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Todd Reynolds, et al

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Dedicated in memory of Jim Collins


Few, if any people have worked at WPGC so many times with so many names!
Today, Ed Gursky is retired in suburban Maryland.



Todd Reynolds / Ed Kowalski / Ed McNeal writes:

On Growing Up With WPGC:

My first visit to 'PGC was in the summer of '65 between my HS graduation and starting my freshman year at AU. I went to the Parkway Building to visit Gentleman Jim Madison (Walt Rubin) one Sunday evening when he was doing the 6p-Mid shift. There had been a "Gentleman Jim Hanlon", the first "Gentleman Jim" as I recall on 'PGC briefly in '64 when the station first expanded its FM broadcasts beyond AM sign-off. He didn't last long, and was replaced by Marv Brooks. Remember, living in Montgomery County, it was tough trying to listen to 'PGC on 1580, especially with WINX on the second adjacent frequency at 1600 kHz. Keep in mind, too, that there were no FM car radios in '64. I listened to WWDC or WEAM during the day, and then DX'ed at night, usually to WBZ / Boston or WABC / New York.

On His Ever Changing Names:

Here's the Mr. Ed name chronology at WPGC: From 11/70 - 3/72, I was Todd Reynolds. I don't recall the exact genesis of the name, but I did consider myself fortunate not to wind up with one of the myriad "circus names" given to talent by Bob Howard, e.g., Columbus, Mergatroid, Alexander Goodfellow, Bob Raleigh Sr./Jr./III (yes, really ... albeit briefly). "big" Wilson (he spelled it just that way) didn't want me to use the Chuck O'Neal airname I employed at WEAM. So I was Todd Reynolds at WPGC from November '70 until March '72, when I left to be music director for the never-to-hit-the-air WGMS-AM.

In late-1975, after WYRE changed hands from Erny Tannen / Marvin Mervis / Kerby (Scott) Confer ownership to Syd Abel, I got tired to Syd's attempts to make WYRE the WASH-FM of Annapolis, and walked as WYRE's Program Director. A few days later, I called Jim Collins to ask if I could use the Production Room to make dubs of my audition tape. He agreed, and asked me to leave him a copy. I did, and wound up getting the weekend overnight gig. As I recall, they had moved Marty Dempsey up to Sat / Sun nights after dumping the syndicated Wolfman Jack show, and returning to live and local on Saturday nights. The Ed Kowalski name was an embellishment of Booker T. Kowalski, a pseudonym derived as part of a drinking game (the rules required all participants to make up a phony name for themselves, and at the time, the hardest stuff I was touching was Pepsi!) played on a visit with Dennis Waters and crew when he was at 13Q in Pittsburgh in the summer of '75. I didn't feel like perpetuating the Mr. Ed moniker, so we went with Ed Kowalski. In March 1976, I split for the PD gig at WWSW-AM/Pittsburgh.

After returning from Pittsburgh in late-1977, I was looking for something to fill the time before my FCC gig came through. Dan Mason was shuffling the chairs at 'PGC after Brant Miller went to WLS. He hired me for part-time, starting in December '77. I will never forget my conversation with Dan once the subject turned to jock names. He asked me what name I wanted to use. I told him I had used Ed Kowalski during my last stint, and felt quite comfortable with it. He replied, quoting now, "Naw ... naw, that's too ethnic. How 'bout your real name?" I'm thinking to myself "Say wha? Kowalski's 'too ethnic,' but Gursky's OK?" Rather than challenge Dan's thought processes, I just said I'd prefer keeping my real identity private. We agreed on McNeal after browsing the phone book. Actually, the McNeal came from the first names of two of my gal pals at the time, Mickey and Nila, two PG County schoolteachers. Ed McNeal lasted until I left 'PGC for the last time in August 1978. (Interestingly enough, though, Dan did call me when Jerry Clifton went into 'PGC, to let me know they were looking for weekend jocks. I declined, however, saying I wasn't into the urban stuff they were playing (although it would have been an incredible fit for Booker T. Kowalski!)) Ray Quinn at WCBM had no problem with my using Ed Kowalski there.

As far as working there as many times as I did, I can think of a few folks who stopped by twice (Jim Collins, Dino Del Gallo, Linda Kelly immediately come to mind) but never a third. QUICK! CALL GUINNESS, AND TELL 'EM TO STOP THE PRESSES. WE HAVE A NEW WORLD'S RECORD!

On Others At The Station At The Time:

Moving along: "big" Wilson's handle came from, you guessed it, Bob Howard. "big" was removed as PD when the shit hit the fan as a result of the Chris James phone call that got on the air during Harry Chapin's "Taxi", shortly after 6 PM one unforgettable Sunday. He went on the air in late-Summer '72 to do 6p-Mid. Second song into the show was "Taxi." He gets on a business line and calls hisgirlfriend . Previous jock Brad Scott had left the studio Ampex tape deck in record position WITH the pot on the board UP AND OPEN. Phone call goes on the air over "Taxi." James doesn't know, has monitor potted down. Several profanities, but never the F-bomb. Finally, a listener who was working at the Mobil station over the hill call the newsline to tell James that his call is going on the air, adding "and so is this one!" James quickly figures what has happened.

