The picture on the left was taken on December 11, 1956. What is now Mercury Boulevard was only a two
lane road. Todds Lane is in the background. By the end of the 1960s, the towers were
gone and the
nighttime directional antenna site was moved to the upper portion of Todds Lane. In
1972, Todd Center was constructed on this site, with new WGH studios and
offices built near the area of the tower in the foreground of the photo.
The photo on the right shows the same area today..
thing that's recognizable is Lynnhaven
Drive (now with trees around the houses) in the upper center of the
My old buddy Thomas Twine writes:
"Mercury Boulevard was originally
Military Highway (not, of course, to be confused with the one in Norfolk).
I'm told Dick Kidney was among those leading the charge to re-name it in
honor of NASA Langley."
(Left) The WGH Sunshine Spreader Spotter Car with George
Crawford, Jr. at the wheel, getting ready to spot round, yellow WGH window stickers on
autos. It's parked in front of the Showmobile, which contained a complete on-air
studio for remotes.
(Right) John Garry is in the Spotter Car in 1970, parked on Boush Street in Downtown Norfolk in the savings and loan parking lot beside
the WTAR-TV (now WTKR) building. Across the street is the old WGH Norfolk
office with a flashing neon sign on the roof.
(Left photo) Here's George Crawford in the
Hampton on-air studio in the new wing of studios added to the building in
1963. George joined the station from WTAR and was paired with Jim
Stanley on the morning show. For a while he was on the air
Thursday-Saturday and Jim was on Monday-Wednesday. George took over
the program fulltime when Jim Stanley left for WNOR.
It's George in the Conference Room.
I believe this had
something to do with designing the ultimate doggie rest stop.
down for pictures from yesteryear. If you have some you'd like me to
include, please email them to me.
was taken around 1960. Changes from the 1956 photo include filling in
the front (where the "Sound of Progress" sign is painted), closing in the
windows (where the AM/Muzak/FM sign is painted) and the addition of the
buildings/garages on the right side of the picture.
(Photo courtesy of Lisbeth Hydrick)
(Photo courtesy of
(Left) The WGH sign of Mercury
Boulevard was a Peninsula landmark for many years. In the background,
you can see the construction of the service lanes on West Mercury
(Right) Here's JJ Bowman in the old Mercury
Boulevard on-air studio ready to start a cart in the Spotmaster 5-spot tape
cartridge machine. The console is a Gates "Yard", one of my
all-time favorites (the tube version...not the solid state unit). Look
through the window and you'll see Dick Kidney talking on the phone in
the News Room. And if you look at the bottom of the picture, you'll
notice the photographer's shoe.
(Below) 1965 picture of the WGH
Showmobile parked behind the Hampton studio/offices complex. It
contained a complete studio, with a Gates Yard Console, turntables and tape
cartridge machines. Programs were delivered to the studio either by
equalized Telco program lines or by a Marti remote pickup transmitter.
(Below Left) Rob Wayne in
Military Circle on-air studio. The window looked into the Mall.
Initially, everyone broadcasting in the Military Circle studios was required
to wear a tie, but that rule was relaxed after a couple of years.
(Below Center) J.J. Bowman in the Todd Center AM on-air studio, looking into
the studio from the lobby. The window on the other side of the AM
studio looked into the news studio. (Below Right) Joe Lowenthal
delivering a newscast from the Military Circle news studio. The window
in front of Joe looked into the production studio, which had a Mall window.
All three of these pictures were taken in 1972.
(Above) Military Circle Mall
shoppers peering through the glass at the WGH's Rob Wayne on the air.
The Norfolk studios and sales offices were constructed in 1970 and replaced
the much smaller facilities at 711 Boush Street across from the WTAR
Radio-TV complex in Downtown Norfolk. Nicely designed, acoustically
engineered and well equipped, the facility included a main air studio,
production studio, news studio, large conference room/studio and a number of
sales and administrative offices. A microwave link atop the mall's
Sheraton Hotel fed the programming to the Hampton Master Control Room.
