Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘WILE’

Laura Bates – A Lifetime of Community Involvement

Behind every success is effort.

Behind every effort is passion.

Behind every passion is someone with the courage to try.

Laura Salt Fork picture

Laura was a member of the Salt Fork Festival board and treasures this painting of her old family church in Noble County painted by a festival artist, Jim Secrest.

   Courage to promote local attractions is something Laura Bates still has a passion for after many years of community involvement. There’s no way to describe all her contributions in one short article, but here are a few highlights.

Laura and brothers

Brothers Eugene and Robert Williams sat with Laura on their farmhouse steps.

   Although Laura isn’t likely to tell her age, she will say that she was born on the day they repealed prohibition. Laura Williams grew up in the New Concord area and graduated from New Concord High School.

Laura and Andy 50th 001

Andy and Laura celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2012.

   While in high school, Laura worked part-time at Ohio Valley Dairy, where she met her husband, Andy Bates. Although she went to Columbus and worked for a couple years, it didn’t take her long to return to New Concord, get married and raise a family of three sons.

   While raising her family, Laura worked part-time at WILE writing continuity, scripts for advertising, and was the first woman to have a weekly community show from New Concord, Byesville and Caldwell.

   One interesting project at the radio station involved Betty Crocker coupons, which gave great rewards. The station collected 700,000 coupons with which they were given a dialysis machine. It was donated to Riverside Hospital in Columbus, their first dialysis machine ever, in memory of Betty Lou Showman, a Bloomfield lady who had needed a kidney transplant.

Laura Tomahawk

Laura helped with the Bicentennial of Guernsey County when Boyd Glass created a commemorative tomahawk.

   For nearly ten years, Laura worked with the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. She served on their board, wrote publicity for the festival and was in charge of the Performing Arts. She served as president of the board at a time when there were 225 exhibitors.

  Church has always been an important part of her life. Bloomfield United Presbyterian Church considers itself fortunate to have Laura as an active member there. As a cancer survivor, Laura feels she is indeed blessed, “There are no crumbs at God’s table. He uses everything.” She feels God has a use for each of us.

Laura Daffodil Luncheon model 001

Modeling at the Daffodil Luncheon was pure enjoyment for Laura.

   Working with local Channel 2 TV, Laura was host of a popular “Two About Town” show – every day for fifteen years. Here she talked to many local organizations about their promotions and activities. She was a natural as everyone knows that Laura enjoys talking, but more importantly, she’s a great listener.

Laura on stage

Laura organized the Hopalong Cassidy Festival and usually emceed the event.

   The most recent avenue for involvement has been with Hopalong Cassidy. Laura worked at the local radio/television station and was conducting an interview with a lady, who remarked, “I can’t believe your town hasn’t done something special with your Hopalong Cassidy heritage.”

Laura tries on Hoppy's boots 001

Visiting Boyd’s home in California, Laura tried on Hoppy’s boots.

   Bill Boyd, later known as Hopalong Cassidy, was born in 1895 at Hendrysburg and later moved to Cambridge, where he attended Park School and Second United Presbyterian Church. His dream even then was to be a cowboy in the movies. Before long, Bill left for Hollywood, and the rest is history.

   After the interview, Laura thought about this, and realized there were many people still interested in Hopalong Cassidy. That’s when she came up with the idea for a Hopalong Cassidy Festival, which was held each May for 47 years.

Laura and Grace 001

Laura and Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, became good friends.

   Not only did Laura direct the Festival, but she began her own collection of Hopalong Cassidy memorabilia and had the recent Hopalong Cassidy Museum in Cambridge. Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, became one of Laura’s closest friends.

Laura and Don McLean 001

Dan McLean, singer-songwriter, wrote the introduction to “Hopalong Cassidy an American Legend”. Laura attended one of his concerts to give him a Hoppy watch.

   In 1984, Laura was named the Jeffersonian Person of the Year and later given the Sidlo Award by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. These were given because of her excellence in vision, leadership and legacy to promote the community.

Hoppy with Laura and Alan

This Hopalong Cassidy statue was dedicated at the Senior Center with Laura and Alan Cottrill, sculptor, present.

   When the festival came to an end, Laura still wanted Hopalong to be remembered in the area, so she began a drive to raise funds for a bronze statue of Hopalong Cassidy to be created by Alan Cottrill, an international sculptor. Today that statue can be found at our Senior Center.

   No wonder Hopalong Cassidy’s faithful buckaroos say, “Laura is the best friend Hoppy ever had.” Hoppy fans all over the world know this lady and keep a strong connection by visits, cards and gifts.

