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SOUNDS OF WRTI-FM
from Mike Biel's Archives
Except as noted, the following clips are from tapes Mike Biel unearthed from his archives.
Excerpted, converted to RealAudio and posted by Jerry Klein
Each weekday at 2pm, a different WRTI-FM "personality" played popular music. During the Fall of 1967 it was:
John Coltrane concert (announcer: Bob Donze) (:54)
Temple Jazz Spectacular promos - April 1966
People in Sports (announcer: Mike Biel) (:24)
|Mike Biel comments: The sports opens and closes I announced were produced by Jerry DelColliano in Studio B. I usually announce in a much quieter and lower voice but that was not what Jerry wanted. "Louder," he said. So I did them louder. "Not loud enough," said Jerry thru the talkback. "But if I did them any louder I would be shouting. And I would be too close to the mic." "So, back away from the mic and shout!" So, I backed away about four or five feet and shouted "FOOOOOTTTTTBBBBAAAAAALLLLLLL SSSCCCCCOOOOOOOOOORRRRREEBBBOOOOOOOORRRRRRRDDDDDDDDD!" Its one of the few promo recording sessions I remember well, and I still cringe! Everytime I hear them, I think of Peter Leeds in Stan Freberg's parody, "Bananna Boat": "Too loud. It's too piercing, man." But Jerry liked it, and it was exactly what he wanted. "THAT'S how you should announce," he said to me.|
John F. Kennedy speaking on campus, October 31, 1960 (:59) At the moment, this and the following clip are the oldest WRTI recordings that we have. Here is a photo of JFK on campus.
Kennedy interviewed by WRTI newsman Don Oakes (:22)
|Gerry Wilkinson comments: I remember, on that day, JFK being driven up North 57th Street in West Philadelphia. My uncle's in-laws, the Malloys, lived across the street. Mrs. Malloy had baked the Senator a cake and I still have strong memories of her giving JFK the cake and the future president taking a taste of the frosting with his finger. Somebody in a suit grabbed the cake out of his hands so he couldn't eat any more. The cake was taken and placed inside the car behind JFK. I'm not sure but I think I remember the guys inside eating the cake.|
Intro to Dallas - Three Years After - Documentary by Sanford M. (Sandy) Skalka analyzing the Warren Commission Report, 1966.
Ron Wertheimer delivers a holiday greeting, December 1967. From "The World Today," a daily half-hour newscast on WRTI-FM. Ron had already left for the holidays when this aired. He left this message on a tape cartridge, to be played following an introduction by Jerry Klein. (1:13)
Retrospect: "LSD - The Real Story." Produced and narrated by Mike Biel. Announcer: Joe Ryan.
Promo for Retrospect: Selma to Montgomery Revisited. Announcer: Howard Shapiro (:59)
Retrospect: World War II - Aired on Friday nights from February through April of 1968, this was an ambitious series of ten hour-long programs produced by Gerry Wilkinson. The narrator for episodes one through eight was Bruce Smallwood. The announcer on the intro and close was Jerry DelColliano. On episodes nine and ten, the narrator was Ed Sciaky and the announcer was Mike Biel. Here is the beginning of the first episode. (3:07) (From Jerry Klein's tape archives)
The Year 1967 - A year-end summary of the top news stories of 1967. (From Jerry Klein's tape archives)
Perspective, hosted by Bob Donze (:55)
Florence Weiss interviewing WIP's "Morning Mayor," Joe McCauley, on "In and Around" - April 24, 1967 (:43) (from Jerry Klein's archives)
Sammy Davis, Jr. (:22)
|Mike Biel comments: The Sammy Davis Jr. performance was a fundraising Q&A session in Mitten Hall auditorium that we were recording using an RCA 44 or 77 on a floor stand. He moved around a lot and ignored our recording mic. Finally he got much too far away and I sneaked out to the front edge of the stage to move our mic stand. As I started moving it he said something like, "Thank you, Walter Cronkite." So I have said for 30 years that Sammy Davis Jr. called me Walter Cronkite.|
Ramsey Lewis (announcer: Dave McLaughlin) (:60)
Temple Music Festival, December 13, 1966. Host: Jerry Klein; Studio Host: Mike Biel. (2:43) (From Jerry Klein's archives.)
