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Dedicated in memory
Norton was the Owner of KZIA, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
He perished in an automobile crash on 01/29/18. More details here.
As a native, I started listening to WPGC as a kid. So my interest
in the station is much more that just working there. Just
for the record, I started at the "PIG" as a engineer
at the transmitter site in 1970. Was a jock at the same time at
WINX, and WEEL. Got friendly with the jocks and played on the
charity basketball team. Big Wilson
and I became close, and he later hired me as a jock. This was
back when the AFTRA contract stipulated part timers could work
no more than 25 hours a week. So Joel
Denver (Gentleman Jim Madison #4), and I split the all night
show. He did midnight to 3, I did 3 to 6am,but never more than
that for about a year, then got fired for telling a friend at
another station Graham Richards was coming in to consult the station.
'Captain Goodguy' (General Manager, Bob
Howard) had a short memory however, and I was back as Assistant
Chief Engineer from 1973-1974 under Chief Engineer Bob
lost that gig when I tossed a 3 deck cart machine I was working
on, on the floor. By the time Monday rolled around, I had "thrown
it out the window to the street below". However the 'PGC
studios of course were down from ground level on the studio side!!
(at the Parkway Building in Bladensburg).
Peyton #3' was actually
Dave McKay. Dave left WPGC
and went to WCAO in Baltimore. He later founded MAP promotions,
an independent record promotions firm in Kansas Ciy. He has since
retired from that, and owns and operates a Spanish language station
in Kansas City.
Raleigh #4's real name was Dewitt Robert Raleigh. I was there
when he was hired. It was really funny to see what Ho-Ho (our
pet name for Bob Howard) was
going to call him. Obviously he used 'Bob Raleigh' on the
air at his previous stations. Ho-Ho I think wanted to call him
"Johnny Danger" or something equally as insipid,
but came up with the brilliant idea of keeping Bill
Miller as Bob
Raleigh, Senior, and the new Bob
R. Dewitt as Bob
Raleigh, Jr. Meanwhile over at WWDC, the original Bob
Raleigh (#1 - Rolle Ferrar) was billing himself as the real
Bob Raleigh. It was hilarious!
am a fountain of "useless"knowlege of the station from
'70-74 as an employee, and as a fan prior to that. However, after
'74, Steve Kingston and
I were off to Iowa to build KRNA, so I am vague on anything after
my last hurrah there was a big one. Our attorney for KRNA was
Ralph Hardy of Dow, Lohnes, Albertson. That is the same guy that
was later a prominent part of First Media.
Ralph, a terrific guy, and I had Chinese food together quite often,
and the topic came up more than once: "If your were buying
a station in the DC area, what would you reccommend?".
He seemed to always have a client that was interested. Usually
he would have a station in mind (WHMC in Gaithersburg comes to
mind), and would ask me about the staff, engineering, signal,
etc. They were usually dogs.
had a great gossip gang, headed by Dee
Masano, so I knew the inner workings of the estate of Max
Richmond fairly well. It is true that Bob
a first refusal to match whatever other offers the estate got
on the station, however there was a "drop dead" date
to match those offers. I knew that he had offered the estate about
2 million (YES 2 MILLION! - Talk about deflation). GUESS who calls!
Ralph Hardy. It is Chinese time at the Orient in Potomac! We meet!
There is NO small talk. (I order the sweet and sour pork, he the
chicken chow mein). He gets right to the point,"If you
were buying a station in the DC area, what would you recommend?".
Then he adds this twist, "And money is no problem".
Then, "What about WRC?". I said no, NBC is committed
to this new NIS (News & Information Service) thing.
I offered up WPGC. I said, "Here's the deal: (funny
how loyalties change after you have been fired for throwing a
ITC 3-deck out of basement window up on to the street below!).
"Ho-Ho offered them 2 million or so. If money is no problem,
offer them 6 and there is no way he can match that".
Then I asked, "Who is the money?" and he declined
to tell me. THE NEXT WEEK, the offer for, yes 6 million (my GOD
only 6 million for PGC!!!!), was made, Ho-Ho couldn't match it
and the deal was done.
week after that, Ralph asked me to have dinner with him again.
I told him, "Great, the Orient at 7". He replied,
"No, meet me in the Giant parking lot on Seven Locks Road;
come alone". I must admit the cloak and dagger stuff
was cool! So he pulls up next to me right on time, and waves me
into his car; off we go. I inquire "to where?".
"TO MEET THE MONEY", he said. So we wind around
all kinds of dark roads and come upon a house in Potomac near
the old WGMS transmitter site. We walk in (and I will never forget
this). Ralph introduces me to Mr.
Glenn Potter, formerly of WTTG Channel 5. Then like magic
from behind the curtain, enters this stately looking fellow, and
Ralph follows with, "Rob,
this is Bill Marriott".
I almost passed out! Here I am 21-22 years old in the presence
of the most famous business man in DC, or for that matter the
US. And he looks at me and says, "Rob, let's talk about
WPGC". And as a free agent, I talked. And that was the
birth of First
on top of all that, when I was 'Mergatroid', I was was
the last "GOOD GUY" on the air. 'Good Guys Radio'
officially ended at midnight. However, Joel
and I ran it around to 6 so I could be the last Good Guy (actually,
I chickened out and dropped it at about 5, knowing, 'Mr.
Soundoff', 'Captain Good-Guy' [General Manager, Bob
Howard] himself, would be up soon).
did you know that Bill
Miller (Bob Raleigh #3) filled in for
'Mr. Soundoff' under the
WPGC, and all the STUPID names, including, 'MERGATROID'!
Guy Jim Madison #4 (Joel Denver) writes:
sad loss -- Rob was my room mate along with a few other DJs while
we worked overnights for slave wages at WPGC.
Double O (Loo Katz) remembers:
shocking. Terribly sad. One of my favorite memories of Norton
- we’d drive over to 'PGC during Dino
Delgalo’s shifts (at the Parkway
Building) and we’d honk on the horn each time he’d
do a break. Classic Norton.
are way too many Norton stories to tell. I can say he, and his
passion for The Real Don Steele and the Drake format, made him
a mentor and a friend. The fact the original KRNA airstaff were
all transplants from Washington, DC is proof of the deep loyalty
and respect we all had for Rob. Ed, Pope, Keany, and myself
traveled half way across the country to be apart of Robbie Norton’s
Army.... KRNA FM, Iowa City. And for a mere $80 a week!
remember the WOHN, Herndon after midnight transmitter tests
in memory of Rob. Hello Ohio!
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