Also at the top of the Sheraton was a Marti Remote Pickup receiver for
receiving remote broadcasts from the Showmobile when it was in Southside
(Right) Dale Parsons in the Military
Circle studios. From a 1971 newspaper article in the Virginian-Pilot
"Action" magazine supplement.
Engineer Joe Looper with Tom Inman in the WGH Master Control Room in the
Todd Center Complex. Behind Joe is a window looking into the News
Studio. This picture was taken around 1972.
(Right) Copy paper on which all
commercials and continuity instructions were typed.
(Left) Another shot of the AM
transmitter building at the Newport News Small Boat Harbor in the late
(Right) Control room for the WGH
studios located in the Portlock Building in Downtown Norfolk. These
studios were constructed in 1940 and used until the early 1950s, when they
were moved to the AAA Building at 739 Boush Street in Norfolk.
cueing up a selection to play on the air in the WGH-FM Main Studio, Todd
Center in Hampton. The overnight automation system can be seen through
the window in the adjacent studio.
(Right) Production Manager Herman
King in the production control room located next to his office in the Todd
Center complex. The window looked into the second AM production
(Above Left) The WGH Sky
Studio in front of the studios and offices in Hampton. This picture
was apparently taken prior to 1963 because on the right side of the shot you can see the
main entrance to the offices with no studio wing, which was built in 1963.
Chris Astle writes: "My
recollection is that it (the Sky Studio) was abandoned because someone took a shot at it with
a rifle. It was there when I came to WGH in Spring of 1964, but it was
never used during or after Spring 1964. It was there for at least another year
and never used for broadcast before it was torn down. After someone used it
for target practice, I doubt you could have gotten any WGH jock to go up
(Above Center) 1960 photo of Chief Engineer Al Braun in front of the
(Photo courtesy of
(Above Right) Top photo is the WGH transmitter building and
self-supporting tower in Newport News
near the Small Boat Harbor at the base of Jefferson Avenue. This
picture was probably from the late 1930s - early 1940s. The photo
below it is the same building in 2004, which now houses only the WGH-FM
(Both photos courtesy Dave Spriggs and NNHS65 website)
Above, a gathering of the 1960
WGH air staff. From L-R, Jim Stanley, Don Owens, Bob Calvert, Dick
Lamb, and Program Director Gene Creasy.
(Photo courtesy of
On the right, Dick Lamb signs
autographs for a couple of listeners outside of the WGH remote studio in
front of Lerner's at Newmarket Shopping Center. It was a pretty modern
remote studio for 1960 ... look closely and you can see the tops of
two Spotmaster tape cartridge machines inside the booth.
Below, is WGH morning
personality Jim Stanley reviewing a song in the music library.
It's still Monday, January 25,
1960. News Director Ed Meyer, on the left, is working with a young Dave Desler in the
news studio. Notice the Magnecord reel-to-reel machine
on the right. Spotmaster tape cartridge machines appear in all of the
studios in these 1960 photos. Spotmasters were introduced only the
Below is WGH news reporter Pete
Glazer in News Satellite 12 at the entrance to the WGH Hampton studios and
offices. Behind Pete is Military Highway (now Mercury Boulevard).
The houses in the distance are still there, but a car dealership is now
located on the lot between the homes and the highway. Before he came
to WGH, Pete was a reporter for the Portsmouth Star newspaper, which merged
with the Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch in 1955 (becoming the Ledger-Star).
Pete worked for WGH News until 1970, when he retired and went to work for
U.S. Senator William Spong as his press secretary. Pete Glazer died in
1999 in Washington, DC at the age of 83.
(Photos courtesy of
The National Association of
Broadcasters (NAB) proposed that radio disc jockeys accepting payment from
record labels for broadcasting particular songs would receive a $500 fine
and a year in prison. The practice known as "payola" had
provoked an investigation by the NAB.
"The Kate Smith Show", a
half-hour variety program, premiered on the CBS Television Network at 7:30
p.m., replacing "Masquerade Party" and competing against David
Janssen's "Richard Diamond, Private Detective" on NBC and Clint Walker's
"Cheyenne" on ABC.
