West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame
Twelve To Be Inducted Into West Virginia
|Robert M “Bob” Bower||WTIP-Charleston sportscaster, program director|
|Harry G. Bright||WETZ-New Martinsville mainstay performer|
|Glen Chase||Founder, WSAZ radio|
|Charlie Cooper||WKAZ-Charleston’s DJ Super Duper Charlie Cooper|
|Charles B. “Budd” Dailey||WSAZ-TV-Huntington weathercaster|
|Randy Damron||WQBE-Charleston personality|
|George Diab||Notable at WTRF-Wheeling; GM at WCHS-Charleston|
|Little Jimmy Dickens||Raleigh County boy on WJLS-Beckley, who became
Grand Ole Opry star
|Robert Harvit||WBTH, WXCC-FM-Williamson owner|
|Ira W. Southern||Southern Communications founder/owner|
|Dorothy “Dotty” Johnson||Marshall professor & WOWK-TV-Huntington show host|
|Pete Johnson|| Owner of WCAW-Charleston, and consulting engineer
for stations nationwide
|Carroll King Kessell||Engineer, WSAZ-Huntington radio|
|Ken Kurtz||Charleston News Director, WSAZ-TV|
|George Lewis||Steamboat Bill and original Mr. Cartoon on WSAZ-TV-Huntington|
|K. Robert “Bob” Orr||CBS News correspondent who started at WTRF-Wheeling|
|Jack O’Shea||DJ on WKEE-Huntington|
|Don Ray||Long time and current GM of WSAZ-TV|
|Dick Reid||Hosted Lucky 8 Ranch and much more on on WCHS-TV-Charleston|
|Lawrence H. “Bud” Rogers||Second GM of WSAZ-TV-Huntington|
|Jim Schneider||WKEE-Huntington and WTCR-Ashland DJ known as “Flying Dutchman”|
|David Selby|| WVU grad and actor who played Quenton Collins’ Ghost
on “Dark Shadows”
|Bob Smith||News Anchor-WOWK-TV-Huntington & WSAZ-TV-Huntington|
|Joe L. Smith, Jr||Built WJLS, WKWK and WKNA, Pioneered TV with WKNA-TV|
|Berton “Bert” Sonis||GM of WTIP-Charleston|
|Buddy Starcher|| Country music performer hosted “Buddy Starcher Show”
|Bob Thomas, Sr.||Engineer who built and owned WOAY & WOAY-TV-Oak Hill|
|Charles Robert “Bob” Turley||WKAZ-Charleston DJ|
|C. Gregory Van Camp||Founded and managed WWVU-Morgantown|
|Morton J. “Mort” Victorson||Sales manager at WTIP-Charleston|
|Phil Vogel||Long time radio voice, WWNR-Beckley and WGKV-Charleston|
|Gareth F. “Garry” Vorhees||Program manager, WTRF-Wheeling|
By Mannix Porterfield
Bob Brunner’s defining, and perhaps most taxing, moment as a journalist came when a dam collapsed at the head of Buffalo Creek hollow in a remote pocket of Logan County, unleashing a tidal wave of water.
Once the water receded, in its wake were a known 125 dead, 500 homes had been ripped apart and some 4,000 suddenly found themselves homeless.
Brunner recalled that horrific chapter in West Virginia history Thursday as he prepared to join a number of colleagues across southern counties for induction into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
Among others destined for induction in an Oct. 25 ceremony are Fred Persinger, once the “voice of the Flying Eagles” in football and basketball, former WJLS radio station owner Bill O’Brien, country legend Tom T. Hall and the Nick Rahall family.
Twenty-five new faces will be enshrined in the ceremony at the West Virginia Museum of Radio and Technology in Huntington.
“These inductees have created a rich diversity of programming at radio and TV stations across the state,” committee chairman Tom Resler said.
“This year’s class of 25 and last year’s class of 32 inductees, along with the initial class of 61, represent West Virginians who have been an important part of the lives of viewers and listeners in the region and even across the country.”
Among the honorees are Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and four members of his family — his father, Nick Joe, and uncles Farris, Deem and Sam. The family created radio station WWNR in Beckley and expanded to own and operate radio and television stations nationwide.
“West Virginia’s broadcasters will always be an important voice in my life,” Rahall said from his Capitol office.
“Three generations of Rahalls in broadcasting spell a lot of work and passion for an industry that serves the public, our communities and local business as well. It has been a long but happy path since those first steps my grandfather took, starting his new life here in West Virginia.”
