks, Dave!  

THEN:
June 18, 1961 July 23, 1961 September 24,1961 July 29, 1962 September 15,1963 March 1, 1964
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 08/02/04
Thanks, Dave!
Platter Princess Paula Sturtevant ('62) and Second Week Finalist Angie Ray ('64) are both featured on this issue. Courtesy of Steve Silsby (FHS - '72) of NC - 10/17/05
Thanks, Steve!
Platter Princess Jane Coltrain ('64) is married to Gerald Leonard ('66), Mike's brother. Courtesy of Steve Silsby (FHS - '72) of NC - 03/02/15
Thanks, Steve!
Courtesy of Mike Leonard ('68)
of VA - 08/25/05
Thanks, Mike!
Courtesy of Mike Leonard ('68)
of VA - 01/17/05
Thanks, Mike!
 
February 7, 1965 March 7, 1965   January 2, 1966 March 6, 1966 March 20, 1966
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 05/12/03
Thanks, Dave!
Courtesy of Anne Marlow Fitzgerald ('65) of CA - the above Platter Princess! - 08/31/05
Thanks, Anne!
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs
('64) of VA - 03/25/03
Thanks, Dave!
Platter Princess Sandy Paine (Warwick HS - '66) is Terry's wife. Courtesy of David Whitley ('67) of VA - 09/29/06
Thanks, David!
Courtesy of Terry Haney ('66) of VA via Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/20/05
Thanks, Terry - and Dave!
 

IMAGES FROM WGH - STATION OF THE STARS:  http://alohanews.com/wgh.htm

This site is run by former WGH disk jockey, Dale Parsons ('69) of HI.
Thanks, Dale!

June 30, 1939 Newspaper Log April 17, 1941 Newspaper Log December 1956 Old Studios - 1963
"Long ago, newspapers ran radio stations' program schedules as a service to their readers. This one ran in the Daily Press on Friday, June 30, 1939." "Here's another one from Thursday, April 17, 1941. Note the frequency of '1340 KC.' In March of that year, most U.S. radio stations shifted their frequencies to higher positions on the dial." "The back of this picture notes that it was taken on December 11, 1956. What is now Mercury Boulevard was only a two lane road. (Was the name 'Military Road?') Todds Lane is in the background. A few years later, garages and Quonset huts would be added for offices and extra studios. By the end of the 1960s, the towers would be taken down, after the nighttime directional site was moved to the upper portion of Todds Lane. In 1972, Todd Center was completed on the site, with new WGH studios and offices built near the area of the tower in the foreground of the photo." "Here's another shot of the old Mercury Boulevard studios. Note the building additions since the 1956 photo, including the Sky Studio. The year '1963' is written on the back of the photo."
 
Sky Studio Mercury Boulevard Sign George Crawford, Sr. -
Old Studio
George Crawford, Sr. -
Doggie Rest Stop Contest
"The Sky Studio was a fixture in front of the old Mercury Boulevard studios for much of the 1960's. I believe it disappeared when the service roads started going in on the highway." "In front of the studios on Mercury Boulevard. This photo was taken as the city was widening Mercury Boulevard and adding service lanes. Note the construction in the background." "Here's George Crawford in the old on-air studio on Mercury Boulevard. The studio wasn't much larger than maybe 9' wide and 10' deep. I believe the Make-Up Room (a recording studio) was on the left side of the photo and the News Room was on the right." "It's George Crawford, Sr. in the Conference Room in the old Mercury Boulevard studios, going through contest entries. I believe this had something to do with designing the
ultimate doggie rest stop."
George Crawford, Jr. -
Spotter Car
July 1, 1958 - WGH Float in the Consolidation Parade Keith James Dec. 14, 1963 - Keith James Fan
Club Official Membership Card
"Here's the WGH Sunshine Spreader Spotter Car with George Crawford, Jr. at the wheel, getting ready to spot round, yellow WGH window stickers on autos. It's parked in front of the Showmobile, which contained a complete on-air studio with a Gates Yard Console, turntables, cart machines, etc. On the far left side of the photo, beside the Ford Van, is the truck that was utilized to pull the Showmobile to and from remotes." Newport News:  A Centennial History. John V. Quarstein and Parke Rouse, Publisher-City of Newport News, 1996 "Here's Keith James! If you look closely, it's autographed." "Here's my official Keith James Fan Club membership card. He also sent a bag full of silver ballpoint pens, with a microphone and call letters on the clip and a bunch of autographed publicity photos. Shortly after this, Keith left for CHED in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada."

- Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/10/03, 11/18/03
WOW!!!  Thanks, Dave!

LATER:
Larry Bonko's Column in The Virginian-Pilot, Monday, April 20, 1992
Dear Carol,

Yes, that is Bob Calvert on the Nachman's commercial I sent you. What a cool guy. Once when I worked on the stage
crew for a Community Theater production at the old NNHS auditorium in 1969, Bob was the narrator for three one-act
plays. He was late and the director was concerned because Bob was not there yet and the show was about to begin.
I was out on the old ramp behind the stage where the alley was in between the stadium and the auditorium. All of a
sudden there was the squealing of car tires and the engine noise of an approaching trans am. It came to an abrupt halt
and out came Bob with a loud, "#@% *#!& it !! I made it! "  He was quickly escorted to the podium by an ecstatic director
and the show went on. Many people must remember Bob riding on his motorcycle on Mercury Boulevard and around
Newmarket. Once he stayed down in a bomb shelter at the old CMJ bank in Warwick Center. I went to Bob's funeral
in 1992 and and in front of his casket was his picture in the old WGH redcoat and his old Baron Be Bop theme song
played during the memorial. To all of us in the broadcast profession Bob was considered to be one of the best voice
over artists that ever graced a microphone. And he was a friend to many.

 
- Tim Parsons ('73) of VA - 12/14/04
WOW.  Thanks, Tim!

NOW:
ESPN Radio 1310 WGH - AM
5589 Greenwich Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
(757) 671-1000
"On May 30, 1992 country was dumped and Virginia's first only sports station
was born using the 'Sports Entertainment Network'."

Dave also found this history of WGH-AM on the Web - 05/12/03:
<http://vartv.com/hamptonroads.htm>

Thanks, Dave!

Carries the Norfolk Tides Triple-A baseball games. Dates way back to 1928. This used to be Tidewater's main 'top 40' contemporary station in the 1960s and early 1970s. This station took to the airwaves in October 1928 as WNEW (for Newport News). Call letters were changed to WGH about six weeks later to say 'World's Greatest Harbor.' (The WNEW calls were later taken by the 1130 kHz station in New York City.) WNEW (Newport News) was apparently the
descendant of a station at Virginia Beach, WSEA, which did not last long and went dark about 1927.

This allocation was picked up by a fellow named Tom Little, who moved it to Newport News. The original WNEW frequency was briefly 1430, then 1310, then and 1340 after the big frequency shakeup of 1941. In January of 1949, it was moved back to 1310 with a big power increase from 250 to 5,000 watts and a brand new transmitter and studio facility in what is now Hampton, VA (city of license stayed Newport News). Station was an NBC Blue, later ABC affiliate.

In the mid-late 1950s, WGH dumped the network programming for Top 40, with the name "Color Radio" or alternatively "Color Channel 131." They were still trying to compete with TV, then only black and white - so the radio had to be color! Go figure.

From the 50s to the late 60s, many of their jingles said "WGH in Old Virginia." Also known as Music 131, Mighty Radio, Famous 1310, the Rock of Virginia, and 13 WGH. Station has been licensed to both Newport News and Norfolk.

 From 1954 until 1971, WGH was the home of Bob Calvert, a legendary local radio announcer who was the inspiration for Wolfman Jack. During the mid 50s, Bob had a nighttime weekend show in which he became "Baron Be-Bop," playing R&B music and speaking in a black-affected accent. The show was wildly popular, and part of the reason they switched to Top 40. Wolfman Jack at that time was working at 1270 WYOU in Newport News under a different name. He heard Calvert's act, decided to borrow from it, and the rest is history!

