This guy I wrote about a few months back who was interested in finding out about my grandfather wrote this about that station where Pop used to work. And since it’s New Year’s Eve:

I am a nostalgia person. I’m always looking up things from my childhood that evoke pleasant memories. WNBF-TV was the first channel that Binghamton had. One of the things I discovered Monday night before I hit your site was a listing of the first commercial TV stations from 1950. WNBF started Dec. 1, 1949. We received our first TV for Christmas 1951. In those days I believe channel 12(WNBF) was located in the Arlington Hotel at the corner of Chenango & Lewis Sts. across from the train station.
My first memories were coming home from school and watching Kate Smith and then “Chuck Wagon Playhouse” from NYC. That was like 4 or 4:30. WNBF started the broadcast day at 3:30, I think, and went to about midnight. This was a few years before Bill Parker started his shows. I remember the Ranch Club, Officer Bill and a couple of others that he had of course. In those days a lot of programs were 15 minutes or a half hour and very short commercials. My favorite night was Thursday when my mother’s father(who lived up the street from us) would come down for The Lone Ranger at 7:00 and right after was the Cisco Kid. We had a 17″ Admiral TV (B&W naturally) that my brother made a stand for. We were the first in our neighborhood and all my friends would come over to see the westerns and Kukla, Fran and Ollie. I was about 10 or 11 then. As a matter of fact the TV signals use to come by microwave(I think) through Albany and Cherry Valley. Whenever they had signal problems they would flash a sign saying “Trouble with signal from Cherry Valley”.

In those days too, WNBF and WKOP Radio had disk jockeys. Bill Parker, Ken Kirkander, Bill Kunkel and several others would ply the time on WNBF. They also filled in on TV since it was the same ownership, Clark Associates, I think. Several years later in the late fifties they moved to the Sheraton Hotel on Front St. which is now a senior housing facility. As far as I remember WNBF was always a CBS affiliate primarily but they carried programs from all the networks (NBC, ABC, DuMont and syndication) until WINR-TV started in 1957. It was owned by Gannett Newspapers and was primarily NBC. By then, I think, DuMont was gone and they split ABC programming.

I don’t remember just when channel 34 started 1962 but it was the ABC affiliate.

Sitting watching what was there then something there. I thought Sat, clearly a Sunday (Nov 25, 1962)

Anyway, I just usually go on Google on nights when the Yankees aren’t on and type in things that are pleasant for me and see what comes up. That is how I came across McKinley Green by accident and to my great pleasure. The only problem is I have dial-up because I’m too cheap for Roadrunner. I’m also a fan of Jerry Colonna and Jimmy Durante. There is a great site from England… http://great-song-stylists-uk.com/ that has Colonna, Durante, Danny Kaye, Eddie Cantor, etc. with songs and radio programs that I go to quite often for a few laughs.

I read that you used to listen to the out of own stations when you were a kid, so did I. In the 50s I’d pick up Boston, Charlotte, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, New Orleans, Minneapolis, DesMoines and even Tulsa. When rock-n-roll was in I used to listen to Dick Biondi on WLS-Chicago every night. When I was going to Broome Tech in 1959-61 it would start coming in at about 9PM very clearly to about midnight. I used to listen while doing my assignments. One of my favorite programs was easy listening music. Holiday Inn and American Airlines used to have a female disk jockey that sounded very sexy. It was syndicated I think and on several clear channel stations that I could pick up. Ah, those were the days.

A couple pieces I found re: this here and here.

2006 QUESTIONS; I mean, QUESTIONS about 2006

So, looking back on the past year, what were the most important/interesting things did you do/learn?

For me:

Going another year with Lydia without doing her appreciable damage.

Seeing my mother, sister Marcia, and niece Alex this summer; more importantly, my mother seeing, and getting to know, Lydia. Lydia recognizes my mother’s picture now.

Went on about 9 dates with my wife this year; not so great, but it’s something.

The office move to Corporate Woods: I know I used to complain about it a lot, though not so much lately. I still hate it, especially now that things have started disappearing from people’s workstations on the floor. Since no one can get on the floor without badges, it’s either other people working on the floor or the cleaning crew. And me without a door.

Listened to a lot of good music, and a little I wasn’t so crazy about, largely due to the efforts of Fred, Lefty, Gordon and their compatriots. Merci! I’m devastated, though, to have sunk to #5 on Lefty’s musical guru list. Ah, well, the price of fame.
Lost about 20 pounds this fall, then gained about half of it back after the bicycle crash. Eh.

