Monday, July 24, 1967
I have been in touch with Bob Steyer: just a week ago I wrote him about my plans for the sports department's share of Digest this coming year. I included a "schedule" of 29 dates, 24 of them on Fridays, based on the Oberlin 1967-68 sports schedules that were drawn up this spring. Of course, it's a little hard to say that on December 8 we will definitely do a show on hockey including a telephone report from the opening game of the season played earlier that evening at Ohio State; there are too many variables, including the hockey schedule, to set a show up that specifically this far in advance. Still, we are able to anticipate such things better than some of the other Digest departments, so I was able to show Bob just about what we're thinking of doing. It's pretty much the same as last year: interviews with players and coaches in the main, supplemented by taped-on-the-scene "documentary"-type material and by commentary by our staff of experts. We'll cover one or two teams per program, and we hope to feature each varsity sport on at least two Digest programs during its season.
That's what we plan to do with Digest. Our live play-by-play broadcasts are also partially set up, but we can't decide about hockey until the hockey schedule is finalized in October, and there's one basketball game which will be played during semester break way over in Meadville, Pennsylvania, about the advisability of broadcasting which I have my doubts. We do not plan to broadcast any soccer or baseball games because the home schools don't have pressbox facilities and it would cost us around $100 a shot to put lines in; this may also limit our hockey broadcasts to one or two, which is all right with me. Ohio State and Bowling Green do have hockey pressboxes.
Now about personnel. We have a good group of veterans, including all our football and basketball sportscasters from last year. Hockey might be rather thin, but unfortunately I can't train anybody there because I know practically nothing about the sport. We'll have to go with Larry Gellman (good sportscaster but no hockey experience) and Gideon Schein unless someone shows up in the class of '71. But the place where we could use some enthusiastic freshmen is in our Digest programs.
This past year I did about half the Digest shows myself, which was not too good since I'm not familiar with some of the more obscure sports such as fencing. What I would like to have is one correspondent for each sport whom we could ask, about ten days in advance, to start planning a program in his specialty. He would only be asked about once a month. So it wouldn't seem so much like "work" to him but more like a diversion that he could take his time on, do a good job, and enjoy.
the trouble is that we have 13 varsity sports at Oberlin, and we
aren't likely to find that many professional-sounding
correspondents. Last year we used about five (C.R. Lawn, Larry
Gellman, Jeff Hanna, Bob Weiner, and Lee Beckett) for nine sports
(soccer, football, cross-country, swimming, basketball, wrestling,
track, tennis, and baseball), which I suppose is about as good as
we're going to get. But it would be nice to have a few freshmen
who are good radio journalists and are really interested in telling
the listeners the inside story on, say, the golf team. Better
than my having to stumble through it myself.
Undated notes for a training "seminar":
When preparing to demonstrate slow vs fast play-by-play, show them geography of court. Lineup chart. Digress on pronunciation of Koch, Aronson, Buyer. Listen to yourself and correct! Example: what's the score? Listen to good examples, too. Paint a picture. Transparency: Can you visualize what's going on from your commentary? Be partial toward your team (only controversy we've had at WOBC Sports). Mic handling. Interviews: eliminate embarrassing questions, lack of communication like Morgan incident; find out what to ask. Expense of broadcasting make it worth it!
If we do get these freshmen, how are we going to recruit and train them? Well, recruiting ought to be simple enough. I'll just go down the list of the half-dozen or so who sign up at the studios during orientation and call them up, asking them what they're especially interested in. Of course, they'll all say "basketball and football," and half of them will say they don't think they have enough time to spend on WOBC right now. Judging by the way it worked last year, we may get one or two possibilities this way. We'll get a few more who are DJ's, friends of people who work for us already, etc. I'll then wait for an opportunity to use them, at which time I'll give them another call.
Training will be informal. I was never taught how to conduct an interview and don't really know how to teach someone else, although I'm slowly learning. If the new recruit has had previous experience and sounds like he doesn't need any help from me, I'll turn him loose and let him do it his way unless his way turns out to be completely wrong. If he's inexperienced and asks, "What do I do?", I'll try to give him a general idea: decide what you want to find out from your interviewee, go over the subjects with him beforehand, ask him if he has anything interesting he thinks should be brought up, don't read your questions but have a few brief notes, figure out how you're going to open and close the interview before you start recording, start with an easy question and end with a general one, etc. It's never proven necessary yet to have an interviewer practice interviewing someone else, such as me, before sending him out on his first job. But if he acts like he might have mic fright, this could be a good idea.
