Monday, July 10, 2017

"Go Back Dorothy, Go Back...."


It was like the scene from  "Alice in Wonderland."   

It Was 1969 and I was walking out of Broadcast House for the last time...when I encountered a former young member of the Production crew, Steve King, walking up the steps to the station, returning to get his old job back, after his two year tour in Vietnam.       .


""Go back, Steve, ...Go back!  It's not the same place you left," I shouted as he walked up the steps.
But the law said that the station had to give returning veterans their jobs back, so......

He learned very quickly that he had simply swapped one war zone for another.

He put up with a very hostile attitude from the "Larry Israel people" for quite some time before finally throwing in the towel and leaving Broadcast House to start his own production company.

When Phil Graham died (suicide) his wife, Kathrine Graham, took over and proceeded to change just about everything that Phil had done; firing many long term Washington Post employees, and TV station WTOP-TV) employees right and left.  She hired a man named Larry Israel, who was known in the business as "Ruthless."

He proceeded to fire everyone at the Post's TV station (WTOP-TV).  After about 6 months of this reign, about 100 employees had been terminated.  Former top executives were the first to go....his method was to first "promote" the executive to a non existent position, (called "area vice President of some such thing) and a few months later fire them.  After about a year and a half or so...he had completely "cleaned house."

The firings were done seemingly with viciousness.  It was very ugly.



Sunday, July 09, 2017

Still Here

Those great old call letters, WTOP-TV have almost disappeared from the face of the earth...except for a couple of places....this website being one of them.

I "renewed" this site a week ago....for at least another year.  Of course, let's face it; the people who once worked for WTOP-TV are rapidly dying off.  That's life after all.

So, renewing the website doesn't seem to make much sense.  You're right.
But there's this thing called "Love," which trumps logic every time...in my book.

As a boy of 15, I dreamed of someday working for WTOP!  A couple of great announcers at my home town's radio station (WBT in Charlotte ) had moved on to the "big time" in Washington...WTOP....and that's what I wanted to do someday......fortunately, the stars were aligned just right...and my dream came to pass.

I worked as an announcer/personality there for 10 years...until Kathrine Graham hired Larry Israel to take over the radio and TV station....and fire everyone who her late husband, Phil Graham, had hired.

But by then, my dream had been fulfilled..so I moved on.  A couple of years later new owners changed the grand old call letters a couple of times...and as of today...they only exist on some obscure college station somewhere and this website.

Hopefully, I'll hear from a few of the old folks who once worked there and anyone else who would like to swap stories about that GREAT old station.

Drop a line to:
shephard@gmail.com

-Lee Shephard  WTOP radio and TV announcer/personality from 1961 - 1969


Broadcast House or....


The building of WTOP-TV (located at 40th and Brandywine Streets, Northwest, Washington, DC) was named "BROADCAST HOUSE."
Larry Israel (Westinghouse) and his ruthless inept underlings (John Corporan, John Baker, Leo O'Farrell and others) came to Washington, DC and destroyed that "HOUSE."
So many of us loved being at BROADCAST HOUSE everyday -- and working alongside the best and brightest broadcasting professionals in the television industry.
The original BROADCAST HOUSE (and the ones who destroyed it) are now gone.
We are not!
Because of you and your website -- the memories (good and bad) of our time at BROADCAST HOUSE still live on in our hearts and minds.
My mother told me one day -- "It should have been named, "HEARTBREAK HOUSE" -- for all the broken hearts and broken dreams.
Sadly, she was very profound.

Steve King




Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Bosses

Perhaps  one department of  the great WTOP radio and TV empire we haven't given the recognition it deserves is "The Executive" branch.

Heaven to Betsy!  What an oversight.  We had some of the best "bossses" in the business, bar none!

John S.Hayes was "Mr. Big"......the boss of the bosses.  He was tough, but fair.....and, without a douibt the best judge of talent in the business! (After all, look at who all he hired..!)

George F. Hartford was VP in charge of TV.  He rose from the ranks of salesman to VP.  Tight as a drum....but very professional.

Jim Silman...Program Director TV.....Creative (He created the Ranger Hal show....and many other award winning WTOP TV shows.  Did the hiring....made the day to day decisions... Tough, fair, creative, competent, good listener, Good friend!