WGH was the number one station in Tidewater from the late 50s until the mid-70s. The format was changed to adult
contemporary in the early 80s, but that failed to recapture
the station's former glory.

The stations (AM & 97.3 FM) were sold in 1983. The new owners changed the call letters on both stations to WNSY. (Jokingly called "We're Not Sure Yet.") The AM format was switched to oldies. Around late 1984, the call letters were switched back to WGH on the AM after a difficult battle with the FCC. Once you give up three-letter calls, they don't like to give them back! The format was switched to "Real Country" (automated satellite format).

After Susquehanna Radio took over in 1985, the AM format was switched (early 1986) to "Travelers Radio." This was automated information geared toward tourists. In late 1986, Travelers Radio was dumped and we started simulcasting with the FM (97 Star... in December 1986 they got WGH-FM calls back). The simulcasts ended about 1990 when it took CNN Headline News TV audio, syndicated and formatted for radio. This was a big hit during
the Gulf War.

In March 1991, that was dumped for Real Country once again. On May 30, 1992 country was dumped and Virginia's first only sports station was born using the 'Sports Entertainment Network'.


SPECIAL BONUS:

OK, all you Typhoons from the 60s who stayed up late into the night
"studying" ............... but probably listening to the radio under the
covers or in a closet ........ or maybe even in a car in Huntington Park
late on a Saturday night ............. here is something which you never
dreamed you would ever hear again. I won't spoil the surprise by telling
you what you are about to hear, but, trust me, it will take you back 40
years in a flash and you will feel like a teenager again.

The bad news is that you have to work your own way to this little gem,
because it is cleverly programmed to prevent copying.

So, here are the step-by-step instructions:

1. Open a new browser page, if you don't want to leave the NNHS Page.
Otherwise, just cut and paste this URL into your browser's address window

or click on the link: http://www.alohanews.com/wgh.htm

2. That should open a page with a red background frame on the left.
In that frame, click on the button labeled: AIR CHECKS.

3. That will open a new frame on the right.
Scroll all the way to the bottom and click on the button labeled: AIRCHECK

4. That should open a page with a media player.
Shortly, you will hear a "Blast from The Past".

Don't say that I didn't warn you about this.
If you live with someone who is unfamiliar with WGH in the 60s,
alert them that you will be unavailable for about 10 minutes
and that there will be a strange glaze over your eyes and a silly smile on your face.

ENJOY!!!
 

- Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/11/03
Thanks, Dave!

http://www.hremc.org/radio.htm

30 MINUTE AUDIO CLIP FROM 1976:  http://radio-info.com/airchexx/wgh13-78.ram

12 MINUTE AUDIO CLIP FROM 1988: http://radio-info.com/airchexx/wgh-kelli.ram

- Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/10/03
Thanks, Dave!


I just went to the W G H site  ....WOW!!!!  It was like being in Mr Peabody's Way Back Machine (Rocky & Bullwinkle). 
The jingles, photos, etc. .... it was a wonderful stroll down memory lane . 

Now if someone can tell me where to get a copy
of the NEWPORT NEWS HIGH SCHOOL TYPHOON MARCHING SENIOR BAND playing GIANT ...  well, life would be complete.

- Jim Dossett ('66) of VA - 01/14/04
Thanks, Jim!


One person that could readily give you some great information is "J. Hunter Todd" (Class of 1957).
He worked weekends while we were in High School, often substituting for Bob "Boob" Calvert.
His great voice hid his youth back then.
(He is) in Houston, TX, where he heads an international film festival...
He could provide some great stories.  The girls mobbed him back then during remote broadcast.  Right, Toddy?

The station manager in the late 1940's until about 1968 was Mr. Ambert Dail.
Ambert had served as a bombardier for a B-29 Superfortress in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II,
and came to the Peninsula after the war to become the station manger of the World's Greatest Harbor AM radio station.