Sunday, October 1, 1967
The Baldwin-Wallace game next Saturday is a night game at least as far as we know. It was originally scheduled to be played in the afternoon, even on B-W's schedule, but they wanted to play it at night and apparently we've agreed. So Jeff Hanna, Bill Hart, Lee Beckett, and I will probably be leaving here about 5:30 next Saturday to drive to Berea.
Sunday, October 8, 1967
Well, the Baldwin-Wallace game wasn't a night game after all. They decided that too many people wanted to go to Cleveland last night to see the Browns play the Steelers, so they moved the game back to 2:00. We left here at eleven, got to Berea before noon, and ate in the snack bar of the B-W student union (a very nice place looks like a hotel almost, with a barber shop and a florist shop and billiard tables and all sorts of other things included). Along with Jeff, we had Bill Hart as engineer and Lee Beckett as statistician; Lee had a helper and Bill had two people to interview at halftime, so we had quite a crew. We did a good job, too, I think; we've had several compliments on it since we got back. Everything went quite smoothly. Except that we got beat by four touchdowns, 47-20, for our third straight loss.
I don't know when we'll be leaving this coming Saturday to go to Meadville, Pa., for the Allegheny game, but it probably will be early. The game's at 2:00.
Sunday, October 15, 1967
Well, it's Sunday night again and time to write a letter, but there isn't too much to write about. Only a couple of things happened this week: the physics club meeting and the football game at Allegheny.
I've had a rather bad cold this past week, which made things a little bad for the football broadcast. On Saturday my throat was husky and I couldn't talk loudly or in a higher-than-normal pitch, so I started the broadcast sounding a bit like Everett Dirksen. As the afternoon went on my voice got worse, although my throat wasn't particularly sore, so I had to drop out and let Jeff and Lee take over. We lost the game, 33-14, which was expected. It did make it nice for Allegheny, though; it was their homecoming, and it always helps to win that game. Their best pass receiver set a record with eleven catches. They had really good weather, a homecoming parade with eight or ten nice floats (looked like a small-scale Rose Bowl parade), a queen and court (something we don't have here at Oberlin, though we are going to have a small parade this year), and a beautiful stadium.
Sunday, October 22, 1967
In answer to a question in one of your letters, we didn't eat at Jeff's on the way home from Allegheny; Bethany is about a hundred miles south of Meadville, I gather, so it would have been out of our way. We ate lunch at the Allegheny student union, which I thought was all right but none of the others seemed to care much for, and supper on the Ohio Turnpike at a deserted Howard Johnson cafeteria with high prices and so-so food.
Sunday, November 12, 1967
In case you didn't hear, we lost our game yesterday at Wooster 56-0. That's one point worse than homecoming, which we lost to Ohio Wesleyan last week 55-0. It rained steadily throughout yesterday's game (luckily we were inside a nice, warm pressbox), so all in all it was quite a miserable day.
After thinking the matter over, I've decided to apply for the position of program director for second semester 1967-68. At first I hadn't given this much thought, but there are three reasons for changing my mind:
(1) It's possible that no one else with any experience around the station will want the job, and you shouldn't be forced into appointing a relative newcomer to such an important post;
(2) I'm beginning to consider the possibilities of applying for station director for 1968-69, and a semester's experience as program director would be a good thing to have if I did; and
(3) I'd like to make some kind of change anyway, at least by this time next year. If I tried to stay on as sports director for three full years, I imagine that towards the end I'd be getting terribly tired of talking about Oberlin College athletics.
My qualifications consist of these past three semesters of working at the station (and two semesters before that of listening to it), observing what sorts of things go on. It's become a favorite diversion of mine just to stand around for an evening and watch, helping out when necessary (usually there's some sort of minor panic about Digest, or the engineer isn't sure how to play spots on Mag 2) and also talking to whomever else is there. By now I've gotten a pretty good "inside" knowledge of the station, I think. My actual work has been in what could be considered the news department, but I'm not ignorant of classical music and I know a little about pop.
