National Radio Club, Lima Ohio 2002

by John R. Malicky

The National Radio Club and the DX Audio Service has returned to Lima! Why? Because there was nothing final!

Following NRC 2000, we returned to the seat of Allen County, Ohio. Lima was named, in word though phonetically different, after Lima, Peru, the source of “quinine bark” used for the treatment of “swamp fever” or malaria in pioneer days. However, the only fever this Labor Day weekend was a pleasurable “high” provided by WNRC 1710 and 100.1 FM, and on the World Wide Web, smiles, kisses (Hershey kisses that is), food and beverages, WIMA-1150 tours, the expanded continental breakfast, luxurious suites and sweets, the National Radio Club banquet at the “Old Barn Out Back”, the National Radio Club auction and quiz, the DX Audio Service Travellog, and most important, seeing our good friends again. Just another fun convention made possible by the host and DX Audio Service editor Fred Vobbe and capable assistant Phil Wayne, the “Lone Ranger and Tonto” live, “Hi Ho Silver”!

Also assisting, as they do each year, were John and Linda Bowker of the Bowker Travel Agency! They provided helpful experience registering guests and tallying financial totals at the National Radio Club’s auction. Also helping were Debbie Vobbe, sponsoring a ladies day out, and son Jonathan Vobbe, whose exuberance was shown throughout the weekend. In other words, he was enjoying himself and so did we! Thanks to everyone from the National Radio Club!

Over the past three days beginning Thursday, August 29th, 48 members and guests registered at Lima’s Hampton’s Inn, the same hotel from two years ago. The Hampton, on the east side of town, is located at 1933 Roschmann Avenue near the junction of I-75 and State Routes 309 an 117. The regular and familiar faces and voices were here all along with two new attendees, one a longtime member from 24 conventions past, somebody named “El Kabong” on the WNRC, and even Krazy Ken, too!

The two new faces were John Adams of Seaside, Oregon, and Frank Styron of Cary, North Carolina. Making his first appearance since the 1978 Atlanta Convention was the National Radio Club’s Latin America connection, Cesar Objio of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. With Don Trelford of Runaway Bay Jamaica, the two gentlemen represented our international guests. We were also glad to see the National Radio Club’s publication manager and longtime member, Ken Chatterton of Mannsville, New York.

Along with taking part in the N.R.C.’s business meeting, Ken was taking orders for the 2002/2003 National Radio Club AM Log that was due out Sept. 10. We’ll get to “El Kabong” shortly but for now, thanks for coming, in Pittsburghese, “yunz guys”!

During today and throughout the first full day of Friday, August 30, members were at their best listening and playing the hits on “The Convention Station, WNRC”. The station was built by Fred and Phil and housed in Room 104, the National Radio Club’s hospitality room in the Hampton Inn. The talent included Dave Marthouse and Larry Stoller, or “Larry Steele”, a dynamic duo as good as any team on radio anywhere! Along with the “Dave and Larry Show” on WNRC were Mike Lantz playing “the blasts from the past” and Chad Stevens, a k a Chris Cuomo. Now residing in Birmingham, Alabama, Chris was here with his wife Stephanie! Finally, convention radio was in high gear Friday night when that “D. J. In P.J.” and “King of Swing”, El Kabong, a k a Clarke Ingram, drove us crazy spinning the hits on the WNRC. It was a real treat to hear El Kabong, or Clark at his zaniest and best! Clark’s over 20-year resume included successful stints at B94 in Pittsburgh, KZZP in Phoenix, 98PXY in Rochester New York, KRQQ in Tucson Arizona, Z-One-hundred in New York, and WEGX in Philadelphia. Along with the delicious Friday picnic dinner of Kewpee Hamburgers, fries, and shakes rattle and roll, plus listening to WNRC, life could have gotten any better!, Kabong! Even QSLs were provided for National Radio Club members by of our host with the most. WNRC even had weather updates from Lima’s TV 35 meteorologist!

Now some interesting facts about convention radio WNRC-1710 a.m. WNRC broadcast using a 30 watt LPB Carrier Current transmitter and a single 25-foot guide tower just outside the hotel. The FM at 100.1 transmitted at 50 milliwatts, or roughly one tenth of a watt, into a circular polarized antenna in the hospitality room. Our host also built a system playing the music, which consisted of a computer running “ WireReady32″ for playback of all audio material. The board was a Mackie VLZ-Pro1202 with two vintage Shure model 55 microphones used by the “talent” on WNRC. When there were no “live” personalities, the station ran entertainment provided by Dallas” WFAA TV 8 and NRC member Wally “Weekend Wally” Wawro! The webcast for the convention was beamed out of the Hampton Inn on an RPU frequency of 450.925 MHz to Lima’s WLIO TV 35, where Fred Vobbe is Vice President and Chief Engineer. From there it was relayed via 26.410 MHz to 706 Mackenzie Drive(Fred’s home) where it was put onto the web server for everyone to hear. Logs from the web server indicated over 2,000 connections throughout the weekend as people listened to the station.