And pictured in the WGH
auxiliary air studio is Carl Cunningham. Through the window you can
see the News Studio and, beyond that, a hallway and the main WGH-AM air
studio. This was part of the old studio complex in the middle of the
(Photo courtesy of
(Above) My official Keith
James Fan Club membership card. He also sent a bag full of silver
ballpoint pens, with a microphone and call letters on the clip and a bunch
of the autographed publicity photos seen on the right. Keith left in
1964 for CHED in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Below) A picture
Keith sent us in April 2011 from his radio station in Vancouver, British
This photo is dated 1963. The
new studio wing was added on the left side of the building that year.
The studios had been located in the center of the building. There is also
another addition on the right side of the building...to the right of the
transmitter room. I think the fallout shelter studio was included in
this addition. You can also see the Sky Studio close
to the highway
(Above Left) Radio Log from
the Newport News Daily Press dated Friday, June 30, 1939. Newspapers
used to run radio station schedules as a service to their readers,
especially, as was the case with WGH, the schedules of a radio station owned
by the newspaper. Note at 8:30 p.m. the listing "Transradio News
Review". In the early days of radio, there was little, if any, regular
news coverage. Many newspapers prohibited radio stations from using
their news stories on the air and forced the major wire services to prohibit
radio station or network use of their wire copy. A press-radio war
broke out in the early 1930s, which ended with the signing of the 1933
"Biltmore Agreement", so-named because it was successfully negotiated at the
Biltmore Hotel in New York City. Under the agreement, newspapers were
protected from radio's encroachment on their news turf. The CBS
Network closed their news bureau and NBC agreed not to start one. The
networks would broadcast only the Press-Radio Bureau's five-minute news
summaries twice daily, after 9:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., well after the morning
and afternoon newspapers were delivered. Furthermore, the newscasts
could not be sponsored. In 1934, the Transradio news service was
formed in defiance of the agreement. Many newspaper-owned radio
stations became affiliates of Transradio, much to the consternation of many
publishers. By the end of the decade, the major wire services lifted
their radio ban. (Above Right)
A Radio Log from
Thursday, April 17, 1941. Note the WGH frequency of "1340 KC."
In March of that year, most U.S. radio stations shifted their
frequencies to higher positions on the dial. WGH moved from 1310
kc to 1340 kc, returning to 1310 in 1947.
(Radio Logs courtesy Knowtoniosis)
(Above left photo) From L-R,
Mal Powell, George Jones, Howard Jernigan, Bill Walker, and Ambert Dail.
(Above right photo) Jack Whitehead on the left with two unknown men.
(Left photo) Program Director
Gene Creasy with unidentified woman. (Above right photo) The WGH
Accounting Department. Check out that adding machine! We don't
know who the two women on the left are, but Bill Walker says the woman on
the right is Betty Verell. Through the window, you can see part of the
WGH-AM air studio.
(Above left photo) Bill Walker
dictating a contract into the Dictaphone. Bill says that Dan Hydrick required all
salespeople to dictate their correspondence and contracts, which would then
be typed by a secretary. (Above right photo) A meeting of the
Community Club Awards (CCA) group. CCA was an alliance of the radio
station, sponsors and local non-profit groups and organizations. 4th
from right is Carol Edmundson and far right is Mary Copes.
photo) WGH General Manager Dan Hydrick dictating correspondence in his
office in 1960. (Above right photo) 1960 meeting of WGH department
heads. From L-R, Betty Verell, Dan Hydrick, (Standing) Al Braun, Gene
Creasy, Jim Stanley, Unknown, (Sitting) Ambert Dail, Ed Meyer, Bill Walker.
photo) Some of the WGH Engineering Control Room racks. The reel-to-reel machines
were for Muzak. At the bottom of the middle rack was the CONELRAD
receiver used in the event of enemy attack. The rack on the right side
of the photo contained antenna monitoring equipment for the directional
array. (Above right photo) Traffic Director Carol Edmundson preparing
the Program Logs.
