Jim was moved to nights, and that's where we worked together quite often. I'd stop at a mini mart to grab a giant coffee for him on my way to work, and it would make his night. And then there were those evenings when we would be on the air after some horrendous college basketball games. We wondered if we had any audience at all after that dismal lead-in. We did. It was simple. People liked Jim.
If memory serves, Jim was an Army veteran who worked for the phone company. In those days, a phone company job was the gravy train with biscuit wheels. He gave up a good job to follow his dream and work in radio. I'm sorry if I have the chronology wrong, but I think there was a job in Levittown, some New Jersey stops, and then WBAX in Edwardsville, where he used the name Dale Denver. It was then on to WARM as Jim Gannon.
The 80's were a rough time at WARM. We had a succession of managers with a succession of philosophies. Each was worse than the one that preceded it. It was a mess and I am being kind. Jim spent some time in morning drive, as the sidekick for a morning man, Harry West, who did best as a solo act. It was then back to nights. Jim and WARM eventually went their separate ways. That, dear readers, was simply a sad day. Like a lot of people who came through Avoca, Jim deserved better. A lot better.
Jim and I kept in touch for a little while after the departure. I would make copies of the want ads in "Radio & Records" and drop them off at Jim's house, sometimes in person, sometimes, I would leave them in the mail box out front. I was happy to help a friend, even though it really wasn't much.
Jim eventually found other radio work, and he bounced around quite a bit. That is no reflection on Jim. It was a time of great upheaval in local radio. Ownership and formats seemed to change on a daily basis. It was always a treat when I would spin the dial and come across Jim's voice.
I am very sorry to say we lost touch in recent years. I remember the last time I saw him. By then, I was at WNEP. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was driving down Wyoming Avenue after an assignment. I think it might have been Gov. Casey's funeral. Be that as it may, Jim was walking out of a downtown office building. I waved. Today, I am kicking myself for not stopping. You know how the TV business is. We are always in a hurry. I'm sorry I was too rushed to stop for a friend. Yes, it's a poor excuse.
Jim died last week. According to the newspaper obituary, there will be no viewing and no service. That's Jim. He was always a low key guy. I'd like to offer my sympathy to Jim's wife, Carol.
Before I hit "enter" for the day, it's a trip down memory lane. Below are a couple of pages from a mailer WARM put out in the early 80's. Take a look at the talent I had the privilege of working with.
I was lucky to work with those people. I was lucky to work with Jim. He will be missed.