Quent Neufeld - Former WHEN Newsman
"Remembers WHEN"
WHEN Radio/TV Syracuse, NY
"In His Own Words"

Syracuse radio stations 62 WHEN Syracuse, NY The Big 62 WHEN
Some of the other on-the-air radio staff from my time (1962 - 66) included: Deane Parkhurst, Abe Albright, Jack Morse, Bill Snyder?, Gard Smith and Dean Harris. Harris was an old-timer compared to most of the rest of us, but also a fine talent who did the morning show - the funniest guy in town. Every morning he'd thumb through the Post-Standard, loudly crinkling the pages as he read the highlights, commenting on them. He had an on-going campaign when he got to the comics to find new pupils for Orphan Annie, whose artist left her with just holes for eyes. I arrived in Syracuse in 1962. My wife and I drove from South Dakota to attend grad school. I'd never been in the East before, the factories belching smoke in those days as we pulled in made the city feel gritty and intimidating to this flat-broke young couple. We, however, grew quite fond of it before we left. Luckily, I already had four years of announcing experience at a station in Sioux Falls. So when I met John "Skip" Scott at a church social event shortly after arriving, I jumped at his offer to audition for a weekend WHEN announcing gig. That's back when the radio studios were still in an office building downtown; a few months later they moved in with television to brand new facilities on James Street. After finishing my MS program, I stayed on the station doing mostly morning radio news, and gradually more television. Ron Curtis and Arnie d'Angelo were the main TV anchors. In those days the TV news staff didn't come in until after lunch, so I was alone in the newsroom doing radio one morning in 1964 when Paul Adanti, the station manager, called to say Bobby Kennedy was arriving at the station momentarily for an interview, and I'd have to do it. (Someone at WHEN had complained to the Kennedy staff that he'd had been in town several times during his US Senate campaign, but always ignored our requests for an interview. So they are honoring it now on short notice.) In the time it took to get the TV studio camera warmed up, the lights set and the tape machine rolling, it was obvious that Kennedy unhappy about being forced into this interview this kid. Needless to say I was intimidated, but think I did a fair job. That same year we covered President Johnson making his famous Gulf of Tonkin speech at the university, which led to our much deeper involvement in Vietnam. Perhaps my most rewarding experience at the station was during the blizzard of '66 that, as I remember, dumped 64 inches of snow on us, shutting the city down. With only three TV stations we had a captive audience since schools were closed, along with the university, big companies like GE and Carrier - absolutely everybody. We went to fulltime storm coverage on radio including my live helicopter reports. WHEN-Radio even won editorial praise afterward from the two daily Newhouse papers which also owned WSYR, our main broadcast competitor. After four years at WHEN as an announcer, radio and TV news reporter, I left in 1966 for Minneapolis where for the next 12 years I was a reporter, producer and assistant news director at WCCO-TV. When the station was sold in 1978, my family and I moved to Los Angeles where for the next 24 years I was a field producer for the CBS Evening News - first with Walter Cronkite, then Dan Rather - covering everything from presidential campaigns to the OJ trial. It's a job which took me to 49 states and 20 countries; from Manila to Moscow, from the South Pole to Saudi Arabia and Somalia. It was a career I never could have imagined, providing a close-up view of world events. When I retired at the end of 2001, we moved to Lake Oswego, Ore., a Portland suburb, to be near our children and grandchildren.
A couple of years ago we made our first return visit to Syracuse in many years and were shocked and saddened to see the James Street studios closed and boarded up.

Quent Neufeld
2013

A Presentation of...
Class A Communications