In addition, WNRC sported new jingles that were graciously donated by Dave Graupner , CEO of TM/Century of Dallas, TX. TM/Century provides jingles for many stations all over the U.S. Anyway, the new package replaced jingles purchased in 1988 for WNRC. Dave also donated a package of jingles for the DX Audio Service! Would it be possible to make Dave an “honorary” member of the NRC and DXAS for a year?! With Fred’s effort going to Dallas at the end of July, 2002 to work on the new jingles with Wally and Dave, “Convention Radio” never sounded better! Thanks Fred, Phil, Wally, and Dave for a first class operation! Long live WNRC!

A most interesting and second day began Saturday morning, August 31, with “Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the Hampton with the NRC Editors at various points in time!” Like a run-on sentence or freight train, most members soon steamed into action listening to WNRC, exchanging pleasantries and whistles, or talkin’ baseball and DX! Just like yesterday, we all came to an agreement! With Fred securing permission, at noon several members visited Clear Channel Lima at 667 West Market Street downtown. Having toured the 4 stations two years ago, we found an additional station here. The 5 station group now is sports and “Newsradio 1150-WIMA”, “Buckeye Country T-102”, WIMT-102.1, adult contemporary WMLX “Mix 103.3”, and two stations having recently switched frequencies, “The Big Buck” oldies WBUK now at 106.3, and the new statiqn, WZRX-107.5 “X 107.5” playing new rock. The group will soon add another new station at 93.9, licensed to Columbus Grove, Ohio. Since two years ago, it has been addition by subtraction with the stations adding WZRX, and the ABN (Agriculture Broadcast Network) in February, 2002 while losing a longtime 5-minute daily sermon on WIMA by the Rev. Ronald Cannon. Along with their 3 stations in Findlay, Ohio, the 8-station group is overseen by CE Mark Gierhart. Unable to be here today, Mark’s replacement for our tours was a very DXer-friendly WIMA PD Dave Woodward who passed along most of this information; thanks, Dave! Not passing out at our sight, but welcoming us also, was ABN Farm Director Gary Jackson. A small poster of the ABN Network lists 56 stations in Ohio and 2 in West Virginia that Gary oversees. The network is based here in Lima and provides daily farm news updates to the 58 stations.

Our warm Saturday late afternoon and evening was fantastic, fulfilling (literally!), and photogenic! At 5 PM promptly, all members assembled in front of the Hampton Inn for several group photos and drills! Very soon we organized again, but did NOT board an air-conditioned Greyhound motor coach for the trip across town! Instead we carpooled for a short trip to Lima’s west side at West Elm Street. Here in the “Pig Pen”, we had a very fine NRC Banquet in “The Old Barn Out Back”, a very reasonable and popular “country style” restaurant.”” Like the call letters of WNRC, their motto was, “We never really care how much or little you eat as long as you can walk out the front door so we don’t have to carry you!!”

Returning to the Hampton at 7:30 PM, Fred, Ken, and DX News publisher Paul Swearingen conducted the NRC Business Meeting. However, before the meeting began, Fred led our group in tribute with one minute of silence to honor longtime member and friend, Ernest Cooper, who passed away April 28, 2002. Over 60 years as member and 36 years as Musings Editor, Ernie is gone, but his spirit and enthusiasm for radio and helping other members will always be remembered.

Next, a series of topics were presented. First, the club is in good financial shape with a $5,000-plus balance in our treasury; second, membership is holding steady at 690 for the NRC and 150 for DXAS; third, the special mention and thank you to Dave Graupner of TM/Century for donating the jingle package to WNRC, and fourth, that Ken was taking orders for the new NRC AM Log Book, as members can now pay by credit card, plus any other club venues, through a website that is a secure payment server by PayPal. Two highlights included awarding Brenda and Bill Swiger a plaque to honor their fine work handling NRC Reprints during the past year! Also, by order of the mayor of Lima, Fred read a proclamation to honor the NRC/DXAS as today, “Saturday, August 31st, 2002 as NRC Day in Lima!” The mayor has my vote in the next election!

And finally pardners”, git up on your horse with your ten-gallon hat and spurs and ride on down to Big D”, Dallas, Texas! That’s right, the NRC will be in Dallas in 2003! “It’s the NRC in Big D in “03!!” And while we’re at it, the NRC will return to the northeast U. S. in 2004 to Rochester, New York, “the NRC in New York (state) in “04!” Securing the bid for Dallas was one of the three hosts, 36-year-member and good friend, John Callarman! He’ll be assisted by DDXD-West Editor Bill Hale and Wally Wawro. John’s background in radio included 11 years as News Director at WMIX-940 from 1970-1981. His service to the club was that of Executive Secretary from April 1967 to August, 1968 and briefly in September, 1959, IDXD Editor from 1964-1966, and the typist for the very first NRC AM Logbook in 1968 put out by the Boston Publishing Committee! Best of success celebrating the NRC’s 70th anniversary by the Big 3 in “03!