Lloyd Dennis...VP of Radio.  Started out as an announcer in the radio business.  Experienced, high ranking Navel Officer in WW2... Brown University Educated.  Quiet, Competent, Easy to talk to. Fair....

Patti Searight...Program Director of Radio.  Lloyd Dennis' right hand assistant.  Took care of the details.... and day to day stuff.  Perfect combination, Dennis and Searight.

An incomplete list of most of the WTOP executives.....the oil that kept one of the greatest radio stations of its era running like clockwork!

Lee Shephard

Monday, December 19, 2016

Zsa Zsa Passes

Zsa Zsa Gabor


WTOP-TV  graduate, Bill Diehl of ABC reports on the "famous" Hollywood actress....

LISTEN HERE

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Kirk Douglas is 100

Maybe not the last.....but certainly one of the last.....old TOPers still active in broadcasting is Bill Diehl.
He's semi retired from ABC, but more and more....he's called on to cover "breaking news" from Hollywood.
News such as Kirk Douglas turning 100 years old!

Bill writes that he interviewed Kirk Douglas twice.......

"... first in 1986 at our ABC studio  
and much later in 2007 at his home in Beverly Hills.  Despite a stroke he 
suffered about a decade earlier he was still lively, warm and 
most personable. His dog stayed by his side most of the time.


Bill & Kirk Douglas 1986 #75 jpg.jpg



Kirk Douglas:Bill Beverly Hills 2007.jpg
Kirk Douglas        Bill Diehl



Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bob Raiford Up Date

Robert D. Raiford
I talked with Bob Raiford yesterday.....and he sounded almost like his old self!

Not quite, though, since his stroke a little over a year ago temporarily silenced one of Radio's greatest voices!


But he's BACK!  I immediately recognized the distinct voice that's been as much a part of Charlotte Radio (with a few interruptions)  as Red Eye Gravy is to grits! 


Even if he decides NOT to return to radio, Raiford, in my opinion,  will still be considered by historians who keep tract of such things as....THE KING OF THE CHARLOTTE RADIO HILL!


And what a hill that was!


Grady Cole, Ty Boyd, Doug Mays, Charles Crutchfield, Charles Kuralt....Alan Newcomb...etc, etc........... 


Don't be surprised if you happen to tune in your radio some morning and hear a familiar voice again and wonder, "Who said  that?"


...and the voice comes back, "I said that!....Robert D. Raiford."



-Ed


(Raiford was host of one of the early "trend setting" talk shows....of the 60's...when most stations were were  still "all music.")

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Eddie Colbert Passes

Highly respected WTOP-TV Director, Eddie Colbert, passed away last Friday. Colbert was one of the premier director-producers of the local shows of the 60's such as "Ranger Hal" and "Newsnight."

Colbert began his TV career in the WTOP-TV training program and served as a Director for almost 10 years. He later joined the National Security Agency.

His daughter Jazzlyn told me how Eddie loved to tell stories of his WTOP days and how proud he was of "starting at the bottom"....sweeping and picking up cigarette butts....and eventually becoming one of the premier directors of early local TV shows.


Displaying Screenshot_2016-10-10-02-39-34_resized_4.png

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Famous WTOP Radio and TV Quotations

From the 60’s:


By Lee Shephard


“I hear they’re letting you go!”

-John Hays (who made every decision ever implemented at the station, including where the ashtrays and trashcans were located.)

Oh, before you leave, be sure to turn in your keys.”
-Jay Cleaves, Building Engineer, to Jim Meyers shortly before Meyers learned of his pending departure.

That poor  (expletive deleted. Rhymes with click)”
-John Douglas

Save up for your hotdog stand, buddy.”
-Don Gaynor’s advice to all announcers.

From now on, only film the touchdowns.”
-Memo from news department to photographers in reply to complaint from management that too much expensive film was being used up on sports.

“You cannot air the old Pick Temple theme song because it mentions Giant Bread, and that’s a commercial. We don’t air free commercials on this station.”
-George Hartford’s reaction to the proposed Cadence documentary about  Channel 9’s original Kiddie Show host Pic Temple.

Wait until Catherine Graham learns about this, she won’t stand for it.”
-Most of the staff right after Larry Israel and his henchmen started dismantling the station, and BEFORE we realized the SHE was orchestrating it all.

