Friday, October 26, 2007

My Phantom Radio Show

No, I'm not a huge fan of "Coast to Coast AM," but I'll give Art Bell, George Noory and Co. credit for initiation and survival of its format. How great it must be when a program director or broadcast station manager looks ahead and realizes the potential of that occasional strange idea that graces his or her office.

I wanted to host a regular radio show about UFOs and other enigmas as far back as the sixties, when I was a teenage guest on some programs. In fact, my final project for a broadcasting course at Syracuse University a few months before entering the Air Force in 1968 was a contrived radio program incorporating real UFO incidents of that era (another "gem" from my life saved for all time in Wendy Connors' Faded Discs archive).

After the military years, I continued to harbor a dream of hosting a program, and representatives of several membership organizations kindly offered to help with letters and in other ways, as shown here.

The International Fortean Organization (another group concerned with weird events, apparently still going strong and accessible via the Web) letter brings back memories. There seemed a dreadful lot of in-fighting at INFO way back, as new names and faces entered the administrative scene following the (fondly remembered) leadership era of brothers Ron and Paul Willis, with more internal discontent than a dumpster fight attended by starving cats. I hope the situation eventually changed back to normally abnormal. Years ago, I took on the responsibility of becoming The INFO Journal's audiovisuals editor, and that lasted for precisely one issue, where my name and new title appeared, but I never had the opportunity to contribute a single thing during my "tenure" and was soon replaced and my name dropped!

From experience, all of the letter writers displayed here recognized the popularity of UFO-related broadcasts. Unfortunately, even though I continued to guest on both radio and TV programs to discuss UFOs in the seventies, resulting in a demonstrably positive audience response, I never could interest local or regional broadcast officials in producing a regular series.

One station's general manager whom I saw by appointment in the seventies allowed me about two minutes of his valuable time before almost throwing me out of his office, albeit in a kind manner. He just didn't want to hear any nonsense about a program revolving around UFOs and other mysteries of The Strange And Unknown. I guess he was right. How could such a program ever last for more than a few days? Outrageous. Unthinkable. Impossible. Frank Edwards. Long John Nebel. Bell. Noory. Etc. Etc.