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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Monday, July 30 2001

Radio days one more time

Though I decline to join the discussion David Caldwell proposed on Sunday, I did greatly appreciate his Saturday email on radio's heydays, especially KDKA's most famous morning show, Cordic and Company. Actually, by then (Cordic joined KDKA in 1954 and left in '66) I think radio had passed beyond its heydays. But though the medium has never gone away or even been much reduced in commercial success, it is miniscule now in social power as another measure of success. Like David, I remember my dad waking me and Gary for school by turning on Cordic's silly comedy show.

The name Rege Cordic always brings to my mind his most notable acheivement, the introduction of "Olde Frothingslosh, the stale pale ale with the foam on the bottom." If I remember it correctly, the "product" began as a bogus commercial on his comedy show and was later turned into a real beer by one of Pittsburgh's breweries, and it was marketed, again if my holey memory serves, as a Christmas-New Year's specialty item. I believe the original commercials claimed it could be made only at that time of year because of some secret or weather-related process. The label was pasted on the bottles upside down to support the claim that the foam was on the bottom.

I also recalled that Rege Cordic left Pittsburgh to pursue a movie career in Hollywood. And I thought that I'd seen his name in the credits of several movies over the years. Both of these "recollections" are affirmed in his obituary from the Post-Gazette website, though he worked more in Southern California in radio and as a background announcer in commercials and documentary film than in acting. Still, he did appear in a spate of TV shows and some movies, including Woody Allen's Sleeper.

I've mentioned on several occasions that after brother Gary started listening to rock 'n' roll music, WCRO was on at our house every day. Before that, however, KDKA ruled. And after Dad left the house for his daily work, Mom would switch to WAVL, Apollo...has anyone else ever heard it? A program I first heard on it changed the direction of my life at a critical juncture...but that's another topic.

Turning away from local radio to network broadcasts for my final point (unless others pull my chain again), I also fondly recall The Breakfast Club hosted, from Chicago, by Don McNeill. I remember almost nothing about it but the fact that, near the beginning McNeill always said, regardless of the weather, "it's a be-yuti-ful day in Chicago." And I don't remember ever hearing this show on the radio in our house, but rather across the road at the Thompsons', where Mrs. Thompson regularly listened to it.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

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