Executive Promotions:

________________ has been promoted to AREA VICE PRESIDENT…..”

-Press release issued by Larry Israel about 2 months before each top executive was to be fired.

________________ has been chomping at the bit to explore other opportunities….”

-Press release issued by Larry Israel two months after each AREA VICE PRESIDENT promotion announcement..

Other famous L.I. quotes:

“Don’t bother to learn these old people’s names. They won’t be around long enough for it to matter.”
-Larry Israel’s advice to the new staffers.

“This is not going to be a retirement home.”
-Larry Israel in his first speech to the entire staff in studio 11 right after he arrived on the scene. Only the engineers proved him wrong.

More notable quotes

“That’s our 11 o’clock news for tonight, thanks for joining us.  Good night.”
-Martin Agronski opening the 11 o’clock news one night when the floor director forgot to rewind his teleprompter. (I was the announcer in the booth.-ls)

Come on guys, you’ve got to give the listeners more hints!”
-Memo from radio promotion to the DJs in response to the fact that too few listeners guessed the exact score of the previous weeks football contest.

I’m surrounded by idiots!”
-Sam Donaldson

“You guys who have music shows should pick ONLY songs that have “whistle-ability.”
-John Hays

“And now with the CBS news, here’s FALLS CHURCH.”
-Gregg Oliver introducing the early morning CBS radio news with correspondent WELLS CHURCH

“Don’t say DRUG FAIR, say DRUG STORE.”
-Gregg Oliver

“Frank Frack is back in the news this morning…….”
-Lee Shephard opening a “rip and read” early morning newscast and not realizing until too late that he had grabbed a local North Carolina summary instead of the National summary.

“Stay tuned for the Kenturkey Debbie.”
-Lee Shephard

The old timers tell me that Arthur Godfrey used to take great delight in saying,

“This is WTO  PEE on your dial.”

“Well, it’s Christmas morning, so instead of starting right off with phone calls, let’s hear a little music…”
-Bob Raiford’s last words on WTOP radio after he played a record on his show shortly after the new “all-talk” format of the station began. He was fired the next day.
-Merry Christmas

“That’s the news from ABC radio, this is Peter Rabbit reporting.”
-Martin Agronsky. As first told to Ted Miller by the producer who, as a joke, handed Agronsky the closing card with those words on it. The story was recently confirmed by Bob Sheiffer of CBS news in his latest book.


“I sure hope they don’t promote me to one of them Area Vice President jobs.”
-Stokes, mailroom clerk




More Executive Decisions of the (Larry Israel/Kay Graham) 60's":
By Steve King:


"Let's show 'Hawaii 5-0' at 11:30pm at night after the news...we'll use the prime time for something else."

           (That year "Hawaii 5-0" was the only hit for CBS and went on to be a TV classic -- WTOP chose not to run it in its regular time period.)


"Let's give away WTOP-FM to Howard University (now WHUR-FM) it's not a money-maker." –1969       It wasn’t. He did.

"Let's get rid of these people...after all, we're the smart ones from Westinghouse." (He did.)

           (News ratings dropped from their usual Number 1 position and took years to rebuild.)

 "Is it John Baker who alone is wrong, or is it all the other people he is complaining about?"

-Bob Reirson (WTOP-TV Program Director) to Steve King:




Final Home

Don Richard's final home will be in Arlington Cemetary.  Don rarely talked about it, but before his long and successful career in Television, he served in the US Navy.

His long time companian, Susan O'Kelly wanted me to let you know that he will be inturred at 10am Thursday October 20th at Arlington Cemetary. You are all invited.

Lee

Friday, July 08, 2016

Bob Raiford Suffers Stroke

One of WTOP Radio's early "talk show" hosts, Bob Raiford suffered a stroke that took his voice away;  a voice that was heard on radio stations since he was 18 years old.  He's now 88 and was still going strong on a major syndicated show out of Charlotte NC...until his stroke.