There were some problems earlier in the year about classical programs and especially Digest "running over" the time allotted to them, which as you know is nothing new. This caused some complaints from people with 11:30 pm-12:30 am shows which were getting cut down to 30 or 40 minutes because Digest started late and ran long. This has gradually worked itself out, due to [classical music director Mike] Barone's checking up on his classical programmers and to Digest's increasing use of 12-minute rather than 30-minute features. But perhaps the program director should keep a closer watch on the situation in the future by reviewing the logs and talking to the people who seem to be mistiming their shows by more than a couple of minutes.
There has been some wondering about the quality of such programs as Folkfest and Backgammon, and some suggestions have been made as to how they could be improved.
For instance, Rick Stump would like to see Folkfest put its performers at one end of the room rather than right in the middle of everyone else [the audience], plus some sort of plan of quickly following a live act with a record if the next live act is going to take a while to get "onto the stage" and tuned up (thus eliminating those minutes of almost-dead air). Folkfest isn't really that bad. The commentary between songs may be pretty poor, but the music itself, in my inexpert opinion, is quite good at least most of it and of course it's good public relations to have that many people come up to our studios every Friday night.
I would like to see Backgammon [a late-night show with satirical skits] follow the example of Nobody Here but Us Mice and pre-record the more difficult "bits," the ones in which music or other sound effects are necessary, to avoid on-the-air flubs.
In the area of new programming, I don't have any ideas. This is probably just as well, since the ideas should come from the people who are going to do the show so that they have the proper enthusiasm for it. For example, a group of seniors got together and decided they wanted to produce Mice, so they were given a time slot for it. Here the program director becomes mainly an administrator who uses his judgment in helping to decide whether a projected program is sufficiently worthy.
Sunday, December 3, 1967
Our basketball game with Otterbein last night ended in defeat, 72-66, though we were leading 39-33 at halftime. Mike Clement, the only senior on the team, had 24 of those 39 points in the first half. In the second half, he couldn't get underneath as often and scored only 12 points, while something happened to our defense which permitted Otterbein about a dozen shots from five feet or less from the basket. Despite our collapse in the second half, though, it was a good game.
At the home games [none of which we broadcast on the radio], I keep a shot chart while Jeff Hanna keeps track of rebounds and turnovers. It's practically like in high school, except we aren't managers and don't have to sit on the bench; we have a table behind the scorer's table all to ourselves.
Sunday, January 7, 1968
Well, it's been a wild weekend.
With 14 seconds left in the Western Reserve game Thursday, we were behind 66-64 and Western Reserve had the ball out of bounds under our basket. But they muffed the inbounds pass, so we got the ball under our basket with 13 seconds left. We passed in to Clement, who scored with 11 seconds to go, tying the game. But Western Reserve's guard thought that they had had a three-point lead before Clement's basket, so he brought the ball back up court slowly and didn't bother to shoot.
The game went into overtime. We dropped behind and came back to within one point with five seconds left in the overtime, 76-75. Western Reserve had the ball out of bounds under their own basket. We put 6-5½ Hal Oliver on the man who was trying to pass the ball in, forcing him to throw it high to get it over Hal; Cardwell knocked it away from the man who was supposed to catch it, and the ball rolled down the sideline. Several players tried to grab it without success, while all the time the ball was getting closer to our basket. Finally Nick Eades picked it up and made a layup at the buzzer to give us our first win of the season, 77-76.
On Friday, we lost our hockey game 8-2. I was here at Oberlin recording the broadcast, and between the time the game was over (10:15) and the time my Oberlin Digest show came on (11:00), I managed to put together a tape of highlights of the game by working very fast.
On Saturday, we went to Columbus, but we found when we got there that there was a break in the line someplace between Capital's gym and the telephone company downtown. The only way we could broadcast the game was by telephone, but there was no phone in the gym; the nearest was in an office on the other side of the lobby.
So I watched the game and wrote down what happened ("Jungers hits 15-foot jumper"); Bill Hart relayed my notes to the office, where Larry Gellman recreated the game as if he could see it. "Eades to Everson, then back over to Eades; he looks for Clement, can't get it to him, passes to Jungers at the free-throw line; Jungers is free for a jump shot, and it's good!"
Larry had to use a lot of imagination, and we all had a lot of fun including the referee who came back to the office at halftime to rest and found Larry broadcasting the game into a phone, with three minutes still left in the first half of his version of it (since he had fallen a little behind). The referee couldn't figure out what was going on at all.
Oh, we lost the game 78-66.
weather hasn't been too good for traveling; it took us over three
hours to get back from Columbus last night [on the basketball team
bus] in a snowstorm. Looks like we have about a foot of snow
now. It was 2º in Cleveland Thursday night and the wind at
Burke Lakefront Airport, where we ate [after the Western Reserve
game], must have been blowing thirty miles an hour.