Next morning, shit hits the fan at the PIG. Bob Howard learns of episode. James is fired. BoHo also discovers several other shady deals Wilson has pulled. Howard strips Wilson of PD stripes, gives 'em to Harv Moore. Shortly thereafter, Wilson moved to overnight remotes, including board op (!), and sales before taking remote idea to WEAM a short time later. I actually heard the phone call on the air. Since that day, I have never been able to listen to "Taxi" without expecting to hear a phone conversation in the background.

I lost track of him after he left DC around '74-'75 (that saga would take more words than I have time for now.) Then in '82, when I was at the FCC, I read in one of the trades where he was Program Director at WNOK in Columbia, SC, a market-leading CHR pulling double-digit shares. This was just before I was taking a week off to visit friends in Myrtle Beach. So I took one day of my vacation, and drove to Columbia for lunch. It wasn't too much later that a competitor came into the market, cut 'NOK's shares in half, and "big" was outta there.

Sometime in '90 or '91, someone, don't remember who, called to say he would be featured on Hard Copy or another of those tabloid TV shows. The show aired at 3 in the morning, so I set the VCR. Turned out that he was running his own chimney sweep biz. He also was having an affair with some low level (Clerk of the Court or Register of Wills) government official from one of the rural counties. They had split up right before the election. Word of the tryst got out just before Election Day. The girlfriend was defeated. She was taking him to court for alienation of affection, and also claiming that he leaked word of their affair as a vendetta for the break-up. IT'S DAMNED SCANDALOUS, I TELL YOU! (I then understood why Channel 4 buried the show in the middle of the night.) That was the last I've heard of him. I will never forget, however, the video of him on someone's roof, wearing a top hat, preparing to stuff the brush down the chimney, all the while flashing his sly grin.

As for Paul Cavanaugh, he was a Jersey boy who worked at WINX while attending AU in the late-60s. I hired him at WYRE to replace Dino Del Gallo when he went back to 'PGC. Paul was part of the staff displaced by the May 1977 AFTRA strike. He later worked for Kerby / Paul (Rothfuss) Rodgers in Williamsport, PA, at the AM/FM combo that was the seed for Keymarket Communications. Sadly though, Paul died sometime around '91-'92. He was still in Williamsport at the time. After replacing the hot water heater in his home, he had to head off to work before getting the thing completely installed. He went to a neighbor's house to clean up, and suffered a fatal heart attack while taking a shower. [Gee, honey. Paul's been in there an awful long time. Hope he doesn't use all the hot water. I've gotta do a load of white clothes.]

Onto The Redhead. The character was a long-running member of Harv's cast. At first, it was Beverly Burch, the station receptionist in the '60s. She had red hair, although I'm told it was not naturally red. The one shown on the playlists was Joanie Fierstein She arrived at the station sometime in '73, I believe.

On The Parkway Building Facilities In Bladensburg:

Bob Howard wanted damn near everything done as cheaply as possible. Any new broadcast equipment was always made by CCA. Consoles, turntables, even new cart machines. CCA cart machines were incredibly noisy yielding an audible (on-air) clunk on start-up. The construction was noticeably shoddy. The cases were made with 1/2-inch plywood covered with Contac paper, something we learned when the side of one of the units got ripped, and we peeled part of the Contac paper off of the machine. Only a near revolt by the airstaff convinced him to buy the ITC triple stacks that were WPGC workhorses for years to come. The Gra-Lab photo timers (there was one for each of the two turntables) were used to countdown song intros. We had NO digital timer. In those days, you had to know how the songs ended.

We were still ALL vinyl in 1971. I'm unsure when the station began putting music on cart. I do know, however, that even when I worked for Jim Collins in '75-'76, we were still playing SOME oldies from disc. It wasn't until Dan Mason became Program Director that the station went all-cart. In 1971, the current music was broken into five categories (A-E, with A's being the equivalent of "powers"; B's were "medium"; C's were the "recurrents"; D's were album cuts, E's were the new adds.). The countertop cabinetry for the console extended out on both sides to house the turntables. It was very solid.

In those days, you respected the turntables, knowing that the slightest bump could produce drastic results. Cue burns were rare, and usually the result of cheap vinyl used for the pressings. Most of the major labels (Columbia, Epic, WB, Atlantic, etc.) used the good stuff. Keep in mind that 'PGC's place in the market allowed Harv to ask for and get a minimum of 10-12 copies of a single once a title was added to the chart.



With Alexander Goodfellow in 1971

Number One in 1971


Yes, that's me in the "#1" photo on the right. The shot was taken of me sitting at my dad's shortwave rig at our apartment on Connecticut Avenue in NW DC. I don't recall how old I was at the time. It was circa 1950.



Print Materials


9/25/71 (As Todd Reynolds)  

12/11/71 (As Todd Reynolds)



Sound Files


1/01/76 - 2:09 - Top 100 of 1975 - (as Ed Kowalski)

2/08/76 - (as Ed Kowalski)

3/10/78 - (As Ed McNeil)




Rabbit's Foot Nightclub (live) - (as Ed Kowalski)


VOB Datsun (live) - (as Ed Kowalski)




Jock Jingle - PAMS 42a - (as Todd Reynolds)
© 1972 PAMS of Dallas


Jock Jingle - Positron - (as Ed McNeil)
© 1978, JAM Creative Productions, Dallas
1978 Jock Shout - Positron - (as Ed McNeil)
© 1978, JAM Creative Productions, Dallas

(Special Thanks to Jonathon Wolfert at JAM for the above).



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