Steve Rutledge  Biography

I got my First Class Radio Telephone license at REI (Broadcasting school) in Sarasota the summer after my sophomore year at Boone (High School, in Orlando).  I stayed with Gene Stuart and his wife.  He used to be the PD at WHOO before going to Marathon to run WFFG when Blue Grass bought it.  When I passed the test in Miami, I came back to Orlando and started looking for a job.  Working for my father was not even considered (by him).  So, I branched out.  When WTLN found out I had the ticket and wasn't an alcoholic, yet, I got the job.  I think they paid me $2.50 an hour which was a lot of money in 1965. John Wilcox was the GM, Jack Drummond was the "sales manager."  Wilcox had worked in Philadelphia and was recruited by Tom Moffit, Sr. to run WTLN.  They played beautiful music, no live announcing  during the week.  I don't recall if there was religious programming in the morning.  I worked on Saturday and Sunday and it seemed like at least on Sunday, we played reel to reel tapes of various radio preachers who paid to be on the station.  One I recall was the Gospel Hour with Oliver B. Green.  He was something.  I do know Tom Moffit, Jr., he was about my age.  I didn't really communicate with him until he gave us permission some years ago to visit the old WLOF site on Ring Road, off Old Winter Garden Road.  That was a blast. So, I stayed there until sometime during my freshman or sophomore year at Orlando Junior College.  Great school BTW.  Bob Andrews was the chief engineer at WTLN  as well as WABR, "Top Gun Radio".  So, he offered me a job doing weekends at WABR which was real radio so I left Apopka.  WABR was a lot of fun.  Doug Coombs was the manager and Sandy Dann owned the property.  Most of you know it was adjacent to Dubsdread Country Club which Sandy also owned.  I had to leave there circa April or May, 1969 as I had joined the Naval Reserve (AVROC program) and had to go to OCS that summer, which I did.  I came back to Gainesville with no hair, immediately grabbed a job doing news at WDVH.  I also read meters at the WRUF transmitter site and worked in the North Florida bureau of the Tampa Tribune, all at the same time.  My Dad was a child of the depression and he was only going to pay my tuition and rent.  The rest was up to me.  UF was on the quarter system @ $150 a quarter.  They didn't start charging by tuition hour until after I graduated in 1971. I also got fired and then rehired at WABR but that is another story. Interestingly, when I graduated from Florida, I got a call from the WLOF manager who asked me if I wanted to do news there.  Wow, my dad relented.  What I didn't know was that he was in discussions to sell to Home Security Life Insurance.  Otherwise, that never would have happened. Long story short, I wasn't smart enough to make any money in the radio business and went in another direction.  It was all fascinating and I will never forget any of it or any of the people. 


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