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It was a different world back then!

WRFB - Stowe, Vermont


I worked here part-time during a period of unemployment and did the "All Request Saturday Night Oldies Show" in 1989 and 1990. It was owned by Sage Broadcasting and it was an extremely challenging time in my career. Tim Hoehn, who had worked with me as my Assistant Program Director at WCVR and whom I made Sales Manager at WCNL had managed to parlay that position into the General Manager's role at WRFB. After being his boss twice, he was now my boss.

A few months after starting, Tim offered me the job of Sales Manager. This station was a real hometown, rural type of station. It was more "Lost Dog Radio". Doing the All Request Saturday Night Oldies Show was really my favorite part of the gig.

Among those who worked on the air there were Roland LaJoie, Ron Beaumont, Frankie Allen, and John "Johnny B" Bauer. Newton Wells worked at the station part-time.

Although we didn't know it at the time, through our genealogical research, Johnny B and I were able to determine that we are 8th cousins. We remain friends to this day.

Doing the oldies show was a challenge. For all of it's "community involvement", the station didn't really have many listeners. In fact, it only showed up in it's home county of Lamoille in the Arbitron and it only had a 3.0 share.

I remember doing my first show and coming into the station on the following Monday. I asked the Program Director if he had a chance to listen. He said he did. Then he started touting the station's large audience and the large number of communities that it covered evidenced by the calls I got while I did the show. I asked him to guess how many calls I received. He said probably about 125. Then I told him how many I actually had. I had three calls. THREE! Two of them were from the same person. The callers were located in Stowe, our community of license.

I told him that I made up virtually everything. Because I did. The look on his face was priceless. He seemed sort of agitated. It was a real "the emperor has no clothes moment". I never got the compliment for which I had been fishing.

Besides the lack of audience and callers, it was also somewhat challenging because we didn't have the technical capability to record or air phone calls. I could have used that. I would have lined up calls from friends to help prime that pump.

Eventually, I did start to get more calls. I probably never did get more than 50 calls in a single night, even though the show was cross-promoted during the week in other dayparts. But, it was enough to have fun with it. Steve Madison, who worked at the Trapp Family Lodge would come in most Saturday nights to hang out and answer the phones.

This came to an end when the owners, Sage Broadcasting, finally pulled the trigger to transform the station into one that it hoped would compete in the Burlington market. The new format was supposed to debut on Saturday night at 7pm. The format change was promoted in various local media with major fanfare.

This was also accompanied by a move to a new office and studio location. The big day came and some of us were decommissioning the old location while others were prepping the new one. Then came the call. The new studio wasn't functional yet. They asked me if I would get on the air and do the oldies show. I did the last airshift on WRFB before the change to WVMX.

From the time the show started at 7pm, until signoff, the phones never stopped ringing. The callers were expressing their delight with the "new" format! We got several hundred calls. The callers didn't realize it was the last gasp of the old format. That was October 27, 1990.






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