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- AM & FM / Washington
/ Henderson - Las Vegas
3 stations were among the first seven that aired 'American
Top 40's first show on July 4th, 1970.
owner Max Richmond passed
away, his estate sold WPGC - AM & FM to First Media Corporation
in 1974. Outbid for the station, General
Bob Howard bought
WYSL & WPHD-FM in Buffalo and hired
Harv Moore for mornings.
Air Personality 'Mergatroid' contributes this story:
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
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
fairly well. It is true that Bob
had 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)
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
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,
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).
Anita Miller ('April May') writes:
was sorry too when First Media
took over. Boy what a bunch of characters those kids were. They
didn't even know what ASCAP & BMI were and didn't understand
why we paid them so much every month. I decided to have a bit
of a giggle with them so I told Chris
Fisher not to explain the rules and she sat there
while they decided to discontinue payment of the outrageous
fees. Boy did the fines hit the fan! People should know the
business if they want to run the shop.
- AM & FM / Washington
(Z-93) / Atlanta
Marriott family's First Media Corporation acquired WPGC in 1974
and named Glenn Potter
the new General
Manager. In May of 1977, the Air
Personalities walked out on strike
to the company's plans to run voice tracks on the AM while the
same jock was live on the FM. The union's threats to advertising
agencies in town to pull spots with WPGC air talent on them
from other stations was deemed by the National Labor Relations
Board to be illegal, constituting a secondary boycott, outlawed
by the Taft-Hartley Act. First Media subsequently replaced
the entire air staff (but for one person who crossed the picket
line) with staffers at other stations in the chain.
station's dominance grew throughout the '70's to such an extent
that ABC launched Q107
in 1979 in an attempt to siphon off cume from it, in an effort
to protect WMAL's
numbers. A fierce CHR war ensued with both stations claiming
victory (in actuality, WPGC's adults along with its still viable
teen base surpassed Q107's
the early '80's, First Media, perhaps overconfident with the
station's Adult appeal made the tragic decision to convert it
to a disastrous Adult Contemporary format, thus signaling the
end of Washington's most legendary Top 40 station.
Atlanta was First Media's second acquisition in the chain and
was named after WPGC.
of it radio properties to Cook Inlet, a minority run corporation
in Alaska in the mid '80's, which converted the station to a
CHR/Urban format and operated it until
the station's present owner purchased it in the late '90's,
pursuant to the Telecommunications Deregulation Act of 1996.
thanks to Skip McCloskey of the WRC
tribute site for the audio above).
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