Tuesday, August 29, 2006

1957.………I MAKE IT TO THE “BIG APPLE”



I was three years out of college in 1957 and my feet were itching to get where the action was…and in those days it was New York City. I already had three jobs under my belt (a short stint with an Ad Agency in Boston, 6 months at WWNY radio station in Watertown, NY and over a year at KEYT TV in Santa Barbara, Ca.) and felt I was ready to compete.

I found an affordable room at the Ferguson (a hotel for women only) on the upper East side and started my search for a job. I had good references and within a week I was working for WABC radio.

This was a very shaky time for that industry. The stations were losing audiences by the droves, as TV was just cresting on the horizon, and WABC was making a last ditch stand with their promotion, “Live and Lively Radio”. My job was to write promotional material aimed at selling time on the live shows. We had “Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club”, out of Chicago and the NY based “Jim Reeves Show” and “The Merv Griffin Show”.

Our studios were on West 86th St. and we were in a constant state of turmoil. We were either writing a proposal, presenting one or re-doing it. This was where I learned that it is possible to manipulate facts and figures to say what you want (inferences, leaving things out, etc.) and I’ve never trusted advertising since then!

I found a great way to save money during that time. Our bosses (all men, by the way) had expense accounts and they would gladly include me in their “business” lunches. I would eat to my heart’s content and not worry about food for the rest of the day…great on the pocketbook and the waistline.

A lot happened during my 3 years at WABC. I moved to Tudor City, near the UN, met my husband and married in 1958 and finally left the job when our first child was born in 1959. (That’s a pregnant me in the picture above). Live radio shows were destined to fail, especially when NBC TV came out with color, but at least I had my small bite of the Big Apple while it was still ripe and juicy.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Terri said...

This is so much fun getting to know you....I had no idea you worked in radio.
I remember radio with fond memories...my mom used to listen to some of the soaps...I think one was Stella Dallas and her and my dad listened to Lux Theater in the evening.....and then TV came along and that was the end of the radio era as we knew it. How great that you were actually a part of it.

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Alan G said...

Oh my....

The "Jim Reeves Show"! I am one of his biggest fans. In fact yesterday I was sitting here listening to him and the Anita Kerr singers getting it on. Man what a voice!

Your tour in that medium had to be a great experience. When I was in high school one of my best friends was a disc jockey on one of the local radio stations and it was both fun and educational to learn what goes on behind the scenes.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Interesting post. Although I have been to the 'Big Apple' many times I still imagine it to be like the 1950s. It comes from watching all those old movies. :-)

7:53 AM  
Blogger saz said...

Brings back so many great memories! I still love radio and have it on most of the day when I'm home. In San Francisco we had Don Sherwood on KSFO in the morning. He died a long time ago but there are still articles written about him and he's well remembered locally.....he and Al "Jazzbo" Collins were like the Howard Sterns (don't listen to him) of today but of course tons better.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Alan: I'm so excited that someone remembers Jim Reeves. He was such a gentleman and a lovely man. What a loss it was when he was killed in that plane crash.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

I remember the Merv Griffin show on television, especially that Latin lady (Charo?) who used to say Match-a-chew-cha instead of Massachusetts. I had no idea he would have had a show as early as 1957.

Andrew
To Love, Honor and Dismay

7:23 PM  
Blogger Connie and Rob said...

You were really on the move!! It amazes me that you were able to pick up and move and go after a job you really wanted. So glad you can look back and share this wonderful story with us.

I love Merv Griffin.

Take care,
Connie

8:16 PM  
Blogger Chancy said...

I had my first child in 1956 so we are about the same vintage. I loved reading about your time living in NYC.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

You have lived an exciting life, Ginnie. I love getting a peek into it.

8:10 PM  

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