Rahall said he is proud of his family and humbled by the hall of fame honor, and saluted his fellow inductees for their “considerable achievement.”
Now news director for WOAY-TV in Oak Hill, Brunner said no other news event in his long and storied broadcasting career, which began under the tutelage of Boz Johnson at WSAZ, affected him as much as the Feb. 26, 1972, disintegration of a coal slurry impoundment that spawned the killer flood in Logan County.
“And it was because of the frustration,” Brunner recalled.
“Television is a visual media. Unless you had been up that hollow in Logan County before that dam broke, you couldn’t really show people how bad this was. We took pictures and you’re kind of looking at a mud flap. There were hundreds of homes up there. There were people but you couldn’t see it. That was one story I don’t think the media did a real good job of following up on.”
Brunner launched his career in 1968 and has been in on a number of major news stories in a 40-year run, among them the Marshall airplane disaster in 1970, the two trials of former Gov. Arch Moore, the Willow Island collapse and a follow-up on the Silver Bridge disaster.
Over that span, Brunner also covered numerous political campaigns, among them the first showdown between Moore and Jay Rockefeller, who lost his first time out but eventually won two terms as governor before reaching the U.S. Senate.
Politics opened a career door to him for three years, serving as an executive aide to former Gov. Gaston Caperton.
Brunner also has been managing editor at WCHS-TV in Charleston, from 1993-1996, and was news director for the CBS station in Montgomery, Ala., and executive editor for the CBS affiliate in Knoxville, Tenn.
Brunner came out of brief retirement in 2005 to become WOAY’s news director.
Persinger, a Beckley native who graduated from the former Trap Hill High School, handled Flying Eagle football and basketball games for 27 years at both WWNR and WTNJ in Mount Hope.
“I guess when it comes right down to it, I probably miss every Friday night going with the Flying Eagles to do their games,” said Persinger, now with radio station WKAZ based in Charleston.
Working with Metro-News, which boasts 59 member stations across the state, Persinger has earned a new moniker with the network, “the voice of high school sports in West Virginia.”
“I have a high school football program called ‘Game Night’ every Friday night on 40 radio stations,” he said.
“And I still do the post-game show for the Mountaineers. I do all kinds of things still for the state tournament — basketball, football, Super Six. That kind of keeps me busy. I’m in Morgantown every weekend now in the football season.”
Persinger can be heard on company-owned stations that specialize in popular music of the 1960s in both Charleston and Summersville.
“What a tremendous honor,” he said of his impending induction, coming on the heels of last July’s honor as this year’s Mel Burka Distinguished Broadcaster award.
“Honestly, the crew I’m going in with really makes me feel good. Probably one of my better friends in this industry was John McKinney, who passed away. He was with the Mountaineers so long. That makes it really special. And Bill O’Brien and I have been friends a long time.”
O’Brien broke in as a summer fill-in announcer at WJLS in 1967, working under the tutelage of Gene Morehouse, who died in the Marshall plane crash.
After two summer stints, O’Brien was hired full-time in 1969 and has been at WJLS ever since, ultimately purchasing it with his wife in 2002, then selling it four years later. O’Brien remains there as a consultant and still does Woodrow Wilson football and basketball games.
In his first summer job, O’Brien recalled the “incredible experience” of working with Morehouse, whom he had listened to handling Beckley athletic contests as a youngster.
“He wasn’t one to give advice unless asked,” he remembered.
“Here was this legend, doing Little League baseball games. He treated the Little League games as if they were World Series Game Seven. Just everything was top of the line with him.”
O’Brien said he felt “thrilled” to become part of this year’s crop of inductees.
“It’s just an incredible honor to be up there with all of those legends,” he added.
Hall once worked as a disc jockey for WRON radio station in Ronceverte and at WVRC in Spencer before his career spiraled upward as a singer and teller of tales, penning such hits as “The Year Clayton Delaney Died” and “A Week in a County Jail.”