WGH stood for "World's Greatest Harbor"
as well as "Walton Graham Hunter" who worked for the station
as an engineer from 1958 until his death in 1962. The pictures above
left and right show him changing tapes and working on equipment. His son, Owen, explained the
"I found an old promotional photo in which my father was wearing a
cowboy hat with a button that said WGH for President. The proposed
stunt was because his name was Walton Graham Hunter. I guess it was never
published because, frankly, my father's looks simply did not have the
type of image WGH wanted to present."
(Left and Center photos courtesy Owen
Hunter; Right photo courtesy
Ron James filing away
Ron came to
WGH in 1969 from WNOR and worked on and off for the station until the
mid-1970s. (Above right)
Rob Wayne in the Military Circle
Mall on-air showcase studio. Despite the note
on the photo, I know the Ampex in the back of the studio was
used at least twice, because I used it. Rob's cueing a record (do you remember
that...and those?) on Turntable #2 (There were 3 turntables). Early in the
studio's life, the remote starts for the turntables were not connected, so
you had to start them with the buttons on the turntables. One
evening, I had my next record cued up on Turntable #3...the one just out of
arm's reach as I faced the console. I was reading the weather and needed to
start the record under me. As I was reading the forecast, I reached down,
pulled off my shoe, leaned back and smacked the start button with my heel.
No one listening to their radio noticed, however the twenty people staring
at me through the window in the mall applauded. I mentioned the episode to
chief engineer Joe Looper the next day. Soon after that we had remote
Here's a great picture of Bob "Ol' Boob" Calvert.
The date on the calendar is Tuesday, January 21, 1964. This was taken
in the WGH-AM on-air studio in the new studio wing that was constructed in 1963.
Gates Yard consoles had replaced the RCA 76C Consoles. The window on
the right looked into the News Studio.
This photo came from
Raymond Bottom, Jr., who noted, "...Bob Calvert, probably the best
production man in all of Tidewater...hard to control, slightly outrageous,
but very popular."
Bob Calvert was the best
production voice and producer I ever worked with or knew of in the business.
His "Baron Bebop" character was the inspiration for Robert Smith's "Wolfman
Jack" when Smith was working for WYOU-AM in Newport News in the early 1960s.
Bob left WGH in in early 1960s
and for a short time worked for WNOR. WGH hired him back and gave him
his own studio, located in the station's fallout shelter deep below the
Bob left WGH for good in 1970
and after a stop in Charlotte at WIST-AM settled down at WFOG-FM in
Bob Calvert died in 1992 at the
age of 68.
left) Glenn "The
Turtle" Lewis in the main AM studio. The calendar is from March
1966. (Above lower left) Phil Brown in
an early WGH-FM studio. Note the WGH-FM mic flag and the
mono Gates "Yard" console. This studio was in the new wing of the
Military Highway (West Mercury Boulevard) studios built in 1963.
The album cover in the background is "Immortal Serenades" by Frank Chacksfield.
You can also see the remote control for an Ampex 351 reel-to-reel machine.
Calvert told me that most of the Ampex machines in the building were part of
a barter deal for airing celebrity gossip Jimmie Fidler's Hollywood reports
in the 1950s and early 1960s. (Above right) Newsman Ira Hull in the WGH
news studio. In the background is Glenn "The Turtle" Lewis cueing up a
record in the main AM on-air studio. The picture was taken in March
photos courtesy Raymond Bottom, Jr.)
Carlton Shrieves reports live from the scene in WGH News Satellite 2.
(Below left) Carlton in the news studio at the old Hampton studios and offices.
This picture shows the back of the AM Air Studio through the window on the
right. The FM Air Studio was located behind the News Studio.
(Below right) Carlton
anchoring a live newscast from the news studio at the Todd Center complex
built in 1971. This picture
was taken from the AM Air Studio. The door
on the right in the back of the news studio opened to the hallway.
Production studios were located on that hall. The door on the left
side of the photo opened into the teletype room. It was soundproofed
and contained a microphone used to pick up the teletype sounds that were
mixed under the newscasts. Master Control was
located in front of the teletype room.
(All photos courtesy of Carlton Shrieves)