From  The Charlotte Observer

Concord, NC...... 
Robert D. Raiford – celebrated curmudgeon of Charlotte’s airwaves for decades – isn’t happy, not a bit, and he says he’s kept the reason why a secret long enough.
Robert D. Raiford
A stroke in August has cost the veteran broadcaster his mobility, all sensation on his right side and the source of his livelihood: his voice.
Through months of arduous rehabilitation, Raiford has regained the ability to walk haltingly with a cane and speak well enough to make himself understood to those who know him best.
But even at 88, Raiford feels he’s been cheated out of his life. He wasn’t ready to retire or give up his adventurous hobbies that include riding a Harley, piloting planes and parachuting into the blue.
“It was so sudden,” says Raiford. “One minute you can do anything and suddenly, Bam! It’s terribly, terribly sad. Just go ahead and put me in the ground.”
For nearly a year, his 12 co-workers at the “The Big Show” starring John Boy & Billy – on WRFX-FM (“Fox” 99.7) and syndicated to 60 stations from Nags Head to Artesia, N.M. – have deflected questions about Raiford’s absence. They’d tell callers he was on medical leave but getting better. Raiford’s a proud man and didn’t want people to know of his struggle.
But in May, he quietly retired. On Thursday morning, hosts John Isley and Billy James broke the news to listeners that Raiford was done. For now, at least.
“We’ve made it clear to him that there will always be a place for him on our show,” Isley said in a statement. “We look forward to announcing his ‘un-retirement’ soon.”

Prologue to stroke

About five months before his stroke, Raiford was recording one of his commentaries at WRFX-FM when his words got jumbled.
He stepped away from the microphone and walked around the office a few moments. He went back and finished the recording.
Doctors that afternoon decided he’d had a TIA – a transient ischemic attack, a brain flutter better known as a ministroke. It did no damage, and he was prescribed blood thinners.
About 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 23, he returned from the bathroom knowing he didn’t feel right. He woke up his wife. His speech was jumbled.
Within 30 minutes, he was in the hospital. Couldn’t talk, couldn’t stand. He’d suffered a stroke.

Glass half full

Raiford is a terrible patient. He knows it. He’s frustrated by his physicians. He’s cranky about his condition.
If you want to make him angrier, tell him he’s getting better, or that you know someone who did.
Kelia Raiford, 62, knows he’s getting better. He can walk some now; he can talk; he can feed himself.
“He’s the glass half-empty kind of guy, and I’m the glass half-full kind of gal,” she says.
“If it happened to someone less active, it might be less trouble. He’s always been so independent. Before this, I never had to do anything for him.”
She is Raiford’s fourth wife. She spotted him one night on a talk show he used to do on the old Channel 36 back in the 1980s.
“I saw him and thought, hmmmm, he’s interesting,” she says. “I wrote him a fan letter. He called me back before the ink was dry.”
They’ve been married 29 years. If you think that Raiford the curmudgeon would be intimidating, you should know it appears to be a marriage of equals.
She just wants to get my money, Raiford mutters, as he counts dollar bills in pantomime.
“And I’ve earned every cent of it, too, haven’t I?” she replies. “Haven’t I?”
Raiford laughs and nods.

Long career

Raiford’s first broadcast came as a baseball announcer for local games on WEGO-AM (980) in 1945 in his native Concord. He was 15 and had a voice for radio even then.
He worked at WTOP radio, then and now one of the nation’s premier news radio stations, in Washington, D.C., beside an up-and-comer named Walter Cronkite.
For the funeral of John F. Kennedy in 1963, the CBS radio network used him as one of the reporters narrating along the route. For 14 long minutes, Raiford held the national audience in the thrall of his voice as he described in crisp detail the somber scene before him.
“The coffin approaches, drawn by those seven white horses. People raise their cameras to take pictures; others stand on tiptoe to try to get a better view. … A child of 6 said, ‘He was nice. We went to church and prayed for him when we heard he’d been shot.’ Another man said, ‘He’s just a good Joe.’”
He’s been fired many times – once from WTOP for setting off a firecracker in the studios – but his most famous termination came in Charlotte on April 12, 1956. Singer Nat King Cole had been attacked in Birmingham, Ala.
Raiford had a night show on WBT-AM (1110). Talk of racial matters was strictly forbidden by station policy. Raiford didn’t care.
He condemned the racial violence. His boss called and told him to knock it off. He kept ranting.
His boss called back and fired him. Raiford played Cole’s song “For All We Know, We May Never Meet Again” that includes the lyrics, “We come and go, like the ripples on a stream.” Then Raiford signed off.

