1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


My Life in Radio
Herman King 08

I belatedly read John McCurdy's article WHY I WRITE. Whatever the reason I am glad for John is a natural story teller, a rare gift.  I enjoy his articles although we occasionally disagree (about what I am not sure). I wrote in my younger days because I aspired to be a professional writer. My ambition fizzled because I did not possess (in James Thurber's words) that bulldog tenacity that refuses to know when its licked. I had a few minor things published, even made a few bucks, but nothing major.  I make no excuses. I just didn't have the necessary consistency and dedication.  This despite encouragement from some editors and publishers.  

Fast forward to the present. I now write as a mental exercise. My greatest fear of aging is not death but of losing my memory. My legs are giving out but hopefully not my mind.  If memory loss is hereditary,. I appear to be safe since neither my parents or grandparents developed Alzheimers. Still, every time I forget a name, alarm bells go off.  

The main point of this article is how I got into radio.  I was working at the General Lewis Hotel in Lewisburg as night clerk. I was taking a course on the side in hotel management.  My salary was small, my hours long. I became very fatigued but began looking around for a part-time job on top of my full-time job. I thought the extra money would make my life more enjoyable, forgetting about the additional taxes I would have to pay and sleep I would miss. I kept my radio on WRON and kept hearing the voice of Red Mullins (or is it Mullens)? almost all day. I thought: gee, they need some help out there. So I visited the Fairlea studio and Red gave me an audition. He hired me on the spot. (He probably would have hired anyone who  could speak the English language, a requirement that wouldn't be necessary today).  But the pay was great. ONE DOLLAR an hour. Radio was under the rules of interstate commerce, hotels weren't at the time. But I was working 116 hours a week and started walking like a drunk (though I didn't even drink the nearly alcohol-free West Virginia beer. (What was it, 2.3 or so )When I went over the state line into Covington and had some real beer, it nearly knocked me for a loop.  

I spent a half century in radio. I didn't prosper financially but it has been a heckofa ride. I could write extensively of the experience that befell me, and probably will if anyone wants to read about them.