Others to be inducted include:
Janet Coleman Evans, general manager of WBTH/WXCC, Williamson; Conchata Ferrell, a Charleston actress and comedienne with a number of roles, including “Two and a Half Men”; Robert “Bob” Brown, longtime owner of WCLG, Morgantown; Lewis Ross Dobbins, country-western DJ in Weston, Clarksburg and Buckhannon; Woody O’Hara, who teamed with the late Jack Fleming at West Virginia University on football and basketball games; Daniel “Zag” Pennel, WELD radio in Fisher;
Marshall Rosene, first general manager of WSAZ-TV in Huntington; Sam and Mary Sidote, co-owners of WELC radio; Ned Skaff, a radio and television announcer at WCHS in Charleston; Earl J. Ward Jr., a 40-year news photographer at WCHS-TV and WSAZ-TV;
Monte Scott “Yogi” Yoder, personality at WEPM and WKMZ in Martinsburg, eventually becoming general manager at both; Thomas “Tom” Garten, management at WPAR radio in Parkersburg and WCHS radio; Joe Johns, WSAZ-TV reporter who became NBC Capitol Hill correspondent, now CNN Washington correspondent; Toufie Kassab, sales executive and general manager in a career that included WGNT, WAMX-FM, WKEE, WRVC radio in the Huntington area; Frank Lee, disc jockey 48 years and finally general manager of WMMN in Fairmont;
Ted McKay, WTIP and WKNA radio show host in Charleston in the 1940s and 1950s, also hosted “Goofus Orchestra” on old WKNA-TV; Paul Miles, general manager of WCAW radio in Charleston; and Jackie Oblinger, who opened her career at WHIS radio in Bluefield, then WHIS-TV, and hosted popular women’s shows on WCHS-TV in Charleston.
August 31, 2009
Contact: Tom Resler at email@example.com or at (304)-389-5585
Fourteen radio and television pioneers are to become members of The West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the third annual induction ceremony on Saturday, September 26, 2009 from 5:00 till 7:00 p.m. The ceremony takes place at The Museum of Radio and Technology located at 1640 Florence Avenue in Huntington. Attendance to the event is by invitation only.
Tom Resler, committee chairman says the hall of fame truly represents the great legacy West Virginia has in the broadcasting industry. “These inductees have created a rich diversity of programming at radio and TV stations across the state. This year’s class of 14 along with the previous years inductees represent West Virginians who have been an important part of the lives of viewers and listeners in the region and even across the country.”
The members of the fourth class of inductees into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame are:
Gilbert "Gil" Brooks - A Pioneer in Radio & TV 1st News Anchor in Charleston
Ray Brooks - WHIS-TV -Circle 6 Ranch- Snoop & Scoop Show 19yrs, First cameraman WHIS-TV.Production manager 40 Yr career
George "Mickey" Curry - From switchboard operator to studio floor person, director, producer and program director
Calvin "Randy Jay" Dailey - Owned WFGM, Fairmont, & stations in Parkersburg, Ravenswood
Doug "The Dougger" Hoffman - Radio legend. WKWK, Wheeling; WXIL, Parkersburg; WFGM; Fairmont, WETZ New Martinsville.
Wallace Horn - started "Friendly Neighbor show" in 1967 broadcasts on WVOW - continues today
Richard "Dick" Hustead - WEBC '58-'61, Ohio River B'casting '58-'65, WWHY station owner '65-'78, Charleston WKLC '77-'79, Clarksburg WBOY '52-58, Sta Mgr WOBG '87-'89, Created "The Sky Castle at the Star Diner"
George M. Hutchinson - Huntington broadcaster began as staff announcer at WSAZ, was also program director and chief announcer at WCMI, Ashland KY, and program director of WHTN, Huntington.
Dave McClain - Born Dave Pool, he was DJ & Pgm Dir when WTCR was twice named CMA Station of the Year
Bob Miller - WKEE and WGNT DJ won BILLBOARD MAGAZINE's Air Personality of the Year, moved to Portland, OR and still stars there
Rod O'Dell - WWNR radio Beckley 1960 - 85 DJ, sales, General Manager - also WJLS, WVJO
Bert Shimp - WSAZ radio DJ & pgm dir also did TV later. Very active Huntington community leader
Jim Slade - He has broadcast his space chronicles on ABC-TV and Radio, CNN, NBC Radio, Mutual, the Westinghouse Broadcasting system and the Voice of America. CNN reporter
Eddie Walters - Highly respected and talented engineer at WHEZ radio in Huntington and WTCR, Ashland, KY
Sept 10, 2010
The West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame will induct 13 new members in a ceremony at the Museum of Radio & Technology on Saturday, October 2, 2010 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Attendance to the event is by invitation only. The Museum, which is located at 1640 Florence Ave in Huntington, opened the Hall of Fame in 2006 with the help of funding from The Foundation for the Tri-State Community and the Cabell County Commission.
