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It was a different world back then!

WISN - Milwaukee, Wisconsin


I remember being on the phone in my Braintree, Vermont apartment on Brainstorm Road one day in late August 1982 talking to my mentor, RJ Harris. To my surprise, he asked me if I would be interested in becoming his Promotions Director at WISN in Milwaukee, where he was the Director of Programming for both WISN and their FM sister station, WLPX.

This was unbelievable! He said it would pay $400 per week and that there would be other perks, including a company-paid move. He wanted me to fly to Milwaukee at company expense to meet his General Manager, John Hinkle. I would stay at his place and he'd give me the fifty-cent tour of the town. I had only flown once before in my life. That was on a little Cessna. This flight would be on an airliner and I was excited. I don't recall exactly how I managed it, but I was able to take a few days off from WCVR and make the trip without anyone at the station being the wiser.

WISN was a powerhouse on 1130 AM. It was 50,000 watts during the day and 10,000 watts at night. It had a funky twelve-tower array and it was also the flagship station of the Milwaukee Brewers. Baseball is my favorite sport and this was an opportunity to have a greater association. Bob Uecker and Dwayne Mosley were the radio broadcast team for the "82 Brew Crew and it was a darn good club. Harvey Kuhn was their manager and they were called, Harvey's Wallbangers" because they hit so many home runs. I didn't know it at the time, but they would go on the win the American League Pennant and eventually lose the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

Back then, the airlines also served pretty good meals. I remember having lasagna on one of the flights. I was psyched!

I got to Milwaukee and was very impressed. WISN was owned by the Hearst Corporation and had been on the air since 1922. In addition to the radio properties, Hearst also owned Channel 12, the Milwaukee ABC affiliate.

The meeting with John Hinkle was very important. He had been the GM for about 12 years and had been with Hearst for about 30 years. I would be replacing his daughter in the position. The promotions budget was over $400,000 when you combined cash with trade. This was a very promotion-oriented market and the competition was stiff. The Milwaukee-Racine market was #26 at that time.

There's more to this story. Stay tuned!






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