My time revolved more around the great times at 980 James Street when the station was
owned by Meredith in the early 70s and radio was radio. I was hired by Jim Ashbery as his secretary. On my job interview I was wearing black nail polish
and he said he thought hed take a chance on this crazy girl. I shared an office off to the side of Jims with the very talented
Mike Andrews. John Patton was GM at the time and WHEN Radio was in its heyday as a personality driven adult contempory radio station. The nice thing about this was we were also a TV station,
and we had some of the greats in TV. From Ron Curtis
, Nancy Duffy and Jack Morse to my buddy Al Roker,
it was pretty amazing.
Of course we had the great Rod Wood
in radio news and it was always a fun day when you ran into Rod on your way to your office
in the morning. Sometimes wed dance down the hallway on the way to work. Ill never forget Rod harping about the hookers
at the Ramada Inn in Liverpool mumbling something about a bust there.
Phil was the morning man, and some mornings came sooner than others Phil liked to party! We all did, and many a night I believe
Phil came in from an all niter. Many a morning the all night man would have to wake Phil up to get him on the air. It was always fun
to watch him try to get through morning drive when those days happened. Phil had a temporary Class 3 license at the time and time
was running out. We both took our exam in Liverpool. I passed, Phil didnt. Capt. Gordon (Spooner) had to fly Phil to Buffalo
to re-take his exam. I think Dr. Al Jones (back with the hits) did mid-days at the time, Jack Mindy
was afternoon drive,
John Simmons was evenings and I believe for a short while when I was there Roy Taylor did overnights. Terry OShea was doing some
shtick for Phil at the time and eventually replaced the overnite person as The Coyote. When Gordon went on vacation I replaced him
doing traffic reports under the handle (Pvt. Galore). We had fun flying over the city and reporting traffic conditions.
One time in particular was quite memorable. In those days the way the station was monitored was with a transistor radio being held
to your ear and listening for your cue. Gordon called Jim one New Years eve while doing afternoon drive traffic reports.
He told him his batteries ran out. Jim sent me to Sair Aviation to meet Gordon in between his reports to give him fresh batteries.
It was a cold, dark, snowy ride to the hangar. When Gordon landed he asked me if I wanted to go up and I said sure why not. Once we took off
he told me he shouldnt have really been flying in that kind of weather. Needless to say I was glad when we landed.
Doug Brode as our entertainment critic and he conducted many great interviews in the production studio, once I remember
meeting Patty Duke and John Astin. There was a weekly Call to Action show produced by Mike Andrews. We worked with some young high school
students from Junior Achievement who wanted to pursue a radio career. Does the name Skip Clark sound familiar? Yup, he was one of them.
The girls had a softball team at the time. Myself, Audrey Wilkes, Kathy Mindy and Nancy Duffy were some of the people involved.
Jeff Laurence (WOLF)eventually joined the gang in Radio Production, with his ballsy voice, I think it was just before Mike Andrews
left for Naples. Jeff was another talented individual doing great production. WHEN studios were always the place we wanted to be and
hung out even when you werent on the clock. With a number of people we tried to put together "jock shouts". They didnt come out that
bad, and Im sure somewhere in my collection there maybe a "Leigh Taylor" one or two.
Linda Arnold was in charge of promotion at the time. She worked closely with the Call to Action people. The one big promotion
that Linda Arnold was in charge of was WHEN Radio Has Gone Bananas!
The station got a contractor to make this gigantic banana.
It was erected downtown on the side of I think, the Goldberg Furniture store on Salina St. in downtown Syracuse. John Simmons
stayed in the banana for a week or so
until someone answered their phone "WHEN Has Gone Bananas". Prior to the launch of this promotion the Mayor of our fair city
Lee Alexander was in the hospital. Bud Stiker asked me to make a loaf of banana bread to be delivered to Alexanders hospital room,
saying, WHEN Has Gone Bananas. He didnt die so I guess it was good.
After Mike left to become PD at WRGI in Naples, Florida he began calling me to ask if I might like to come down there to work.
I was ready to make the move, but Mike thought better of it and first let Jim Ashbery know I was planning on leaving.
Jim Ashbery in turn offered the Sunday night show to me. That was the beginning of the Night Lady (Leigh Taylor) on WHEN radio.
Sunday nights were great, and I had a little company with my good friend Al Roker who worked just across the hall in TV. I still have
this vivid picture in my mind of Al running from one end of the studio window to the other back and forth whenever I played
Philadelphia Freedom doing his jazz hands and with that great big smile. Actually a month or so ago while watching the TODAY show
it was flashback Thursday and they said that Als favorite song was "Philadelphia Freedom". Brought back a lot of good memories.
Eventually Jim Ashbery went on to WFBL radio where he put together a team including myself (Leigh Taylor, The Nite Lady), on Super Radio!
Of course when I got a "real job" I still did radio for many years part-time, so WHEN Radio was not a stranger to me, although
it was now owned by Park Broadcasting. When I returned to WHEN/WRRB studios at 620 Old Liverpool Rd. it was not the same. However,
this is where I began my love of country music and when asked if I wanted to go down the hall to the WHEN studio instead of WRRB I said
I thought Id like it better on the country side.
There are many good memories of my time on James St. And that name "Leigh Taylor"? At the time Roy Taylor and Chip Lee (Leigh and Taylor)
had left the station so Jim Ashbery decided to have Jeff put the two names together and voilá...Leigh Taylor was born!!!
Ed. Note: You can see a cartoon Al drew especially for Leigh here.