My new duties as program director would begin at the end of January with the start of the second semester.
Sunday, January 21, 1968
Our not having a final in math gives me more time to study for the other three finals and to work at WOBC. I spent about 18 hours down there from Wednesday through Saturday of this past week, cleaning out the program cabinet (where records and tapes are stored, in sort of a random order before I rearranged them), listening to various recorded programs and "spots" (commercials), and planning changes in the program schedule for second semester. I'll be down there for about seven hours tomorrow and a few more Wednesday and/or Thursday, and that should almost take care of it before semester break.
What I'll try to do is study in the mornings, because once I get started at WOBC I can't seem to stop until the day's over. I must admit I enjoy that stuff more than studying physics. But most of my enjoyment is the novelty of it the adventure of finding out what's on those mysterious unlabeled reels of tape, etc. If I had to do what I'm doing all the time, I'd probably be tired of it before too long.
Monday, March 4, 1968
It's beginning to look like I may be the only one submitting an application for station director next year; the only other person I thought was interested says he isn't. The station director is going to be chosen on April 4, and then he will appoint the dozen or so people who serve directly under him.
Monday, March 11, 1968
Nine of us went to Cleveland Wednesday for the FCC tests. No word on the results yet, but I'm sure I passed because it was so easy. The tests were given in the Post Office building at 3rd and Prospect, about a block west of Higbee's. One of the group (Gary Freeman) was going for a first-class license, so his test took a couple of hours longer than our third-class exams; the rest of us went to Higbee's and looked at their selection of records while we waited.
Sunday, March 17, 1968
complain a lot about postal service, but the post office sometimes
comes up with some pretty good work. They managed to deliver a
catalog to WOBC that was mailed from Chicago and was addressed to
"The Oberlin College Student Network Inc." is what they meant. 3157 was part of WOBC's phone number, but the zip code should be 44074. Probably the catalog reached the Cleveland sorting center for 44xxx zip codes, where someone guessed correctly that the address was in Oberlin even though that word doesn't appear in it.
Sunday, April 7, 1968
We canceled our regular WOBC programs from the time of Dr. King's death [on Thursday evening] until Saturday morning and played only classical music and recordings of King speeches, including two he delivered here in 1964-65. We also carried live a memorial service held in Finney Chapel Friday evening at 7:00. The reaction here to the assassination was apparently only a little less intense than that to [John F.] Kennedy's, but this time the Negroes on campus were the ones that seemed to be doing most of the reacting. Nothing in any way violent, though.
The meeting of the station's Board of Trustees that would have appointed me station director of WOBC on Thursday was postponed until April 15 because of a lack of a quorum. I'm the only one who applied, though, so it's just a formality.
Sunday, April 28, 1968
much news here. In fact, practically no news here. I've
been busily working on appointing people to various positions with
WOBC next year. They sent me applications, and now I'm trying
to decide (with advice from others) who should get positions for
which more than one person applied.
Click here for the rest of the story.
Next weekend will be our Mock Convention, which is supposed to parallel what the Republican convention will do this summer; we'll broadcast that in its entirety Friday night and all day Saturday, and I'll be the engineer back at the station for part of the broadcast (the convention is taking place in the Field House, where they play basketball games).
May 9, 1968,
I present the names of the proposed Executive Board for 1968-1969 to the Trustees for their approval:
Also, just so you Trustees know who you all are, here's the list, including office and home addresses:
The Assembly Committee now has before it our proposal to broadcast next year's assembly addresses. The chairman, Mr. Schoonmaker of the chemistry department, says the suggestion seems "quite reasonable" to him; the full committee will make a decision on it at its next meeting May 15.
John Heckenlively, Paul Sturm, and I met this afternoon with Tom Ammons and Gary Freeman to discuss the state of the new console. The tech staff (that is to say, Tom and Gary) gained a good deal of experience in the past few weeks in their effort to build a very small "console" for use at Mock Convention as a mixer for the PA microphones. They almost got this mixer completed but ran into a problem in getting the various components to work together properly when connected to the same power supply.
