It was a perfect day for lust, a mild, sunny day in October 1968. The program director of the radio station had figured out a way to rendezvous with a female listener without his wife noticing he was not on the air. He preempted local programs, including his own, and carried ABC’s national coverage of Apollo 7. The station had not shown such dedication to public service in the past, but his wife, listening from across the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, would not question his absence from the air. After all, this was America’s first manned Apollo flight.
Someone was required to sit at the microphone and fulfill the government requirement that the station be identified each hour. The program director chose me. I was a twenty-one-year-old college senior and had been hanging around the station for weeks to learn the ropes. For five years I had been knocking on the doors of stations in my hometown, begging for a chance. Station managers told me that the Louisville market was too big to hire beginners and that I should make my start in the smaller towns of Kentucky. I was just about to do that when the program director of this tiny blip of a station in Indiana allowed me to sit in his studio and observe.
Now he was away, succumbing to manly passion, and I had my opportunity. As the ABC anchor cued the station break, I flipped the switch and spoke the first words of my broadcast career: “This is WHEL, 1570, in New Albany, Indiana.”