John Boy & Billy

Raiford’s wife wasn’t the only one who watched him on that Channel 36 talk show. So did John Boy and Billy. They made fun of the old man who sat on the stark set taking calls from viewers on a telephone like it was something from the 1950s.
They were developing their morning show for WRFX-FM. Someone suggested Raiford as their news reader.
“We thought, that’s just crazy enough to work,” says Isley. And it worked for 30 years.
In the early days, Raiford would report on stories from the wilder supermarket tabloids about Bat Boy and Lobster Man in his faux-serious voice. Later, he began writing commentaries just speaking his mind.
A social critic in the mold of Andy Rooney and H.L. Mencken, Raiford railed against what he thought were the outrages of the day and constantly savaged his eternal enemy: political correctness.
His partners had fun with his idiosyncrasies. Raiford was a fan of Harry Connick Jr., so once “The Big Show” sent him to St. Louis to cover one of his concerts.
They didn’t tell Raiford – who didn’t carry credit cards – that it was a one-way ticket.
An angry Raiford called collect, desperate to get home. “It was like ‘Survivor: Old Guy Edition,’ ” says James.
What most people don’t know about Raiford is that he was highly sensitive to others, says Randy Brazell, “The Big Show” executive producer and for decades the official apologist to listeners offended by Raiford.
“He’s one of the most compassionate people you’d ever want to know,” he says. “It was easy to make him cry.”

Finding the words

Raiford’s speech, once sonorous, has wilted. His cadence has returned, and his mind is still sharp, but his vocabulary is strewn in a lagoon of disorder.
He reaches for one word and utters another. He’s talking about doctors but calling them “gothics.”
His numbers don’t work at all. He’s trying to say his age. “Two-thirds,” he says, then blurts a correction, “a century.”
Oddly, he cusses as well as ever. Every curse word is clear as can be, right where it belongs in the salad of the sentence as verb, adjective or gerund, but the words around it take some patient study.
“All of a sudden, everything was gone,” he says, and says it clearly. “God, why did this ever happen to me?”
Don’t bother applying for his job. They’re holding it open.
Some people recover from these things, and Robert D. Raiford is making progress every day. His brain is carving new neural pathways for his words, and not only the bad ones.
Just don’t tell him that. It makes him angry. And then he speaks frankly and clearly, as he has done so well for so long.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Helen Shatley Passes

I just learned of the sad news that one of our much loved receptionists and switch board operators, Helen Shatley, passed away last week.



Shatley, Helen L.

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  • Shatley, Helen L.
CONCORD Mrs. Helen Lockemy Shatley, 93, of Sylvan Street, passed away Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at her home. Her funeral will be at 12 p.m. Friday, July 1, at Cold Water Baptist Church officiated by the Rev. Jim Posey. Burial will follow at Carolina Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at 11 a.m. Friday, at the church. Helen was born June 20, 1923 in Danville, Va., to the late Neal and Minnie Lockemy. She was a homemaker and member of Cold Water Baptist Church. She was truly "one of a kind." Helen was lively, outgoing and strong, even in her waning hours. She was known for her sense of style, love of people, pets and dancing. Her sense of humor will forever be a source of strength to her family. Helen is survived by her husband of 33 years, Bill Shatley; daughter, Kelia Raiford and husband, Robert of Concord; sons, Ken Puryear and Chris Puryear and wife, Laura, all of Wilmington; grandchildren, Tara Bradford, Todd Hodges and wife, Karen, Kurt Hodges and wife, Beth, Sara Puryear, Will Puryear, Mitch Puryear, and Alex Puryear; great-granddaughter, Katherine; and Bill's three daughters, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The family would like to give a special thanks to Helen's caregivers, Sarah, Amy, and Charlotte, for their loving care over the years. Memorials may be made to her church, Cold Water Baptist Church, 1045 Union St. S., Concord, NC 28025. On line condolences may be sent towww.wilkinsonfuneralhome.com. Wilkinson Funeral Home is serving the Shatley family.

Helen's daughter, Kelia, is married to long time syndicated 
radio personality, and former WTOP radio talk show host, 
Bob Raiford. 

Rest in Peace, Helen.

-Lee

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Searching

Vince Lombardi
A very nice lady named Helen Russell wth NFL films is looking for information about a show broadcast on Channel 9 on August 8th 1969 about Vince Lombardi.



