July 1922, Leslie L. Altman
starts the Bradbury Heights Bus Line to Washington with 2 buses.
Its garage & offices were located at 1510 Southern Avenue
in SE, DC.
In 1926 it incorporates as the Washington, Marlboro and Annapolis
(WM&A) Motor Lines, Inc.
Federal Communications Commission grants a construction permit
for a new FM station to the Chesapeake Broadcasting Company, Inc.
in late 1947 to build and operate a station on 96.7 megacycles
at Bradbury Heights, Maryland, "just over the District of
which selected and was granted WBUZ-FM as call letters for the
& General Manager
of WBUZ-FM was Leslie L. Altman,
President of the WM&A Bus Line.
In late 1948, Leslie L. Altman
was named President of the Chesapeake Broadcasting Co. while continuing
as WBUZ-FM's General
November 12th, 1953, Washington electronics engineer Harry
Hayman receives a construction permit to build and operate
a new Morningside, Maryland AM broadcasting station on 1580 kilocycles.
The call letters WPGC, representing Prince
are issued late in 1953.
Miller, grandson of Harry Hayman writes:
I am pleased to report that Harry Hayman is retired and living
in Boca Raton, Florida. He is 87 years old, has 4 children and
8 grandchildren (I am his second grandchild).
rented the original land from Duval
B. Evans for the station and tower. He owned a convenient
piece of property and he was willing to rent it to me.
didn't have enough capital to run the station for the length of
time that it would have taken me to get profitable. Maxwell
Richmond contacted me to take him as a partner. Which I did.
But he wasn't a very pleasant person and my wife and I didn't
get along with him very well. He made an offer to me for full
ownership and I sold out to him.
then returned to work at the Census Bureau on Univac One. From
there I went to work at the Navy. From there I went to work at
NASA on the Apollo project. When the Apollo Project was ending,
I took early retirement from Federal Civil Service. Then I took
a position as Executive Director of the IEEE Computer Society
for thirteen years.
here I am now retired in Florida.
a month of its on air debut in October 1954, WPGC, Inc (Maxwell
Evans Richmond, President & sole owner) purchases WPGC-AM
from Harry Hayman for $10,000
on November 10th, 1954. He and his family would control the station(s)
for another 20 years.
McCoy, morning man in 1960 writes:
Richmond was an even more difficult man to work for than Bob
Howard. Max would come down from Boston and harass everyone,
Bob the most, of course. He had an office hidden away in the back
of a bunch of file cabinets and partitions. He loved to pick up
his phone and listen to everyone's phone calls, sometimes butting
in, but most often just listening. I never heard him make a positive
comment to anyone.
President Leslie L. Altman
names Leslie Smith as the
new General Manager
Winters is named General
Manager of WPGC-AM in 1955. On
March 30th, 1956, WBUZ-FM changes its call letters to WRNC-FM.
He is also named General
Manager of WRNC-FM in 1956. WRNC-FM
changes call letters to WPGC-FM in mid-March 1958.
Howard joins the stations early in 1959 as its new General
Manager. His larger than life character would surface on the
air in a variety of guises including 'Mr.
Sound Off, 'Captain
Good Guy', 'Mr.
Riddler' & 'Dr.
McCoy, morning man in 1960 writes:
was a difficult guy, but a hard worker. I am glad to see he profited
mightily before he died. Before 'PGC I worked for Bob in Baltimore
(WAQE which later changed its call letters to WTOW). After Bob
left, the owner, Sam Booth, hired two successive genuine lightweight
managers. Neither of these guys could sell and all of the other
salesmen left shortly after Bob did. Business fell off dramatically.
recall Bob as more relaxed there than at 'PGC. Good Lord, he could
not have been more tense. Max
Richmond was an even more difficult man to work for than Bob.
Max would come down from Boston and harass everyone, Bob the most,
once invited me to the first night of Passover seder, a new experience
for me. The two boys were small. Both had water pistols and were
squirting indiscriminately before their parents took them away.
We sat down to the table, all of us wearing yarmulkes, Bob read
from scripture, then we sampled the food, gefiltefish and matzo
ball soup, a few other less than appealing dishes. I thought how
could these two people, both fat, be so heavy eating like this?