He promoted the station, with personal appearances each Saturday
at the Paramount Theatre, using the stage name "Uncle Ambert".
 "Where is Uncle Ambert?  Where is Uncle Ambert" was the little jingle the audience would sing
until he appeared on the stage, with a roar from the crowd, at the beginning of each show.
He sure packed a crowd into the Paramount each week.  I believe it was a live broadcast.
When the show was over, which included contest and prizes, the feature film would be shown on the big screen,
usually a Roy Rogers or Gene Autry film to thrill the audience, and a Three Stooges comedy included,
or a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Mr. Dail was also a Cub Scout Master for many years in the Marshall Courts and Seven Oaks East End
neighborhoods, and was highly respected for his volunteer efforts with kids.
He retired when the station was purchased and resided in Yorktown with his wife, Isabelle, and their adopted children.

You might consider him as one of your Favorite Soldiers, since the Air Force was a part of the Army in WWII.
He was a well known celebrity on the Peninsula.

One of the finest Disk Jockeys at WGH was Roger Clark.
Smooth delivery, and a man who knew music.  He aired in the late evenings.
In the late '50s the radio on the Quarter Deck at Marine Barracks-Norfolk Naval Shipyard
was always tuned in to Roger Clark for the 2000 to 2400 Watch.
His theme song was a big band sound, with a wonderful female vocalist.
I do not know the name of the tune but one lyric, and maybe the even title, was "A pretty girl is like a melody".

Roger went to WFOG-FM in Suffolk, VA after the purchase of WGH,
which I seem to recall was owned by the family that owned The Daily Press and The Times Herald newspapers.
I think it the Bottoms family.  Dorothy Bottom ran the enterprise after her father's death.

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 06/01/04
WOW!  Thanks, Joe, for all this fascinating background information!


From Hunter Todd ('57) of TX to Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 06/02/04 (used with permission):

Howdy from Houston...
What fun to hear from you and see all that stuff about WGH... those were heady times... we were all so young and innocent...
I guess I worked with The Bobster for three years, before he moved his act to Norfolk...
I was actually appointed Program Director of WGH-FM back in the classical days... worked a full sked.
Filed in on the AM Rock side on weekends... that was the fun part...
Being PD of FM was too easy, just write down Mozart, Bach, Beethoven stuff for days on end, pull the vinyls, put them in order and that was it... I had a Lancia Aurelia sports car then, a real babe magnet too... worked through High School and College too...
Started at WVEC (We Virginians Eat Crabs) then went over to WHYU... "serving who? Why You!" ...
they had a studio right next door to the old downtown WGH studios... I met Ambert...
and the new manager, Dan Hydrick, a real tough cookie, and he hired me to fill in on weekends, and so it started...
but I found out that only the big dogs make any money at all, and went into film production after William & Mary...
made films as a projects officer in the US Army Signal Corps,
worked at the Cape during the days of "the Right Stuff" and then Atlanta,
then the Virgin Islands for a film festival and Houston since 1978... a long run...
a fine town, close to the water and winter is on February 23rd each year...(;-)

So that is the re-cap, great to hear from you...Our Typhoon Alumni group is the most active one I have ever known,
W&M does nothing really, I have been President of the local W&M chapter,
but its national Class of '61 is nowhere as good as what our old class of '57 has...
Thanks and all the very best... more on me at
www.worldfest.org
Hunter


From Joe Madagan ('57) of FL to Hunter Todd ('57) of TX - 06/03/04 (also used with permission - I think...)

Hi, Hunter:

It is great to hear from you. Thanks for filling me in on the important details.
The last time I saw you, I was walking down Peachtree Street in Atlanta,
and was crossing the side street next to the old Continental Insurance Company building, going to lunch. 
You tooted the horn, and shook my hand from the driver's seat of that beautiful Lancia Aurelia with the top back.
I remember our chance encounter lasted until horns started blowing from the cars behind you when the light turned to green.
It is etched in my memory, almost as much as my chance encounter with Adrienne Price ('57) working
 at Miller & Rhoads in Richmond, VA when I had a two hour layover in Richmond coming from Parris Island, SC.