If you have any idea if this film still exists, or you know where the producer Michael Landwehr happens to be, please contact Helen Rusell of NFL Films.

You can email her at    helenrr@gmail.com




Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mystery Solved

WTOPer Steve King is the winner!  He has solved the "Case of the Control Room Mystery"....from the 1967 Encyclopedia Britanica Film, "Getting the News,"

His winning entry is as following;


The newscast was NEWSDAY at 1pm with Sam Donaldson.
Control Room shot ...from right to left..."Willie"  _______next to him was the director, Mic Colgan.
Audio guy...far left...is Digger Chambers
And.......(drum roll) ...the guy to Mic's left, is the Assistant Director...23 year old........

Steve King!

The only thing still unresolved is "Willie's" last name.

THIS JUST IN

Paul Monti-Bovi writes:

Lee:  I’ve been looking at the video you posted on the WTOP website around the middle of May and I think the technician at the video switcher in the control room named as “Willie” is William “Bill” Brewer who I remember as a studio technician when I started there in 1967.  Bill retired from WTOP around 1971.  Maybe it’s not, but it does look like him in my recollection.  Everything’s good with us.  I hope you’re doing well.  Best regards, Paul

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Another "Out of the Past"

Chuck Langdon and I recorded another OUT OF THE PAST programs a few weeks ago with the "Long Lasting" Dave McConnell.  Dave has been with WTOP Radio for over 50 years!

Sam Donaldson 1966

Dave McConnell 1966
Anyway, while editing the show, I came accross a video that Dave and Sam Donaldson starred in for Encylopedia Brittanica back in 1966 I believe.  It was one of those films that were shown in schools all over the country back in those days.  Perhaps you even saw some of them when you were going to school.  Perhaps you remember those ERPI, I believe they were called....I've forgotten what that stood for, but I'm guessing that the E stood for Encyclopeda Britannica.
The film was an educational one that explained to young kids how radio and TV gathered and presented the news.

Anyway, here's the film.  See if you can identify anyone else in the film.....especially in the TV control room shot.

Enjoy.
Broadcast House Studio 11  1966

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It's a tough job, but.....

...somebody's got to do it.

And, who better than one of our own WTOP-TV graduates......Bill Diehl, ABC's Entertainment Corresondant!


                                                                                         
                                                                           

(ABC's Bill Diehl with "Hef" at his mansion in Holmby Hills, outside of LA, in 2000)
This may be just another routine Saturday for you, but for a man who could be
called a publisher, a playboy and a lot of other things, this is indeed a milestone
day!  'Hef is 90! ABC's Entertainment Correspondent, Bill Diehl, tells the story of a copywriter 
who took a 9-thousand dollar 'flyer' better than 60 years ago and truly made it
pay off with magazines, girls and more girls!
    
(to hear the piece place the following URL in your browser and click)

Monday, April 04, 2016

Standing Room Only Today

Before the Service
There was not enough  seating for the hundreds who came to pay their last respects to  Don Richards at the Omps Funeral Home in Front Royal, VA this morning. Don's children and friends crowded the Chapel in that mountain village saying goodbye to our dear friend Don Richards, who was probably the best ever...of the early TV announcers.

He brought that enormous talent to the local community of Front Royal during his retirement years, promoting local events and charities with "Old Radio" recreations and dinner theatre performacies.

The  "standng room only" crowd  mostly consisted of local residents, most of whom were unaware of Don's contribution to Washington, and yes, international Televison.  For almost 10 years, he was the number one local newscaster in the Nation's Capitol....where he was President Eisenhour's favorite newscaster.

In the early 60's Don became "the World's" most recognized TV personality....due to a series he did with the USIA called "Let's Learn English" which was broadcast in prime time in over 51 coiuntries.

My impression was that the locals only knew Don as a neighbor.....a very special one.

-Lee




A Word from the "Boss"

(Jim Silman was Program Director of WTOP-TV in the late 50's and 60's.)