How uninformed I was. After the tasting Mrs. Howard cleared the
table and brought in platters of roast beef, noodles, vegetables,
Miller ('April May') adds:
was tough but fair and if you did good he was generous with raises
and praise. Cross him and he could berate you with equal enthusiasm.
He had a pair of lungs for sure. One of his rules was no food
or drink in the office as the equipment in the control room was
the scene of many spills and the engineers
got tired of trying to get cheetos out of the turntables (yes
this was the prehistoric era of radio)
know for a fact Bob came in on weekends to be sure the weekend
guys were playing honest and he caught one poor hapless DJ with
coffee and a sandwich and gave him the axe. He finished his show
and I'm sure the listeners were very surprised to hear Mr.
Soundoff doing the pratter and taking requests. He did enforce
the rule for everyone so when Mr.
Richmond and Associates came to town they had to tke lunch
in the hallway or up on the 3rd Floor lobby because Bob refused
to send out for lunch saying if my employees can't eat in the
office neither can you. My Hero!
Burch, Sue Gardiner
& I used to act as hostesses when the station did Promo Parties
for visiting celebrities and we all helped with mail-outs and
contests. Boy did Bob love to give away money in those days! The
contest, cars and $25,000 at a pop when other stations gave
away T-shirts and records. He had trade accounts with different
clients and the prize closet had everything you could imagine!
Bob encouraged all of us to come up with ideas to improve the
station or the ratings and we were Number 1 all across the board
regardless of age, time of day and the fact that we played Top
40 in a town that was pre-dominately Black or at least very conservative.
I swear, we had old folks in the home, bikers, good-ol boys and
gangsters listening to WPGC just to win money. The Salesmen
didn't have any air-time to sell because we were sold out in all
times for six months in advance. One year we raised the rate card
3 times and still the spots sold. They were reduced to selling
spots when someone cancelled - didn't happen very often.
(Mezger) Carpenter remembers:
1963 & 1964, WPGC did live remotes from the Hampshire-Langley
Shopping Center in Langley Park. They did the 10AM - 2PM Bob
Raleigh (Rolle Ferreria) show the 1st two weeks in June-July-August.
The Chief Engineer, Wayne
Hetrich, allowed me and another boy named Bob Medve to set
up the table, sign, mixer, mic and cord each day. Each
day we showed up and set up everything and took it back down at
2PM. At 13 years old, we felt very important!
day, General Manager,
Bob Howard showed up unexpectedly
to do the show. While a record was playing, the person running
the control board at the station would get his instructions and
"cue word" from the announcer on the air. At one point
I heard Bob saying something like, "OK if you keep missing
my cues I'll come back there and clean house today". His
on-air name was, "The Mystery Voice." When I
saw this spectacle, I just started laughing
and couldn't stop for a long time, but I wouldn't let him see
remember well the glory days of WPGC during 1960's. Bob Howard
was my father.
dad was born Robert Howard Rosenthal. As
a youngster growing up during the depression, listening to the
radio was an important part of his life. He was born just over
a year before the 1929 stock market crash. He worked his way through
Ohio State University as a women's shoe salesman (a job he hated),
graduating at the age of nineteen.
parents met while both attended OSU. Upon his graduation, he began
his radio career at WVKO (1580 AM) in his hometown of Columbus,
Ohio, and legally changed his name by dropping the last name.
While under the tutelage of station manager Bert Charles, he became
a deejay, a sportscaster, a salesman, an emcee at big band concerts,
etc. He learned every facet of the radio business while working
seven days a week for a whopping $50 per week.
possible interest is his grandfather's story. My father's father's
father came to America from Romania in 1890, settling in Key West,
Florida. He finally brought his wife and four children over in
1899, the same year that my grandfather was born (the first family
member born in the U.S.). They moved to Tampa in 1915 and ultimately
had a total of ten children. Tragically, this family patriarch
was accidentally shot and killed just a week after my dad was
brother Steve was born in '51 and I came along in '55. In '56,
my dad left WVKO to take his first management job at a station
in Burwick, Pennsylvania. He left about six months later, to take
the job of station manager at WAQE in Towson, a suburb of Baltimore,
Maryland. About two years later, he came to WPGC.