You are right about the Class of 1957, they are just wonderful, and so caring.

Your message sure brought me great joy this day.

Always,

Joe Madagan
 


Thanks, Hunter and Joe!  As personal as they were, your words were of great interest to us all,
and we appreciate your sharing them with us.

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 06/03/04


WGH-AM Radio had a significant impact on our young lives on the Virginia Lower Peninsula by
bringing us listening pleasure day and night. That impact is clearly shown
by how well our memories serve us in the September of our years.

Each month the NNHS Class of 1957 is treated to a “Music Trivia Quiz” by the “Ol’ Wein” (better known as Raoul Weinstein)
in which he sets the scene of a time and place in Newport News, Hampton or Warwick, and proceeds to weave his tale
into a song that was playing on the radio at the time, or popular about then. It is a “HOOT” because he reminds us
of the Old Stomping Grounds and those great tunes booming across the air waves from WGH-AM.

Raoul was kind enough to permit my recollection of a particular song to be used one month, and several people
guessed the right answer because the tune was so popular for many months, actually a couple of years.
It had staying power. It first hit the charts in February 1957 and remained very popular almost
as a standard on the radio in the evenings, especially Roger Clark, my favorite DJ.

The “mystery” tune was “So Rare” performed by Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra.
Jimmy took a solo part with his saxophone that wailed beautifully, especially on a summer night.

My memory of the magnitude that WGH had on our lives is best illustrated by one Sunday evening in July 1959.
I was a young Marine serving in the Marine Detachment aboard the USS BOXER, a carrier built in Newport News,
and had taken a few days leave when it was interrupted by a call for all hands to return to the ship for a movement
on Monday morning with Amphibious Squadron TEN to steam to the Caribbean Sea and stay on station
at Guantanamo Beach, Cuba to confront threats by Fidel Castro made upon the U.S. Naval Base there.

Maybe it was all the emotion of the moment, but as I walked along three city blocks making my way to the CRT Bus stop
to take me to the Greyhound Station on West Avenue, I could hear “So Rare” on WGH coming from almost every house
that I passed by, and I even wonder if everyone did not turn up the volume a bit when it was aired.
Of course, few homes had air conditioning back then, so with windows and doors open, a soft breeze blowing
in the evening air, the music filled the street. Jimmy Dorsey’s wailing saxophone taking the lead. Sweet!

For the next three months that tune was repeated in my memory time and again, as I stood long hours of duty
on the Open Bridge of the ship. All it took was a light breeze in the night air to put me
right back on Orcutt Avenue, walking to that CRT Bus stop.

Thanks to WGH, we heard the sounds of our time and they were great.


- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 06/26/04
OHHH, Joe - what a story!  Thanks so much!


