Cary Simpson was laid to rest today. A protege, Ken Hawk checked in with us the other day to offer some more information and memories of Mr. Simpson…
According to Cary’s son Ted, he had been hospitalized in Altoona for dehydration and pneumonia a few days before he died. The doctors were able to stabilize him initially, but he died Christmas Day.
Other than that, Cary was still very healthy for his age. He would have been 90 on January 25th. He still drove himself to and from the station (he lived five minutes away) in his gray 1992 Ford station wagon, and took his meals at The Bullpen tavern behind the station almost daily. He was faithfully at the station by 8:45 each morning. He also survived a bout cancer years ago and had not had any problems since.
Cary’s first station was WHUN in Huntingdon, where he grew up. He helped build it when he was just 19, then they hired him there as PD. I had looked at it and its FM sister, WLAK when I was looking at buying at station in the mid-90s. I called Cary to ask him if money could still be made in that town, and he said it could, but it would take a lot of time, and much hands on work by any new prospective owner. I think he would have bought it if he had the money, but Cary’s more apt to build stations, rather than buy them. But not all of them were successful. He built an AM station in Punxsutawney in the mid 50’s…WPXY at AM 1290. WPME 1540 was the first to go on the air there. WPXY was off the air six years later and WPME is now known today at WECZ and owned by Tony Renda. Cary said Punxy was one of his first ‘hard’ lessons in a venture that failed. But he recovered very nicely. He was a very dear friend of mine and he meant so much to so many.
More trouble for Pentecostal Temple Development Corp. Today, the FCC proposed a fine against PTDC for $25,000 for failure to properly paint and light two of the four towers at WGBN’s (1360 McKeesport) nighttime Lincoln Borough site. The same site that they just received permission to operate a daytime signal for WGBN earlier this month. WGBN returned to the air last week after being silent for a year. The fine also cites that PTDC failed to properly refile an expired NoTAM with the FAA when lights were out. An FCC inspection of the site in October, 2015 brought the situation to light (no pun intended) and promises were made to make the repairs by the end of May, 2016. Repairs remained undone by August.
Michael Jackson, ABBA and Billy Joel are among 15 pop acts selected for 2017 induction into America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame. Michael Jackson, in his first year of eligibility, topped the public on-line vote. The new inductees were announced Thursday. Also newly-elected into the Hall of Fame by public vote are the Dave Clark Five, Earth Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson Five, Diana Ross and Rod Stewart. In the “Legends” category, The Hall of Fame nomination board chose Pat Boone, Fats Domino, the Drifters, Connie Francis and Bobby Vee in recognition of their influence on pop music.
Inductees had to have a charted song prior to 1980 to be considered and were selected from 20 nominees chosen by a national music industry panel based on the breadth, depth and influence of the artists’ recordings. These, alphabetically, are the 2017 inductees into America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame.
In previous years, the Hall of Fame nomination board has chosen Les Paul and Mary Ford (2015) and Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers (2016) as Pop Music Hall of Fame “Legends” for their influence on pop music.
America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame board is currently working with local and state officials to construct a permanent facility. Current plans are for a large, multi-use performance venue as well as both permanent and rotating exhibits. America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame is based in Canonsburg, the home of Perry Como, Bobby Vinton and the Four Coins, who together placed nearly 200 songs on the Billboard charts.