Donated blood six times this year, again, even though I’m peeved by the ban on gay donors.

As a political science major, I’m as turned off as ever by politics. Yet I still vote, every time.

I’ve pretty much abandoned church committees. Not where I’m at, presently. Still doing the choir thing, though.

Yet I have taken on being Vice-President of the Friends of the Albany Public Library, and I’m trying to create definition for the job whose only actual function is to run the monthly meeting if the president”s away. I’ve lined up a speaker for National Library Month and started a blog, so far.

I’m sure I’ll think – or you’ll think – of other things.

"Stir Fry Barbie" and Other Copyright Issues

Sometimes ya gotta cheat. Have a bunch of family stuff, so it’ll be next year (i.e., next week) for answering your questions, a book review, a movie review and sundry other ramblings, though I do have something for tomorrow and Sunday. Meanwhile, for my work blog, I wrote this series of pieces on copyright, which I like, especially the third part, which talks about the Air Pirate Funnies and Tom Forsythe’s “Food Chain Barbie”, an example of the latter which appears above.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Then go over to Greg’s blog and read his robust, 77-part saga about his recent trip to Egypt.


Gerald Rudolph Ford

The 93-year old Gerald Ford went into the hospital at least four times this year, so the death this week of our longest-living President didn’t surprise me. But his career has long interested me greatly. As our first person selected as Vice-President and then President under the 25th Amendment, rather than elected, the House minority leader didn’t much have a lot of political leverage.

The whole Ford Memoirs Behind the Nixon Pardon thing led to an interesting, and for Ford’s legacy, a rather sad court case. In HARPER & ROW, PUBLISHERS, INC. v. NATION ENTERPRISES, 471 U.S. 539 (1985), Time magazine had an exclusive right to excerpt from Ford’s memoirs. Nation magazine wrote a news story of 300-400 words about it. Normally, that wouldn’t be an issue (fair use), but since they focused on the Nixon pardon, which was the only thing that anyone really cared about, it led to the resulting lawsuit.

On one hand, I felt sorry for the man. Ford had two offers, from the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions, to play professional football when he graduated from Michigan in 1935… Ford could have gone league. “I wish I could’ve played one year for either the Lions or the Packers…”. If he had, maybe he wouldn’t have been so easily painted as a klutz by the press and most notably by Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live. (I read on AOL that Chase is now saying very nice things about Ford.)

On the other hand, he was responsible in large part for the success of two members of the GWB administration, one current and the other recent. He made a rising young administrator in the Nixon cabinet, Donald Rumsfeld, his chief of staff in 1974. In 1975, when Rumsfeld moved to the Pentagon to become the nation’s youngest secretary of defense, Ford appointed a still younger White House staffer, Dick Cheney, to succeed him. Had Gerald Ford been still alive, I might have called this piece, “I blame Gerald Ford”. But it’s still hard for me to speak ill of the dead.

At least he’ll be eligible to be on a coin in 2016.

Godfather of Soul

JamesBrown: I think of his name almost as one word.

When I was growing up, our family always got JET magazine. On the last pages were the black (or R&B) music charts. More often than not, there was a song or two or three from James Brown on the singles charts and and an LP on the album charts. Peculiarly, many of these songs I had never heard of, let alone heard, because there was no black radio stations that I can recall in my hometown. This was particularly true when I was younger, before he had most of his big crossover hits.

So, if you look at some of those Billboard books of the top pop artists, James Brown will appear in the top ten, even though he had a relative dearth of pop hits, compared with his total output. However, he had a MASSIVE total output.

James Brown came to Albany in the mid-1980s, and I didn’t go, and this during a period when I was attending concerts. It was largely that his shows – like Bob Dylan at the time, now that I think of it – were considered very inmconsistent. One show, he earned his nickname of “The Heardest Working Man in Show Business”, while the next show, he seemed to be mailing it in. For the life of me, I can’t remember what category JB’s show that year fell into.

What with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the initial grouping and Kennedy Center Honors, among other awards, he was feted vigorously. But I think the greatest complement is to be so well recognized that you’ll be well parodied:

Speaking of the Kenedy Center Honors, no Jessica Simpson -alas. But Alison Krauss – my wife’s other favorite singer – on two songs!

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