a kid of perhaps six or seven years old, I did a few spots
for WPGC airplay. I particularly remember singing the jingle for
Foley Ford, 'Get your Ford from Foley Ford, it's the thing
to dooooo'. My brother and I were the big kid and the little
kid on the block, giving safety tips to kids in PSA's. The union
put an end to that!
remember that when Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side' came out,
WPGC played it with its interesting themes but cut out the word
'colored', just as when the 'Ballad of John and Yoko' was played,
the word 'Christ' was deleted. Although I understood the controversies
they wished to avoid, I thought that they should either play these
songs intact or just not play them. (Whereas equalization is now
used to suppress something for airplay such as the four-letter
words found in many songs today, back then they edited a tape
so that the word and that beat were deleted, repeatedly breaking
the rhythm of the song).
dad knew little of the current music they played on the air; he
preferred the big band sound that he grew up with (Jimmy and Tommy
Dorsey, Glen Miller, etc.) when not monitoring the station. He
never understood the psychedelic culture of the late sixties and
tried not to air any songs with drug references, although the
more subtle ones ('Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds', 'White Rabbit',
etc.) were aired. He was quite entertained by the names of some
of the bands, his favorite was 'Big Brother and the Holding Company'.
the '60's WPGC was always being played in my house. Whenever my
dad heard something he didn't like (such as dead air), he would
call the DJ and explode with an abusive tirade that I found embarrassing.
I remember hearing of that episode when Bob
Raleigh (Bill Miller) crawled
through the roof after locking himself out of the studio.
After that, my dad always liked to call him 'Tiger
folks split and my dad remarried, and he and Solange had twin
daughters, Nancy and Yetta (named for my dad's mom, who passed
away in '66). It was Yetta's curiosity that found this site.
dad once tried to parlay the minor celebrity of being Mr.
Soundoff into a failed attempt at running for congress during
the mid '70's. Had he sought my advice
he approached retirement, he amassed a collection of movies from
the era of his youth in VHS format. Then, he collected baseball
cards from this same era, an effort to replace a prized possession
from his youth that had been thrown away by his mom several decades
earlier. These complemented his enormous collection of albums
from this era.
estate of station owner, Max
Richmond receives FCC approval on August 7th, 1974 to sell
the stations for $5.8 million to First
Media Corporation (Richard E. Marriott, Chairman
& 44% owner). The transaction is finalized on October
17, 1974. Outbid for the properties, Bob
Howard exercises his right of first refusal, leaves the station
and purchases WYSL in Buffalo. First
Media Corporation names Glenn
Potter as President and GM.
time salesman Bill Prettyman
was promoted to Vice President and Station Manager in 1976. Glenn
T. Potter continued as President of First
Miller ('April May') writes:
was a trip! He got me involved in a remote broadcast one time
in one of the shopping malls just before Easter and I may never
forgive him. He planned to give away plastic eggs to the shoppers
with prize slips to get records, gift certificates to the different
stores or cash. His wife Sharon and I were supposed to man the
prize booth. The plan was for him to wear an Easter Bunny costume
as he gave out the prize eggs but he waited til the last minute
and no costumes were available. So he tells me the Friday before
the remote that the only costume he could acquire was a Playboy
Bunny costume and guess who had to wear it?!
sure you can figure out the ending to this story. Stop laughing
- it was not exactly my finest hour! Still, I heard later that
the stores claimed it was the best remote ever...business must
have been booming. To
my knowledge Sharon wouldn't let Bill take any photographs. But
I know people at the mall (shoppers and merchants) took some.
Visitors the site may still have some from their private collections
they could send in. I still have the hit man on retainer
to get Prettyman!
Giddens is named the new General
Manager in 1980 when the venerable Bill
Prettyman leaves for station ownership on Maryland's Eastern
Giddens leaves the station in
December 1982 for station ownership and is replaced by Jeanne
tumult, as a mindblowing 50% of the station's cume leaves too.