the time, WHOO-AM 990 was owned by Garvis
Kincaid of Kentucky (Bluegrass Broadcasting) and managed by O.C.
Halyard. In a move to "attack" WLOF-AM
950, station management hired the entire "on-air" staff and
one engineer from WMOC-AM in Chattanooga, TN and brought them to Orlando.
We all lived in a rented house on Governors Ave near Silver Star Rd.
That was a real trip...as time went on, we found separate housing as families
were eventually brought to the Sunshine State. Some of those roommates
were Allen Dennis, Dave
Raulston, Ken White and the infamous
Sam the Segue Man"! (the All-Night guy!)
Charlie Champion was our
PD and decided to "shake up" the market with a series of teasers as to
what "new" format WHOO was going to "change" to...it
was an ABC affiliate rocker when we arrived (Rock
Robinson was one of the air personalities then). So, would it be
country...classic...pop...what would it be? The whole town was listening
to see what would happen. At that time WHOO-FM
96.5 was the "solid" elevator music station in the region, but
AM (radio) was King in those days.
At fever pitch in the format change
promotion, I "locked" myself in the control room one night and played Tex
Ritter's "Hillbilly Heaven" over
and over for hours and hours (whew, was it bad!) implying that we were
going "hard core" country. With such a powerful signal, this
"stunt" attracted listeners from all over the
area...Daytona...Tampa-St. Pete...everywhere. Eventually, a huge crowd of
youngsters filled the parking lot at the station...then the long driveway
leading from Silver Star Road...then up and down Silver Star Road.
The Florida Highway Patrol and the Sheriff's Dept. responded for crowd control,
but not before the station door was broken down and the crowd forced their way
in...incidentally, witnessed by Dick
Shane, who later "jumped ship" and joined WLOF(-AM
To make a long story short, I knew I was
fired after only a few weeks on the job. Charlie showed up with the General
Manager and they were so ecstatic over our "introduction" to the
market, I was then dubbed "Wild" Bill Carter and it's followed me until this day.
Of course, we didn't change the format at all...and eventually we topped WLOF
in several demographics over the next couple of years.
I became a direct competitor of the great Bill
Vermilion...he was on from 7 to midnight as was I...he was Music
Director for 'LOF as was I for Radio HOO...he weighed in at over
two hundred pounds...as did I. His name was Bill
as was mine. he was 95 on the dial...we were 99 on the dial...etc.
But they were a solid number one...we were way behind. We had more power,
but they were far more powerful in the market...the battle was on...well, my
little "stunt" grabbed the attention of the market and it was up to us
to make it happen...and it did.
There are so many other stories...but, I have
to admit, I never worked in a more energetic market with any more professional
personalities than I did those 3 years in Orlando. We were there when
Disney announced their plans and I watch the sleepy little town of
Orlando explode to the world class city it is today...can't believe we flew out
of McCoy AFB back then! Well, that's all the time we have folks...the
clock on the wall says that's all...gotta go now...so, 'til next time....take
care of yourself....do your homework and by all means...HANG LOOSE!
(...ahhh...the old sign off!)