The tech staff now realizes, along with the rest of us, that this sort of problem could well develop this summer in the course of trying to build the new console, and there thus is a strong possibility that we would be left without any console in September. The only safe way to proceed is to test thoroughly before buying all the parts and beginning to build, to avoid making a mistake and ending up with a useless, half-finished $4000 conglomeration of parts. Money still will remain in the console account for the actual construction once the testing has been completed; this will take place either within the coming school year or during the summer of 1969.
Thus we will not have our new console for another year yet, but we will be reasonably assured of having it eventually. And the partial construction and repairs to be done this summer will put us in better technical shape this fall than we've been in for several years, despite the fact that the old switching circuitry is still threatening to give out within a year or so and must eventually be replaced.
Tuesday, May 21, 1968
We've finally gotten our program schedule at WOBC pretty well worked out for next year, so now we'll start worrying a little more about getting me and our new business manager taught how the business end of the station works. That's a good part of what I'll be doing between Monday the 3rd and whatever date I come home (I still don't know exactly when that'll be; probably the 10th or 11th).
The beginning of my senior year coincided with the freshman orientation for the class of 1972.
Monday, September 9, 1968
The orientation period seemed to go pretty well, and I think the station is in reasonably good shape to start broadcasting tomorrow. We had a lot of interested freshmen sign up Saturday night at our open house. I still have several things I have to get done before tomorrow, however, and registration is today too. So I'll hurry up and close this letter so I can get on with "more important things," and I'll send you more details next week.
Monday, October 21, 1968
Sorry I'm a day late writing, but yesterday was a busy day. I spent most of the afternoon working on physics problems, and then in the evening Jan and I went to the Judy Collins concert (she's a popular-type folk singer, was on Glen Campbell's show this summer; the concert was in Finney and was the "big" event of homecoming weekend, which was this weekend).
Things will continue to be pretty busy for a while, too. Later this afternoon we'll have a meeting of the WOBC Board of Trustees, for instance; these are adults who sort of oversee the operation of the station (some sort of "permanent ownership" of the station is required by the FCC). The trustees get together three or four times a year to discuss how things are going.
We have two away football games left: the 26th at Denison (Granville) and the 9th of November at Ohio Wesleyan (Delaware). We may well want to stop in Richwood the 9th; I'll discuss it on our trip the 26th and let you know the next day.
November 3, 1968
Click here for a detailed report.
The big thing going on this week is of course the election; I'll be directing the first five hours of WOBC's coverage (7:00 to midnight Tuesday), although I won't say anything on the air. Then another shift will take over at midnight, and a small wrapup crew will move in at 4:00 a.m. to broadcast the late returns. We have about thirty people working on this in all.
Monday morning, December 9, 1968
It's been snowing steadily since Saturday, but there are only about four inches on the ground; I'm sure that more than that has fallen. I won't be going to Cleveland for the Case Tech game tomorrow night; a meeting came up, and then when that meeting was switched to Wednesday night, another meeting came up to take its place on Tuesday. So we're sending another guy in my place; he was really eager to do a game, anyway.
In fact, I still haven't seen our basketball team play, although the Case game will be their third (and probably their first victory). The team played their first home game on Saturday, but Jan and I went to the Gilbert and Sullivan production "The Gondoliers."
Monday, March 3, 1969
A busy weekend just completed. As you may have heard, Oberlin won two games in the tournament and only lost the third by two points, so I was in Wooster broadcasting for three nights in a row (Thursday, Friday, Saturday). All of them were exciting games. The two we won were both by 60-58 scores, both over teams that were expected to beat us; and the team we lost to on Saturday is expected to be the team that wins the entire tournament (they have to play one more game, tomorrow night). I had to spend about ten hours a day on that, though, including the bus rides and training meals and waiting around and calling the phone company to order lines, so I'm glad it's over and I can get back to work.
my birthday I put in about sixteen hours working on the WOBC
coverage of the recruiters. I stayed at the station the entire
time, helping to tape the phoned-in stories from our reporters and
putting them on the air during the day, and then during the evening
editing all those tapes into a 70-minute summary of the day's activities.
Click here for the full story.
Some of the more interesting activities actually took place in the afternoon after the recruiters had left. A group of students went over to President Carr's office to tack a sign on the wall, but he came out and ripped the sign down, which resulted in an exchange of name-calling between him and the students.
Monday, March 17, 1969
We're getting ready for Student Senate elections here again. For some reason it doesn't look as though the elections will be quite as interesting as they were last year, and the campaign will be about half as long as usual, but WOBC will be covering it all fully.