[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Altoona stations (re: NERW 9/10: The End of the Summer)

Many thanks to Scott for the current NERW's update on the SW-central PA
market -- especially on stations in and around my hometown of Altoona!

My earliest direct exposures to broadcasting were right there in the shadow
of the Wopsononock tableland's TV antennas:
	-> as a first-grader, ca. 1956, under hot lights at the WFBG-TV
studios, showing how I could read aloud about Dick, Jane, and Spot on "See
How They Learn" ... 
	-> watching Disney in the late 50s (long before the company Walt
spawned became so obviously bent on world domination), via a grainy signal
from Johnstown's venerable WJAC-TV ("Serving Millions from Atop the
Alleghenies") ... 
	-> appearing on a mid-day talker at the same WFBG-TV, ca. 1966, with
a flashy high school science project ... 
	-> writing (or stealing) and voicing "Junior Citizen Editorials"
over WRTA from its basement studio in the "downtown" Penn Alto Hotel ... 
	-> climbing cliff trails behind the Altoona Bible Church to reach
the studios and transmitter site of WVAM (those same three sticks were a
constant horizon companion throughout my pre-Massachusetts youth!);  there,
some H.S. buddies and I were often trying to be cool and hang out with the
jocks ...
	-> thrice getting the 'VAM management to promote my H.S. Key Club (a
Kiwanis-sponsored service group) with a designated broadcast day; for weeks
in advance, we sold time in onesies and twosies to little local businesses;
an amateur-voiced 30-sec. spot cost the sponsor $5.

The last place any of my family lived in that area was ca. late 1970s in an
apartment complex along Rte. 36 -- right next to the modest four-tower array
Scott visited at WFBG's present Logan Blvd. studio site.  Sometime in (I
believe) those same late 70s, 'FBG moved there from its previous place on
Sixth Avenue in Altoona's Eldorado section.

Had I followed my latent radio impulses when I landed in greater Boston in
the late 60s, I might have taken a path into the biz.  (In fact, out of
sloth, I did miss a few opportunities to get involved with the then-WTBS.
Then, in the mid 70s, I did some graduate studies on/in the broadcasting
business, and I got semi-permanently turned off to what it seemed to be like
on the inside.  But that's a 'way-'nother story.)

Fortunately, though -- I think -- I wound up seeking aggravation elsewhere.
(Now I'd really like to "retire" from the software world to have more time
for music and narration work; but that, too, is another tale.)

Thanks, list (and Scott), for this little nostalgic indulgence.  Nice to
hear that there's vitality in that market; sure am glad I ain't there!

- -- Dan Bloom,
one of whose e-mail handles, <tuna@earthling.net>, is based on his
college-era nickname -- which in turn comes from the name of his PA hometown