Paulin and the Radios
Let me play you a sound clip of a local sportscaster from my youth by the name of Ed Paulin.
But let me start by showing you the 25-pound family radio from which I originally recorded the clip. (Well, not the actual radio, but one just like it. All the pictures in this article come from the Internet.)
But before that, I want to tell you about a smaller radio. One day, its magic inspired in me a feeling of awe.
But first of all, let me show you our very first portable radio. This one came to us mounted in the dashboard of a 1958 Oldsmobile!
In the Fifties, battery-powered transistor radios first became available. These book-sized devices could bring wireless entertainment to any location, such as the beach.
Taking advantage of the opportunity, we carried the radio to our seats and listened to WMRN's broadcast while watching the game. At the time, it was a novel experience.
thieves discovered how easy it was to yank a Trans-Portable out of
an unattended car. Oldsmobile discontinued it after a couple of years.
The AM-only chassis was built around not transistors but tubes, miniature ones that warmed up to operating temperature in only a couple of seconds. The radio could be powered by a battery pack that slid into the lower shelf, increasing the weight of the set to about 25 pounds. In the rear view below, the black spool on the right retracted the AC cord when not in use.
As a Christmas present in 1961, when I was in ninth grade, I received another piece of electronic gear: a reel-to-reel audio tape recorder. I immediately looked around for sounds to record, and I saw the Zenith. Here's part of my first recording.
Ed Paulin called the game for WMRN-AM, as he did for most of the Marion station's sports broadcasts. Another announcer, Bob Miller, soon joined the crew so they could air a second game on their other station, WMRN-FM.
As I recall, Ed worked alone, without an analyst. There wasn't room for one in some of the high school gyms he visited. I became a student manager for Richwood, and I remember that once at Mt. Gilead I was sitting on the visitors' bench, which was the front row of the folding bleachers next to the scorers' table. The scorer actually sat in the second row of the bleachers, and Ed and his engineer Joe Peters had installed themselves and their equipment in that row as well, right behind our bench.
I also recall a post-season tournament at Delaware Hayes High School. WMRN broadcast all four games that evening from a table on the balcony in the end zone. Ed was on the air by himself for at least six hours. I was impressed by his stamina and by the fact that he was able to keep the players' names straight. Let's see, is number 12 Smith? No, now it's Jones. Smith was number 12 two games ago.
Now, more than 40 years later, I wondered whether anyone else remembered Ed. So I Googled his name and the station's call letters, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but an article in the Stillwater, Oklahoma, NewsPress. Stillwater is where Ed is now living in retirement.
According to the article, Ed started broadcasting as a teenager in 1942 in Ashland, Kentucky. He was in Marion by 1956 (the year that 16-year-old Jack Nicklaus from Columbus lost a playoff in the Junior Chamber of Commerce championship in Fargo). He broadcast his last play-by-play in 1966, the year after I graduated from high school.
Unable to find a better job without a college diploma, he enrolled at the University of Kentucky as a 40-year-old freshman. With a bachelor's degree, he went to Stillwater in 1971 to manage Oklahoma State's public radio station KOSU. After four years of that he went into teaching, earned his doctorate, and eventually retired in 1990 as a full professor.
Happy birthday, Dr. Paulin!
Ed Paulin died on March 1, 2008, at the age of 83.