Tom Resler and Garry Ritchie, museum members, brought together a committee in 2006 that has worked together each year to select inductees from the numerous nominations that are submitted for consideration. Tom Resler, committee chairman, says “the selection committee works hard to include members from all areas of the state from the big market areas to the small local station. The class of 13 for this year along with the previous years’ inductees represent West Virginians who have been an important part of the lives of viewers and listeners in the region and even across the country
The museum, founded in 1991, features hundreds of radio and TV exhibits and maintains a library of broadcasting history. The museum is open Saturdays from 10:00 A.M. till 4:00 P.M. and Sundays from 1:00 P.M. till 4:00 P.M.
The members of the fifth class of inductees into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame are:
Frank Annand - He was a big name performer in the Charleston/Huntington market on WTIP, WTIO, WCHS, WCHS-TV and WSAZ-TV from the 1950’s through the 1980’s. He covered news in the field, anchored the news, reported weather, hosted talk shows, voiced commercials, produced programs and even announced Big Time Wrestling. He was trained as an actor and was very active in Kanawha Players.
Robert “Bob” Bolyard - He was called "Bobby B" as a teen idol disc jockey on WVVW Radio in Grafton, WV just after graduating from high school in 1956. Three years later he was anchoring news and sports on WJPB-TV, Weston/Clarksburg, and doing news reports. His career grew into management as national sales manager of WHSV-TV, Harrisonburg, VA and vice president of WCTI-TV New Bern, NC.
Don Cook - Don worked for WCHS radio and was the voice of the Marshall Thundering Herd. He was also an original co-host of Metro-News Talkline. He loved minor league baseball & did play by play for Charleston minor league teams. He was PA announcer for The WV Power Baseball Club.
John Dickensheets - He was a force in broadcasting for more than 40 years, doing everything from staff announcing to running both WCHS and WQBE AM as general manager. He brought "Sports Talk" to WV radio and did excellent play-by-play of Charleston's professional baseball teams, University of Charleston, WV State and many high schools.
C. Leslie “Les” Golliday - Les built WEPM in Martinsburg, WV in 1946. He personally plowed copper into the ground under the tower to boost the signal. Later he built WEPM-FM. He became a civic leader in Martinsburg and served a term as Mayor. He also built WCLG in Morgantown in 1954 and was an early experimenter in FM stereo.
Fred Griffith - He worked in his dad's Charleston restaurant until WTIP hired him in the 1950’s and he was a smash success as news director, commercial writer, performer & classical music show host. He moved to Cleveland's WDOK radio, then to that market's WVIZ-TV, and to WEWS (TV) as news director and host of the incredibly successful local TV show The Morning Exchange, then WKYC-TV’s Good Company. He has reported from around the world including both the North and South Poles and is a writer of cookbooks along with wife Linda.
Larry Groce - This singer/song writer, a Texas native, moved to WV and since 1986 has hosted the Mountain Stage weekly radio program on National Public Radio. The show, which has garnered national acclaim, is recorded by WV Public Radio. His best-known song, “Junk Food Junkie” made the top ten in 1976.
Darrell Hudnall - (AKA Darrell Daniels) - He was news director for Bristol broadcasting and its five Charleston area stations, including WQBE AM/FM and news talk 950. He served as Charleston bureau chief for WSAZ-TV; news director of WROV in Roanoke, VA; and news anchor & reporter for WAKR and WSAV in Akron, OH. In his early years he was news director for WCHS radio, Charleston.
Edwin “Ned” Martin, Jr. - Ned was the voice of the Boston Red Sox for 32 years but he spent early years of his career in Charleston, WV on WCHS-TV and doing play by play of the Charleston Senators AAA baseball team on radio. With the Red Sox he broadcast the 1975 World Series on NBC Radio and TV. He also called four American League Championship Series on CBS Radio from 1976 to 1979.
Frank “Karroll” Mazza - He was heard across America in the 1980's on 50,000 watt clear channel station WWVA, Wheeling, WV. As host of Jamboree in the Hills he appeared on stage before tens of thousands of country music fans. He also performed on other radio stations in four states & was WDTV-TV news anchor in Weston/Clarksburg WV.
Roger O’Neil - He moved to WV in 1967 as a news reporter for WSAZ-TV in Huntington. He covered the Marshall University football team plane crash and other major stories. He also was at WAVE-TV, Louisville, KY; KPRC-TV, Houston, TX; and WMAQ-TV, Chicago, IL. He moved to the NBC network as news correspondent in 1979 and was named NBC News Denver bureau chief in 1983. He has cut back his reporting but still does occasional pieces for the network.
