440: Satisfaction - In depth
The late Charlie Champion was our PD at WHOO AM in Orlando, FL in 1964 and decided to shake up the market with a series of teasers as to what new format WHOO was going to change to ... it was an ABC affiliate rocker when we arrived (Rock Robinson was one of the air personalities then). So, would it be country ... classic ... pop ... what would it be? The whole town was listening to see what would happen. At that time WHOO FM was the solid elevator music station in the region, but AM was King in those days.

At fever's pitch in the format change promotion, I "locked" myself in the control room one night and played Tex Ritter's Hillbilly Heaven over and over for hours and hours (whew, was it bad!) implying that we were going hard core country. With such a powerful signal, this stunt attracted listeners from all over the area ... Daytona ... Tampa-St. Pete ... everywhere. Eventually, a huge crowd of youngsters filled the parking lot at the station ... then the long driveway leading from Silver Star Road ... then up and down Silver Star Road. The Florida Highway Patrol and the Sheriff's Dept. responded for crowd control, but not before the station door was broken down and the crowd forced their way in ... incidentally, witnessed by Dick Shane, who later jumped ship and joined WLOF!

To make a long story short, I knew I was fired after only a few weeks on the job. Charlie showed up with the General Manager and they were so estactic over our introduction to the market, I was then dubbed 'Wild' Bill Carter and it has followed me until this day. Of course, we didn't change the format at all ... and eventually we topped WLOF in several demographics over the next couple of years.

I became a direct competitor of the great Bill Vermilion ... he was on from 7 to midnight as was I ... he was Music Director for WLOF as was I for Radio WHOO ... he weighed in at over two hundred pounds, as did I. His name was Bill, as was mine. He was 95 on the dial, we were 99 on the dial, etc. But they were a solid number one ... we were way behind. We had more power, but they were far more powerful in the market ... the battle was on ... well, my little stunt grabbed the attention of the market and it was up to us to make it happen ... and it did.

There are so many other stories ... but, I have to admit, I never worked in a more energetic market with any more professional personalities than I did those 3 years in Orlando. We were there when Disney announced their plans and I watched the sleepy little town of Orlando explode to the world class city it is today ... can't believe we flew out of McCoy AFB back then!

Well, that's all the time we have folks ... the clock on the wall says that's all ... gotta go now ... so, 'til next time ... take care of yourself ... do your homework and by all means ... HANG LOOSE! (ahhh, the old sign off!).


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