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May 2004

To read in chronological order, start at the bottom and work your way up.

He was afternoon drive on KDKA big Time. One of his big promotions was a walk to washington pa from pittsburgh. RD Summers, Jim Dudas, Gee Whiz George, .all of the 103.9 jocks also, they all play that song and they all say it was Clark Race’s theme song. I believe he really tried hard to get the job replacing bogut on kdka.. Of course they selected Cigna. Cigna, who’s good, made a dumb mistake at a KDKA reunion show a few years ago.. when he and I believe the goose wanted to know why Clark did not come to the runion…Boy he has some nerve in not coming.. Clark was dead. And they did not even know! Ask half of the morning people in Pittsburgh what Skybus is? uh..don’t know the market maybe. Vito (May 30, 2004)

Greetings: Saw a reference or two to Clark Race using The Trumpeteers (Billy Muir) 1959 minor hit “A String Of Trumpets” (Splash 800) as a theme. Not being from Pgh and only having sketchy knowledge of Pgh Radio other than KDKA (grew up in Illinois, was a flame thrower there at night when not battling the hated WBZ!) I am researching this track for a CD compiler. Need to know the following: Was Clark Race on tv or radio at the time he used this theme, assume radio but not sure? 2. At what station did this happen? Stan Messmer Santa Clara, CA (May 29, 2004)

Eric’s Response: Clark Race did TV, and I THINK he used it there as well as on KDKA Radio.

Eric, I have some questions about your August, 2002 write-up about WOPC-TV(you know, the station that is now WATM-TV on Channel 23). First, what were its broadcast hours back then? Second, what did WOPC air when the Harrisburg ABC station (WTPA-TV, later WHTM-TV) pre-empted an ABC show, being that they took ABC right off the air of WTPA/WHTM? Third, why didn’t they have any local programs? And finally, what were some of those ancient movies that aired on that station? Also, what was the first Pittsburgh TV station to go digital? Martin Connolly Jessica Simpson Rules!!! (May 29, 2004)

Eric’s Response: I think Channel 11 and/or 4 were the first to go digital. Channel 4 has made a bigger deal out of it though.

Just learned of the passing of Josie Carey today and couldn’t help but think of her in the KDKA kids’ show with Sterling Yates. It was the Christmas show, with Sterling Yates as Mr. Wrinkles. BUT there is something I’d love to get some info on. I have a pillow from that time period which I received at Christmas in the early 1960s. It is called a Mister Wish pillow, and somehow I associate it with the Mister Wrinkles Christmas show. Is there any connection, and does anybody else have this pillow(besides my sister and myself?) jan (May 28, 2004)

Geoff Reidell wrote “I’ve been told by a retired ‘QEDer that all of the tapes of “The Place” are in storage in a salt mine in Butler, Pa. Does anybody know for sure if this is the case?” That’s definitley NOT true. Back in the 60’s, a reel of video tape cost several hundred dollars. “The Place” had two whole reels allocated for its use. Every other Saturday we’d go to the Oakland studios and tape two episodes on one reel of tape, over top of the two we had done four weeks ago. We also had a “scratch” reel we’d use to tape the musical performers on before the main show, then we’d drop the musical segments into the show as we taped the interview/discussion portions. In the earlier days before the move to the bunker beside Central Catholic, back in the old studio in the converted old house, we’d tape the shows on week day evenings, and do the whole thing “live on tape”, including the musical acts. One of the interesting things about productions at the original building was that all color productions were done as “remotes”. Even though the studio was in the building, they used the control room in the remote truck outside. “Fresh Blueberry Pancake” was only one of the many great local garage bands on The Place. Others whose names I can remember include “The Upper Tract”, “Clementine Paddleford’s Memorial Public Band”, and a power trio whose name escapes me that had best singer/guitarist I’d ever heard. He played a semi-customized Vox Domino guitar. Other artists on the show included classical guitarist Morgan Donato. What’s really frustrating is the number of really good musical groups we had on the show whose faces are clear as a bell in my mind, but whose names I cannot recall. George Erdner (May 16, 2004)

Eric, Sorry to say, but Televisions manufactured between 1957 and 1961 only had dials that went from 2 to 13 plus VHF. There were no VCR’s, cable tv tuners and certainly no community channels…except, perhaps, in a Jules Verne novel. John Ughlea Conneaut Lake, PA (May 9, 2004)

As a kid I lived in Baldwin Boro. It was from 1957-1961. I remeber that there was a channel 1. What was that? (May 7, 2004)

Eric’s Response: I’m not sure, but it was probably a community station serving Baldwin or Whitehall. If there was a “Channel 1” station it was licensed to a particular community…not the wider city.

There were a few comments in last months mailbag about WQED’s “The Place”. I too have wondered why there is never any mention or remembrance of it by the station. It was a wonderful program in it’s day. I was interviewed, and performed several times on the show, as the drummer of local rock band “Fresh Blueberry Pancake.” Everyone involved in the making of this show was great to work with. I’ve been told by a retired ‘QEDer that all of the tapes of “The Place” are in storage in a salt mine in Butler, Pa. Does anybody know for sure if this is the case? Thanks, Geoff Reidell (May 5, 2004)

Eric’s Response: It seems to me that it would be the logical thing that happened to the videos. I have been past where you turn to get to the “salt mine” when I’ve travelled up Route 8 to Harrisville. It seems to me that there are some major motion pictures stored there as well.

Hi Eric, I just saw your PBRTV website for the first time — very impressive! I’m an amateur radio operator (callsign N3VKA), and video hobbyist. Upon invitation from a ham radio friend of mine who worked at WWCS in Canonsburg, I took my S-VHS camcorder to the station on May 17, 1998. That night I had the honor of taping a bit of the late Mad Mike Metrovich behind the mic, and also captured an informal mini-interview on video. I’ve recently digitized clips from this, and produced a 12 min. tribute to Mad Mike. Being 50 yrs. old, I was thrilled to meet Mike having heard him on radio as I grew up. Unfortunately, he died about 2 yrs. after this taping, at the age of 64. But I’m lucky to have what may be some of the last video images of a legendary Pittsburgh deejay. He was never fully recognized for his historical contribution to broadcasting, but he was such a humble man I really don’t think he cared about that. He did it strictly for the love of it. I’ll soon be putting my little production on DVD, as I do with all of my projects. Nobody will ever see it except for family and friends, but I shall value it. Keep up the great work on the PBRTV site — I’ve added it to my favorites and I’ll share it with my ham friends. They will enjoy it, particularly the history and station personnel portions. Many of the hams I talk to in the Pittsburgh area have worked, or still work, at various TV and radio stations in the area. Sincerely, Geoff Reidell (May 5, 2004)