Don was the consummate broadcaster with multiple skills. He succeeded in radio because of his classical radio voice. He succeeded in television by combining that voice with his exceedingly  good looks and camera presence. Few people may remember that his Channel Nine eleven o’clock newscast was number one in the Washington market for a long period of time. Good enough to attract President Eisenhower’s attention when he asked Press Secretary James Hagerty to have several of the area’s newscasters over for dinner, “especially that Richards fellow.”
He could handle a booth announcer’s job with the best. And, multiple skills? He probably sold more cars than any announcer or newspaper add in Washington. He wrote, produced and delivered attention-getting (using intense music) commercials for a Chevrolet dealership in the Washington area. Yes, he could be a powerful, dynamic salesman!
Personally, he was well liked and respected by all. His sense of humor and ability as a raconteur was well known, as was his fondness for old radio shows which he loved to reenact. Don was a friend. We’ll miss his welcoming manner… and charm We’ll miss his welcoming manner and charm. we’ll miss don. .

    Jim Silman program director  WTOP






Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Don Richard's Memorial Service

A memorial service to remember, honor and celebrate Don's life will be held at Omps South Chapel on Monday, April 4, 2016; visitation at 11 a.m. and service at 12 p.m., followed immediately by a reception at Omps South Chapel, 1260 Front Royal Pike, Winchester, Virginia 22602.

Don's ashes will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.



Remembering:


Susan O'Kelly and Don


Don and Bill Mayhugh

Don and Doris Fausey



And, just in case you haven't seen it yet, here is the OUT OF THE PAST show that Chuck Langdon and I did with Don in 2011.























Don Richards - Out of the Past - 2011 from Chuck Langdon on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Doris Fausey Passes


I regret to announce that our wonderful friend and "cheerleader" Doris Fausey died Sunday night, March 20, 2016.


I recieved this email from her husband Bob: 

From March 12, 2015, when she fell in our kitchen and fractured her pelvis, Doris has suffered pain.  Rhe xray at that time showed a small mass in her abdomen. In November 2015 she decided to let the doctors examine it.  MRI, CT scan, and biopsy.  On March 02 she was told she had liver cancer.  On March 16  she chose to enter hospice care.  On March 18 she was taken to a hospice house.  Doctors, nurses, and aides 24/7.  Dumb Bob thought  Now she will get better.  On Sunday, March 20, I watched her take her last breath.

She talked often about what she wanted when she died.  Her wish was to be cremated and she wished to not have a funeral or memorial service.  I intend to give her what she wished.


PLEASE do not send me flowers or cards or food.  I need nothing but Doris.  For the time being, please do not call;  it is hard work to keep from crying.  I will read any email sent to rfausey30@aol.com  .  I have heard that time heals all wounds.  I sure hope so.


Bob .   

The Doris I knew

By Lee Shephard

Doris Fausey
The last time I spoke with Doris was about two weeks ago. She told me about what the MRI was showing...and although I tried to put as positive a light on it as I could,  I knew she was probably right when she said, 
"I'm dying."

I didn't think it would happen so soon.

I always considered Doris the WTOP "Go to, girl."

If you really wanted to get something done.......you'd ask Doris to do it. 
And, magically, before you knew it........it was done.
  
But, there was no magic about it. It was accomplished by hard work.  And Doris didn't mind doing it.

I once joked that Doris could send out an invitation...such as the ones she sent out announcing our Thurmont Luncheons....that read like.....a dunning letter.

I first became aware of Doris' amazing ability to "get things done," when one of the WTOP switchboard operators was about to retire.  She was an elderly lady by the name of Alfa Good.  (That was her real name...no kidding.) Now, I'm not as sure about the "elderly" part....because Doris and I were in our 30's at the time....so, elderly to us may have been 50 years old.

Nevertheless, Alfa was a single lady..never been married...never made much money....and whatever her circumstances...Doris and I were convinced that a small "going away" gift would be appreciated.

So, we decided to take up a collection for a "going away gift" from "The Staff"....for Alfa.

I figured we'd collect about $25.  After all, we didn't have much time.  As I recall, Alfa was leaving the next day.  Besides, 25 dollars.... back in those days was.....25 dollars!

Well, Lo and Behold, I met with Doris the next morning....and she handed me an envelope to give to Alfa....containing over $200.

Rest in peace, my friend.

-Lee

Bob Fausey (L)   Doris (next to last)

How sad...losing these two special WTOP friends of ours....so close together....only a few weeks separated their deaths.

Don Richards and Doris Fausey