“Thanks for taking so much of your time the other day…”
Sometimes I get handwritten cards that begin that way, as one of the “techie dudes” at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts, and I know the others on staff get a lot more that I get about the same thing, usually after landing at a job they never expected to get.
Revisiting people of the past also seems also like an exercise many of us go through every so often. Sometimes those people from way back even become active in your life again. But there’s nothing like the present and those I get to hang with today.
Almost two years ago, I was surprised with an award I was given at a radio convention I normally attend. The convention chairman and I go back a lot of years.
As I am now, I was a dealer of “old-time” programs, and published a newsletter during the 1970s (no cracks, I was in HIGH SCHOOL at the time!) called News & Reviews.
This old friends’ profession was that of a graphic artist. He was just a tiny bit older than myself, and well established and respected in his field. I was a newbie, or a hobbyist, or an entry-level broadcast person ready bid a fond farewell to my teenage years.
Yet I could string a few words together than made sense and what I listened to on radio or tape, or record made for lots of written content. I had developed both fans as well as people who hated me. Some would even call me on the phone using a creative collection of profanity, call me names or make threats. Ahh, such is the life of a writer who speaks his mind!
But there were bright moments as well. In 10th grade I had published an underground newspaper simply called “Rock Review” that one of my favorite teachers quietly ran on the school “ditto” machine. Once I even wrote a feature about Dick Purtan who was then doing mornings on WXYZ-AM, and sent a copy to Mr. Purtan. Much to my surprise, a week or so later, I received a hand-typed note of thanks from Dick Purtan himself on WXYZ/ABC letterhead. There was an aside from Dick to give “his best” to my long-haired ultra-cool English teacher I had at that time.
Much later (after my school days) during the latter years of the 1970s, that afore-mentioned Cincinnati graphic artist / radio fan and I plus another friend would soon team up to publish one of the largest circulating old-time radio magazines of its type. During the mid 1980s he would also start a radio convention in Cincinnati, which is still going strong.
Only this year, I stumbled on an interview he did early this year in a national publication, crediting me by name as the very first “old-time” radio person he was in contact with. It is a cool thing to be remembered and acknowledged. It is never necessary, but it is appreciated.
Back in the day, we called our publication “Collector’s Corner,” which was never a newsletter or newspaper. It was always a magazine and we soon absorbed some of our competition. “National Radio Trader” became a logo that became part of ours. Typesetting services were expensive back in the days before computers, but WE HAD a graphic artist who gladly took old radio tapes as “payment” plus we had our trusty IBM Selectric and Smith Corona typewriters with “film” ribbons that reproduced well.
My co-editor had a business called Nostalgia Warehouse (which I would absorb into my own in later years) and I had a similar business that I had started in high school.
It is no surprise that all of us have remained friends to this day. What is sometimes a surprise – a pleasant one – when one or more of us gets a chance to remember each other to an audience that might not have been around when we were publishing magazines and getting accolades just because we knew how to write and manage each other.
I have “artfully” NOT mentioned most of the names here since you wouldn’t know them anyway. They do know who they are, although they may not realize the impact they made on my life and to a degree, still do.
But again, there is still nothing like the people of the present – those who may wonder what led to us knowing what know. They may actually be surprised that someone like me will so readily stop on a dime to help someone regardless of what we may have been in the middle of.
My colleagues today may have the same attitude, but simply arrived at that mentality in a different way. But they are, in fact, my teachers of today, yet they may also be my students on a different day. Obviously, we don’t need anyone to sneak into the office during lunch breaks to “publish” our thoughts. No "ditto" publications these days with the purple ink!
Instead, we publish it on a blog site.
As for the Collector’s Corner-National Radio Trader “Art Director,” today he has a computer too, and is not afraid to use it. But he has not forgotten those people who gave him content when the typewriters were still on our desks, or who sent him that missing I Love a Mystery episode.