   Traveling is something she has enjoyed throughout her life with trips to Scotland, England, Ireland, Mexico and nearly all the states. Andy and Laura even renewed their wedding vows on a cruise in the Caribbean. A short trip she’d still like to take is one to see the Ark Encounter in Kentucky.

Laura Hopalong Cassidy Book

Laura treasures this Hopalong Cassidy book with its unique cover. Someday she plans to finish her own book about the cowboy legend, Hopalong Cassidy.

   Laura mentioned a couple of other things she’d like to do. Jokingly, she says she’d like to have her house cleaned up, but she has so many other things to do that are more enjoyable. Most important, she has started a book about Hopalong Cassidy and his local connection and plans to spend more time getting it organized.

Laura Family

Family is most important to Laura with three sons, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

   Most important of all is Family. Her feelings for her family were expressed by saying, “My family moments are more important to me than anything I have ever done. Our 50th wedding anniversary when everyone was here was a very special day.”

   While Laura lives life to the fullest and continues to promote her community, now we’ll have to keep on the lookout for Laura’s book about Hoppy. In the meantime, have a Hoppy Day!

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WILE: The Early Days of Cambridge, Ohio Radio

WILE Beatty Ave

WILE moved into this beautiful old home on Beatty Avenue in 1948.

You’re listening to WILE, 1270 on your radio dial.

Thus a radio station began broadcasting in the hills of southeastern Ohio in Cambridge on April 9, 1948 after playing “Beautiful Ohio” as their sign-on song. Located at 917  Beatty Avenue in the old Orme home, this daytime-only radio station operated on 1000 watts.

Enthusiastic young locals began working at the station in various capacities. Several young ladies were continuity writers, who wrote those much needed commercials, while young men became announcers.  They also had to keep things on schedule. Since everything was live at this time, that often became a difficult task.

WILE Sesqui - Square Studio

WILE placed a temporary station on the courthouse lawn to get people interested in their new venture.

WILE Donahoe - Sesqui Court

Howard Donahoe, founder, managing director, and co-owner, appears at the Sesquicentennial Court facing penalties for not having a beard.

1948 provided big excitement in downtown Cambridge as it celebrated the Sesquicentennial of Guernsey County. In order that area residents could learn more about this new radio station, WILE placed a temporary studio on the courthouse square for broadcasting. This perhaps began their popular remotes.

WILE Musical Farmers

“Dallas Bond and the Musical Farmers” had a regular Saturday program.

Early programs featured locals in everything from music to ministry. Groups came to the station for live performances. A popular musical show, “Dallas Bond and the Musical Farmers”, combined several small groups of local performers in Studio A.

Oak & Ash Hosfelt boys 001

Ray and John Hosfelt, known as Oak and Ash, brightened everyone’s day.

Another of those local groups contained two young men from Indian Camp, Ray and John Hosfelt, better known as Oak & Ash, “The Forest Rangers”. They sang their way into the hearts of many listeners throughout the county.

On Saturday morning, boys and girls gathered around the radio to listen to “Story Time for Children”. In the afternoon, “Junior Talent Time” gave youngsters a chance to shine by singing or playing a musical instrument. A couple friends practiced singing with me “You Are My Sunshine”, in hopes that someday we would get the courage to go to the radio station. But we never did.

WILE Beatty Ave Studio

Announcers had a grand piano for backup in the studio.

Donna Lake Shafer, who started working as a continuity writer at WILE in the summer after she graduated from Cambridge High School in 1948, remembers Election Night being a very important event at the radio station. Election results came over the station’s Teletype machine, which printed messages from news wire services. Only a few local places received up-to-the-minute reports of the Truman – Dewey presidential election.

Even though the radio station was off the air, people crowded inside the Beatty Avenue headquarters to hear results coming in on the Teletype machine. Donna stayed busy that night keeping hot coffee and cookies ready at this big election party, which was attended by owners of the radio station, local officials and curious citizens. Remember, television sets in homes didn’t exist at this time.

These were not high paying jobs, according to Laura Bates, an early employee of WILE. When she started in 1952, her salary was $140 a month. But Laura recalls, “I loved to write and use my imagination. Working at WILE was enjoyable. You felt like you were a family.”

WILE Velvetones B

VelvetonesB  were part of the WILE scene. Edgar Fisher on the right was later one of our city councilmen.

In those early days, the station manager banned certain music from the air. Sometimes it was too loud, or occasionally the lyrics might be offensive. The radio served as the voice of the community.

Many changes have been made over the years. The station is now located on College Hill, where its transmitter  stood years ago. Almost everything is recorded these days and the station airs around the clock. From Land ‘O Lakes Broadcasting Corporation in 1948 to AVC Communications today, their community spirit still gets broadcast over the hills of Southeastern Ohio.

 

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