 
I listened to WGH occasionally when my parents bought a "crystal set" in the early 60's, but started listening religiously right about the time the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in Feb. 1964 (a really big shew). From that time thru the time I left home for college - Jan. 1973 - I played WGH at every possible opportunity. In the mid-60's there were 6 deejays who called themselves "The Swingin' Six". George Crawford came on in the early morning, followed by "Dandy Dave Cummins." Bob Calvert was on the early afternoon, then Gene Loving's show came in the late afternoon ("Lean Gene"). The prime-time spot belonged to Keith James (who, around ‘64, was replaced by the famous DICK LAMB), and then the late-late show was hosted by Roger Clark. Bob Calvert did the Top 30 show each Sunday afternoon. For some reason, WGH only had a 30-hit list instead of Top 40 like most stations. Also, each weeknight in the mid-60's, you could call the WGH "Hitline" from 6-6:30 PM and cast your vote for your favorite song... and the top 10 of the day was played later that evening on Dick Lamb's show. I remember George Crawford made his own recording of "In The Still of the Night" (the singing was double-tracked but still pretty bad) BUT it went to Number 1 on the Hitline on its single night of release. The same thing happened when Dick Lamb recorded "That's a Rockin' Good Way." Bob Calvert must have done the announcing for hundreds - maybe thousands - of radio commercials. He had a deep, gruff, distinctive voice. I understand Wolfman Jack acknowledged copying Bob Calvert's format in formulating his own! George Crawford's show was intellectually clever, and he had a lot of little cute little sound bites from old Jetsons' cartoons, etc. His closing theme song was an instrumental of "Red Roses for a Blue Lady". Rumor had it that it was GC's son who said, "It's CASEY....Chevrolet time! but now I understand that the voice belonged to a member of the Casey family. Roger Clark played VERY old oldies, like 40's & 50's stuff, which I like now, but couldn't relate to at the time. I thought the Roger Clark Show was "dumb" when I was 11 years old, but didn't realize how thoroughly excellent it was. He would play stuff like "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd a Baked a Cake (Patti Page), Rosemary Clooney, etc. WGH on the whole was pretty Navy-oriented. A young lady named "Sally" announced ship arrivals every day (while "Anchors Aweigh" played upliftingly in the background). There were loads of commercials for Naval tailors in Norfolk - Anchor, Bill's, Esquire, etc. - talked about how you could get your blues, civvies, hashmarks, etc. There were also lots of car dealership commercials - Thompson Ford (had a jingle sung to the tune of "Skip To My Lou").... "Thompson Ford has the Ford for You.....". I have to mention this because George Thompson, Jr. is still a very good friend of mine. And Kimnach Ford ("big deal, big deal out of Kimnach"), Casey Chevrolet, etc. The WGH news came on at five minutes before the hour, usually preceded by frantic horns and drums, as if the station was about to charge into battle. The announcer would bellow, "DOUBLE-YOU! -- GEE! -- AYCHE! RADIONEWS!!!!! ...followed by an orchestral lick of "Dixie". Then, as the drums continued to pound away in the background, the announcer would proceed to read the "big news digest." The news announcer I remember most was Dick Kidney, who had a rather nasal voice. I believe he was a Newport News native. After the news, the announcer would say, "On the 'GH weatherscope"....and proceed to read the forecast.

Once a week, WGH issued the well-known "music-caster" which were two-color single sheets showing the top 30 listing for that week. For most of the duration, they were printed by Prestige Press in Hampton. It seems to me the music-casters would come out on Wednesdays. You could get them free at Kresge's in Hampton (Riverdale Shopping Center) or wherever 45 rpm records were sold. I was very happy to see several music-casters posted on your website lately.... doesn't nostalgia hurt so good?? WGH stood for "World's Greatest Harbor", which was the harbor of Hampton Roads, Virginia. The station general manager, Ambert Dale, would read an editorial commentary every now and then, which my young friends & I found boring (what did we pre-pubescents know? NOT MUCH). I understand at this writing, Ambert is very much alive and enjoying life at the Chesapeake Retirement Home in Newport News. At about 6 PM we listened to The George Passage Commentary (was George Passage the owner of WGH???? I don't know.). Sometimes we might even dare to momentarily change over to station WNOR, AM 1230 which was about the only alternative top hit station at the time. There was one DJ I remember named Tom Scott. But most kids were fiercely loyal to WGH. Ah, for the days when radio stations dared to have personalities. Today they all sound alike and/or are boring. O, creativity, where art thou?

ALSO! I was very lucky to have worked with WGH engineer, Dave Desler, in the 1970's at Teledyne Hastings-Raydist. I used to go over to Dave & Lanette's house and Dave would play crazy, weird records. He had a turntable in his basement and was so enthusiastic about playing his collection that he would stop each record before it was finished, and start another one. Oh! How I fondly remember parties and just plain visiting at Dave D's house. I used to wear a tee shirt with a picture of Janis Joplin on it, thus, he always called me "Janis." Dave had nutty nicknames for everybody. A really fun guy!
 
 
- Jean Lankes Toth, HHS '72 - 02/16/05
WOWZERONI, Jean!  Thanks!

