You have heard their voices on radio and seen their faces on TV. Now Blade media columnist Ron Musselman will go behind the scenes to introduce you to your favorite media personalities. Stay Tuned will appear the third Monday of every month.
First job: In college, I had a part-time on-air gig on the weekends and in the summer at WFAH-AM in Alliance, Ohio. My first full-time job was at WHOF-AM in Canton.
First salary: I started at $l.25 an hour. I once got a 10 cents an hour raise and was asked to keep it quiet from other workers, because many of them didn t get one. The studio was in an old house with apartments on the second floor. People regularly came down the stairs to ask if I d keep it quieter. At WHOF, I asked for $2.50 an hour and settled for $1.70. I was a DJ and newsman. It was on my shift there [in 1963] that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. We had no network. I still have the wire copy where they announced he had died.
My idol is: Bob Martz. He discovered me originally the first time around, recommended me for the Radio Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame of Ohio in Akron last October. And he was my inductor. He also brought me back to Toledo [for good] at WCWA-AM in 1974, where I enjoyed my greatest ratings success ever.
Most embarrassing moment of career: I was Skippy the Scarecrow during Happy Time on Channel 24 in l969. Some kids stole my straw-filled hat one weekend from the Commodore Perry studios and I didn t discover it until moments before going on the air. I had to wrap my T-shirt around my head. I could feel my face get real red until I realized no one knew it, because I had on my white clown face.
Highlight of my career: It was in October of 1965. [General manager] Bob Martz and [program director] John Garry were driving around the state to try and find someone to do their morning show at WTOD-AM, 1560. They were looking to hire someone cheap and clean him up and make him a star when they stumbled across the last 10 minutes of The Bob Rodgers Show [that was me] in Canton. I must have said a couple of amusing things because John called me the next day. Eventually, they hired a guy from Denver who lasted three days and left the station because he couldn t stand the construction noise of WTOD s renovations while he was on the air. We ended up meeting at the end of the Cedar Point causeway in a bar. They offered me $150 a week. I said, OK, but if it works out, I go to $155 after three months. I thought I was a pretty smooth negotiator. But later I found out they had budgeted $165. If I would have just kept my mouth shut.
My favorite thing to do outside of work: Eat dinner at home or out with Linda, attend one of son Bobby s sporting events [he played golf and basketball for Deerfield, Whiteford, and Siena Heights University] or have a telephone conversation with my daughter, Kristie. I used to enjoy the horse race game at the Windsor (Ont.) Casino until they took it out. I still play the horses at Raceway Park or online.
I think Toledo s best-kept secret is: My on-air partner, Becky Shock, is really a puppet and I m a ventriloquist.
People may be surprised to know that I: Was shy until sixth grade. Then one day I said something funny and Donna Brain I had a crush on her smiled at me for the first time. A light bulb appeared over my head, and from then on I thought if I said funny things, the girls would like me.
In five years, I see myself: If I m still lucid, I ll still be on the air, I suppose, my retirement fund being what it is. I figure my obituary in The Blade some day will read: Mr. Plumer also retired yesterday at 4:05.
My dream job is: There s nothing wrong with this one. It was great fun working with Dennis Staples for 20 years. It has been very enjoyable with Becky so far. Both shows would have been better if the alarm didn t go off at 4:15 a.m. every day.
Contact Ron Musselman at: email@example.com or 419-724-6474.
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