Stan Sweet - This White Sulphur Springs native hosted a show on WSAZ-TV in the early 1950’s. He went to Hollywood and appeared in a movie, acted on network TV, and did Kellogg and Old Gold ads. He became the world champ quick-draw pistol shooter & had a touring show. He closed his storied career at WSLS-TV, Roanoke, VA & WVVA-TV, Bluefield WV as weatherman, retiring in 2007.
Mike Tussey (AKA Mike Todd) - As Mike Todd he was the program director who converted WTCR (Ashland, KY/Huntington, WV) to the innovative “Nashville Sound” in the late 1960’s and was the top rated DJ in morning drive time. Later he was a play-by-play sports announcer, doing the Huntington Cubs minor league baseball games on WTCR and calling high school football and basketball on WRVC in Huntington. Since 2006 he has been broadcasting games of Northern Kentucky University on Cincinnati’s WQRT.
November 1, 2011
Nine radio and television pioneers are to become members of The West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the sixth annual induction ceremony on Saturday, November 19, 2011 from 5:00 till 7:00 p.m. The ceremony takes place at The Museum of Radio and Technology located at 1640 Florence Avenue in Huntington WV.
Tom Resler, committee chairman says the hall of fame truly represents the great legacy West Virginia has in the broadcasting industry. “These inductees have created a rich diversity of programming at radio and TV stations across the state. This year’s class of 9 along with the previous years inductees represent West Virginians who have been an important part of the lives of viewers and listeners in the region and even across the country.”
A portion of the museum was renovated to house the hall of fame with support from the Foundation for the Tri-State Community and the Cabell County Commission. The museum, founded in 1991, features hundreds of radio and TV exhibits and maintains a library of broadcasting history. The museum is open Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m. The members of the sixth class of inductees into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame are:
Bob Aaron. August 2010 marked 29th year for this Clarksburg, WV native at WCHS-TV8. He reported news in many large markets across the country before settling back in WV. AP named an award for him - The Bob Aaron Membership Cooperation Award. He is still on the air.
Sean Callebs. A 1983 Marshall University graduate and former news correspondent for CNN based in NewOrleans. Earlier was a reporter and anchor for WSAZ-TV, Huntington in the 1980s. Now works for the US government in Afghanistan.
Claude Jones. An amazing career for this broadcaster. He did it all – engineer/announcer/performer/sales manager/general manager/station owner and station builder. In WV he was chief engineer at WRON Ronceverte; then built, owned, managed WSLW, White Sulphur Springs. Later built, owned, managed WKCJ in Greenbrier County. Served as Lewisburg council member and on many charity boards.
Norman Knight. At age 20 he was said to have been the youngest General Manager in the country while at WAJR, Morgantown. Then hired as executive at Mutual Broadcasting System. Managed WNYW-TV, New York and, later WNAC-TV, AM and FM in Boston. Turned down offers to be President of NBC, CBS and ABC. Then built, owned and ran 20+ stations in the Knight Quality Stations Group. His charitable foundation now builds hospitals, helps families of fallen police and firefighters.
Tom Murphy. Sam Poland and Tom Murphy were the popular early morning team of "Sam 'N Denzil" on WCHS radio in Charleston. Murphy was also active directing local theater and musical groups. With a real love of opera and knowledge of foreign languages, Murphy was a total opposite with his 'hillbilly' character on the air. Murphy died in 1986, having left the station some years earlier to work with the WV Department of Natural Resources, where he did a weekly television program for cable broadcast.
Sam Poland. Sam Poland was the "Sam" of the "Sam 'N Denzil Show." He was a Navy hero who lost a leg during a torpedo attack on his ship during World War II, but to radio listeners he was a great entertainer on WCHS and WTIP in Charleston in the '50's and '60's
Andy Ridenour. WV Public Radio's Executive producer of the highly acclaimed and much awarded "Mountain Stage" program, carried nationally on PBS-TV. Was also formerly news director & public affairs director for WV Public Radio. Prior to that he reported news and hosted programs for WCIR in Beckley, WLOH in Princeton and other stations around the nation.
Shawkey Saba. This self-taught artist was one of the first TV artists in America and was the creative brains behindmuch of the "look" at WSAZ-TV, Huntington. He created the station's graphic image for 40 years.
Jack Williams. Jack Williams was WSAZ-TV's Promotions Manager in the '50's and 60's who later became Executive Secretary of the West Virginia Broadcasters Association.