From S.C.I.M. - "Some Call It Madness" - Here's a spoof on political convention remotes from March 5, 1966. (1:02)
Also from S.C.I.M., a Station Break from "The Best of S.C.I.M.," April 30, 1966 (:35)
|Mike Biel comments: The first voice on the SCIM spoof of political convention remotes is Barry Robert Molich who was the fourth SCIMer. Although he is usually forgotten because he left the show before the end of the year, he actually was the first SCIMer. He did the Shakespearian weather reports from the WRTI Weather Balloon during one of Bob Donze's Friday Mid-day programs, with Bill Stock providing the sound effects in cramped Studio C. It was the following week that Phil joined and we did the Friday program live on the air from Studio A. Bob Cirillo had been stationed at the door to Control Room C to move me to Studio A when I arrived from my class which ended minutes before the broadcast. He blocked the door and said "Studio A, Studio A." "But I am engineering Bob Donze's DJ show." "He's doing it in Studio A, Studio A." I arrived in Studio A just seconds before air, and I had never seen as much sound effects equipment laid out for use. The next three hours are a blur. I haven't the slightest idea what was broadcast. The only thing I remember is Bob Cirillo saying "Studio A, Studio A" and three hours later replacing Donze with someone else on the Friday Mid-day program and giving us an hour on Saturday nights at 7.|
Excerpt from The Adventures of Larry Blenheim - featuring Phil Sabatelli. February 1964 (1:10)
|Mike Biel comments: Bill Stock provided me with "The Adventures of Larry Blenheim" because it was recorded the semester before I arrived. This tape was a surprise to me because I did not know that Phil Sabatelli had done any work on the station before SCIM. I never met him till the first SCIM. Mr. Blenheim always cleared his throat. And his voice was always perfectly modulated. Phil's take-off is right on target. I have absolutely no recordings of Mr. Blenheim whatsoever. In fact, I have never heard ANY of his announcing or every heard him thru a microphone. He had already left WRCV where he occasionally did the local segments of NBC Monitor. He had a philosophy of not giving us announcing examples because then we would all tend to be imitating him and his style. Does anybody have ANY recordings of Mr. Blenheim?|
Mike Biel's "Old Philosopher" production, December 10, 1964. With Emily Marie Trotter.
|Mike Biel comments: The "Old Philosopher" was our contribution to the WRTI Christmas party at the end of my first semester. Our AM Graduate Assistants, Kent Bishop and Jerry Ashworth, had just sent around a memo listing all of our faults at the station, including having too many inside references and fooling around with two many "guests" in the studio. This was our reaction to it. The two voices on "The Faculty Meeting: John Be. Roberts" were Steve Tannenbaum and Marty Adelman. They were also dorm residents, and the three of us seemed to be running the whole station during the evenings. Steve was also a Freshman, and Marty was a year or two ahead of us. He also had a car--a Volkswagen beetle--and some nights after sign-off we would visit some of his friends at commercial stations. The two of them concocted some sort of scheme one evening when I (fortunately) was away--I haven't the slightest memory of what it was--and they got fired from the station. Totally unjustly, I believed. (Maybe they played a rock 'n' roll record on the air after sign-off, pretending that they thought the transmitter was off.) A year later when someone else important was unjustly fired--it might have been Burt Medley--I then and there insisted that when and if I became manager NO ONE would EVER be fired from WRTI. And it is a pledge I kept.|
Here's Bob Donze trying to record the "Conflict" opening. (:19)
And Mike Biel flubbing Drew Pearson's occupation during a newscast. (:21)
It took Bob Donze and Jerry DelColliano several takes to record their "Party Time" promos. (1:18)
In February 1968, Ellie Menna produced a program called "Children's Corner."
|Mike Biel comments: Ellie Menna was the sweetest, most innocent soul around, but all of us, especially Muderick and myself, loved to twist every innocent thing she ever said into a double-entendre. Half the time I bet she didn't understand our jokes. She just always said things that could be twisted the wrong way. And so it was with this script. I had been kidding her all year that her kiddie shows were obscene, but this one REALLY WAS!! Notice in the second clip that the script indicated that there were to be three bells. Well, we couldn't find the bell--remember on SCIM "Ring the BELL"? So someone tapped a music stand!! So she had to ad-lib "three rather dull bells." The voice of Toinette's conscience was supposed to be a girl, but all of the other girls were missing (or hiding) that afternoon, so Ed was pressed into service to play that part also. OBVIOUSLY we did this without rehearsal. Why rehearse when we KNEW what we were doing? There had been all sorts of double entendres throughout the script, but when the line came about throwing her brother's ball into the fire, Mary Ellen lost it. She tried to disguise her laughter as crying--a GREAT acting job!! But now when Ed came to the line about "If you don't become a GOOD little girl, I'm moving out of you and going to live with some other nice little girl" we all KNEW the tape was unusable and we just collapsed in mirth. All except Ellie. I'll never forget her standing at the mic, script in hand, looking at me through the glass and saying "Mike, I'm beginning to think these shows really ARE obscene!" Naturally this tape was never broadcast--until the last night in Thomas Hall. At midnight after Broadside we did a blooper show, and I am still looking for the tape of that broadcast and our last Thomas Hall sign-off.|
Stan Freberg PSA for the Philadelphia Council of Churches (:60)
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