 


 

The WGH building by the Boat Harbor was completed in 1935.  It was a very small building and mainly
housed the transmitter equipment.  My father took me to visit the station in about 1940 and I was given
a little tour.  There was no studio although there was a small desk with a turntable.  It was there only
in case of loss of connection to the studio.  The station engineer would then make a brief announcement
and put on some canned music.

 

 

The studios were originally located within the Warwick Hotel, then in a second floor site on Washington
Avenue above the old Grant's store - the little one on the West side of Washington Avenue.  Later the main
studio site was shifted to the Portlock Building in Norfolk, but a small auxiliary studio was added in a
building adjacent to or attached to the Warwick Hotel.  There was also a "remote" in the Daily Press building
on 25th Street, mainly used by Edward Travis, DP reporter who also announced the evening news.  He had
a fine delivery and was often cited by English teachers at NNHS as a model of elocution.

 

Some historical (though mostly technical) info. about WGH appears in my PARC Heritage article which can
be found at:

 

http://www.members.cox.net/kt4qw/findex  

 

This will take you to an introductory page for a history of amateur radio on the Virginia Peninsula.  There are
two pictures of me on the first page you see.  If you can stand it, click on "More about Fred" which will take you
to another page with two more pictures.  One of these is from Dec. 1947 - a few days after I got out of the U.S.Navy.

 

Next arrow back to the first page.  On the left side of that page is a column marked "Features."

Click on "Biographical Sketches."  The bios. are in last name alphabetical order.  The bios. which have
information on WGH include:  Aylor, Dale Jr., Herndon and Needre.

 

In the above, Dale and Needre disagree about the pre Boat Harbor location of the transmitter.  Both agree it was originally in the Warwick Hotel.  Dale says it was then moved to the Washington Ave. site, but Needre insists that Washington Avenue was only a studio. 

 

The Hotel site used only a crude wire antenna.  The first tower was erected at the Boat Harbor transmitter site,
but was demolished  shortly thereafter during a storm (see Needre).  The second tower stood until about 1945
when it was replaced by a huge tower in anticipation of FM becoming dominant.  The decision was made by the station owner who was not a technical expert.  He had planned the much taller tower to also be used as the AM radiator.  Unfortunately the extreme height distorted the radiation pattern and WGH lost its Delmarva coverage.  And as you probably know, FM took a very long time to become dominant.

 

Some good background on WGH is in the 1946 book, Newport News' 325 years.  When last on the Peninsula
(2003) I was in a used book store in Phoebus and they had several copies for sale...........

 

- Fred Field ('45) of CA - 03/09/05
WOW!  Thanks, Fred!

 



You mentioned that you don't know how a fax works.  I won't bore you with that explanation, however, I do have
an interesting fax fact.  In the late 1930's, a number of newspapers around the country experimented with radio
delivery of newspapers.  It was done by a facsimile (fax) machine that was placed in a subscriber's home.  The
newspaper would transmit to the facsimile machine via a local radio station.  Since most stations at the time stopped
their programming at midnight, the transmission would take place between midnight and 5am.  When the facsimile
owner awakened in the morning, their newspaper would waiting in a pile of paper on the floor.  One of the few stations
involved in this experiment was The Daily Press, transmitting over the radio station it owned, WGH.  The transmissions
continued for a short time and were stopped in 1941 when the U.S. entered World War II.

Dale Parsons - '69 (listening to the late night surf as I type on my laptop in Hana, Hawaii) 

 

- Dale Parsons ('59) of HI - 03/28/05
WOWZERONI!  Thanks, Dale!
 


"WGH" mp3 file was discovered by Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/10/03,
and a small segment was converted to an Audio File by my # 6 son, Dale Harty of NC, for our enjoyment - 11/10/03.
Thanks, Dave!
And thanks, Dale!

"WGH" logo courtesy of Dale Parsons ('69) of HI at WGH - Station of the Stars:  http://alohanews.com/wgh.htm,
via Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/10/03.
Thanks, Dale!
And thanks, Dave!

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