The Next Day
It didn't feel like 24 hours, but there we all were in Harvit's office at 5 PM the next day. We had no great expation other than a appeal would again be filed. About 5:15 the phone rang. We could hear Janet (Evans) answer the phone. She came to the door and said "It's Mr. Midland for you Mr. Harvit!".The old "key" phone system let him have a speaker system but it rarely worked. So after the initial greetings, he began to repeat what Midland said. Midland: "As of....5:15 PM today....there has been....no further appeals filed against the case. A construction permit should be issued soon!".
The room "exploded"!!
By the time we all had calmed down Harvit was off the phone. He looked at us and said, "Are we ready?". Sales Manager Tennis Hatfield said, "Sure we are!". Then Harvit turned to me and said. "Well Chief, just don't buy anything until I approve it!". We all laughed for we knew it would be a lone while before we would buy anything.
I went home to tell the new wife of the good news. After it's not every 26 year old that gets to buil a radio station! I thought she would be happy for me/us. That was not the case. She hated mt devotion to radio and always being "at work" and the idea of me having more to do. I would learn years later that this was the moment of the beginning of the end for us.
There was so much to be done! First, I wanted to see the site. Although it was overlooking town, there was no easy way to get there. One sunny day, the wife and I hiked up there. At the top and on the adjoining ridge was a briar thicket and a few scattered older trees. Along the ridge were a multitude of CB antenna! I didn't want to go back thru the briars, so we went down to the next flat. I then had the great idea to carve out initials into a tree. Never could find that tree again. The next day I reported Back to Harvit. He wanted to go there too, but of course he couldn't. So he rented the a local chopper that was giving rides at Magic Mart for us all to see. That was a first for me, although I had been up in out News Directors plane but this was different. I hadn't expected the "elevator effect" going up! Secretary Brenda did get sick from it. Harvit's only comment was, "it's not a rock cliff, but it's close!".
The first thing we needed was a road up there. It just so happened that one of the staff had a Civil Engineer in the family. We hired him to survey a road that we could get a long truck up out to the site. We knew then it would be the spring of 1977 before the actual work could begin. That done, we turnned to other issues.
Would it be Rock or Country? Live or Automated? Mono or Stereo? It was quickly decided the station would be Country! We just needed some catchy call letters and a slogan. Live? Well Harvit said he wanted "quality" he didn't believe he could get locally. I was told to design for Automated and Live! Stereo? NO!! MONO!! Harvit's stand was that another nearby station was mono and got out very well. Stereo could loose any "fringe" listeners. And "why pay twice the money if you didn't have too?" I was greatly upset by this. A new FM station and in mono! What could I do to change his mind? He had bought a new stereo receiver and just had to show it to me. You're gonna think I'm nuts but, that night I dreamed about that damn thing! It had a search button and a mono/stereo switch. A search button and a mono/stereo switch! That's it! When he came in the next morning, I asked him to do a little experiment. I told him to push search with the mono switch on and not how many stations it stopped at. Then, do the same thing with the thing in stereo. He was puzzled, but said he would.
The next morning he came straight to me. Half smiling he said, "You damn smart ass! You knew what I'd find. Make it STEREO!".
What was the "trick"? With the mono switch in, the search would stop at every station. When in stereo, it only stopped at stereo stations and skipped only the nearby mono station!
In the early spring of 1977, surveyor's stakes began to appear on the mountain. And the wife was pregnant with our first child. Little did I know the the collision of these two thing would soon change our lives. On April 4, 1977 our Williamson world, as we knew it, ended.
The Tug Valley flood disaster halted all work and planning on the new station. Would we still build it?
I suggest you now read the companion story, "every Time It Rains". The story of what we did at little WBTH-AM durring the 1977 flood disaster.