Interesting to note that John mentioned Irving, TX being the site smack in the middle where I-35 splits with I-35W (west) passing through Ft. Worth while I-35E east passes through Dallas. Adding the two 35”s together and you get the 70th NRC anniversary site!

After a short break, the NRC Auction commenced around 8:20 PM. Bidding was fierce on a GE Superadio II going at $60 and a 1950 Broadcast Yearbook topping off at $55. Otherwise, a various assortment of radios, shirts, caps, cups, shirts, and CRAP were auctioned off! A warning was issued that no dial frequencies be yelled out, otherwise an additional $1 was added to that bid!

The final tally was a surprising $494.00, and we were done before 10 PM! The rest of the night saw WNRC in tune again, a DX session outside the Hampton Inn parking lot, and bargaining over unwanted auction items which included a pair of extra large plaid shorts! If Bruce Conti was here, they would be great for a summer DXpedition at the shore!

Another beautiful morning and a new month, Sunday, September 1, 2002 kicked off the third day of NRC “02. First, it was “Guess Who’s Coming to Breakfast with the NRC Editors?!” Then at 10 AM, John Bowker and Fred Vobbe recorded another DXAS Travellog for October on WNRC! John’s entertaining style completed IDs on 740 kilohertz. The ad for John’s travel agency was just as entertaining, contact Fred for details!

Next, the hospitality room was divided into two groups to play NRC Trivial Pursuit. The game was a verbal quiz on the calls, frequencies, and locations of AM stations in Ohio. Then at 11 AM, the favorite part of the convention was here, the NRC Quiz! The quiz was a 40-question multiple-choice test of the past DX year and some history of radio. Two prizes were-awarded, either a one year free membership in the NRC or DXAS. And the winners in a tie with 27 correct were George Greene and Frank Merrill! A Kewpee hamburger was flipped to determine who got which prize! In third place with 24 correct was John Adams, and he won the plaid pair of shorts! Look for those to be an auction item in 2003! “El Kabong” would have probably won, but he was kabonked, zzz!

The rest of the day on Sunday saw some members depart while others hung out at a department store in Lima. A few even conducted their own trivial pursuits in the hospitality room, in and around Lima, and Ohio! At 3 PM, WNRC, like all good things must come to and end, signed off the air but will hopefully return to Dallas in 2003. The station signed off early so that the equipment and tower could be dismantled while there was still daylight!

Finally, as the convention began to wind down Sunday night, there was one more highlight to end NRC Lima 2002! Nearing midnight, Monday, September 2, 2002, several members tuned into “The Spirit of New England” 1030-WBZ Boston. Covering 38 states and several provinces in Canada, we heard the Steve Livelli Show. On Steve’s show this morning, his guest was the voice of the NRC, Scott Fybush, to talk about radio! As writer, consultant, and historian, Scott’s various topics included his business, “Northeast Radio Watch”, his website at, satellite radio, DXing, and the state of radio in general. It helped that Mr. Livelli was a big fan of Scott’s career and the hobby. About ten years ago, Scott was a writer and producer for WBZ-1030 and even led some of us on a great tour of the station’s transmitter site at Hull, Massachusetts during NRC Nashua 1994! Anyway, at 12:40 AM, the second caller from here in Lima was our own Dave Marthouse! Publicizing the convention and Dave’s ownership of WODI-1230, listeners heard Scott give Dave glowing tributes (like old vacuum tubes!) about the NRC/DXAS and WODI! Later, while some members retired, I became more active, called, and finally got through well past 4 AM as the last caller as it turned out to congratulate Steve and Scott on a great show! Likewise, it’s the end of our convention report as we congratulate Fred, Phil, Debbie, and everyone for a great show here at NRC Lima 2002! A final note to Clarence Cordrey to stay well!

So, stay tuned and be well to all as Lima 2002 is through! Hope to see y’all at NRC Dallas 2003, the club’s 70th anniversary, when it’s the, “Big D in “03!!”

The attendees

John Adams, Jerry Bond, Linda and John Bowker, John Callarman, Ken Chatterton, Clarence Cordrey, Stephanie and Chris Cuomo, Dorothy and Ben Dangerfield, Rick Dau, Mike Dunn, George Greene, Clarke Ingram, DavidJones, Mike Lantz and Lexie, John Malicky, Dave Marthouse, Frank Merrill, Alan Merriman, Cesar Objio, Wayne Ryan, Bob Smolarek, Bonnie and Jerry Starr, Larry Stoler, Frank Styron, Paul Swearingen, Brenda and Bill Swiger, Don Trelford, Debbie, Jonathan, and Fred Vobbe, Phil Wayne, Ernie Wesolowski, Dave Whatmough, and Curt White.

Thanks, Fred and Phil, for making my 20th NRC Convention possible.