Author Archives: Tina

Russ Miller

Russell E Miller, April 22, 1926 – July 13, 2016

Russell E. Miller, III, 90, a Ft. Myers, FL resident for the last 12 years, formerly of St. Augustine, FL, and Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania, passed away Wednesday, July 13, 2016 in Ft. Myers. He was born April 22, 1926 in Philadelphia, PA to Russell Miller, Jr. and Florence Miller, now deceased.
Russ served in the US Coast Guard during WWII. He grew up on a farm in Ambler, PA to become a complete Renaissance man. Russ built a prominent career in PA as a Realtor with his wife, Winnie. He coached attorneys on real estate and estate planning, gave testimony to Congress supporting fair mortgage payment options for home owners, authored books on estate planning, and served as President of the Delaware County Real Estate Board in PA. For 25 years, Russ hosted popular WWDB-FM radio show “Real Estate and Your Estate, with Russ Miller.” He was a member of Broadcast Pioneers and a ham radio operator, K3NYN. Throughout his life, Russ was a multifaceted artist: a photographer, a writer, a musician, a painter and sculptor. His later years were in Fort Myers where he played piano daily for a live audience daily, produced monthly live variety shows and open mic nights for writers to perform their work. He was a member of Gulf Coast Writer’s Association. At 88 he launched a blog of his short stories, posting over 100 of them on Russ Miller will be remembered as an example of a life fulfilled, never wasting a talent, never wasting a day right up to the last one.
He is survived by his two loving daughters, Connie Bottinelli of Ft. Myers and Tina Crumpacker and husband Peter of Ft. Myers Beach, FL; two grandchildren, Maegan McManus and husband Chief Brian McManus of Pensacola, FL and Devon J.M. Crumpacker and wife Sydney of St. Petersburg, FL; as well as two great grandchildren, Brigid and Henry.
Russell was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Winifred V. Miller in 2008.
Internment will be at the St. Pete and Paul Cemetery on Sproul Rd. in Springfield PA at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, August 3, 2016. This will be followed by a luncheon at The Lamb Tavern for all who attend the internment. A Celebration of Life services will be held 6:00PM on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at the Sweeney Funeral home, 209 Newtown St Rd, Newtown Square, PA 19073
Memorial contributions in memory of Russell E. Miller, III are suggested to All Faiths Unitarian Congregation, 2756 McGregor Blvd, Ft. Myers, FL 33901 or Hope Hospice, 9470 Healthpark Circle, Ft. Myers, FL 33908.
Friends are invited to send condolences via the on-line guest book, which can be found at

The Best is Yet to Come

The Best is Yet to Come, By Russ Miller 4/22/26 – 7/13/16

When the last days are here, for a dear and close friend,
What do we say to family, when we know, it’s the end?
Consoling words do nothing but sound polite,
It’s over, it done, life is finished, but is that right?.
It is said, the best is yet to come?

What is destiny for each of us, we just don’t know,
No one has been to a promised land and returned, although,
Many make claims of tunnels and bright lights,
But a deep sleep can engender such visions, some nights.
Is the best really yet to come?.

If the promise of a hereafter, has any merit,
Of golden streets and wings we may inherit,
Then I am ready now, I’ll pack up my bags,
Better yet, let us all go, half mast all the flags,
With our God in our heart, the best is yet to come.

With our personal faiths, in whatever we believe,
Pearly gates, golden streets, and joys we will receive,
When we meet our God, and angels in the clouds,
I want to be there, marching with those crowds,
Yes I find solace believing, The best is yet to come.


This is the last thing Russ Miller wrote.
His daughters found this poem on his desk.
Rest in peace, Russ. The Best is yet to come.

WidowLady & UsedCar

Widow Lady and the Used Car.

Lena became a widow in 1996 when her Navy pilot husband was killed as his car went off the road in a foggy night returning from the Casino in Immokalee Florida. The road was narrow with two lanes and deep ditches on either side. He hit a concrete bridge abutment head on and he with the car came to an end. Lena had a month old new baby boy, her second son. She was now a widow, two children, no job, no husband, no car, and no money.

With a couple of phone calls she was able to arrange to get her old job back at a local Hospital as a nurse, but needed transportation. Their rented home was over 10 miles from her job. She needed a car for everything. Lehigh Acres residents in Florida, don’t walk anywhere. Lena had a good job as a nurse, but since she married Luke, they were able to survive on his one income, so she gave up nursing. They selected a home in the far Lehigh Acres, not near her former employment. In 1996, it seemed to be a good place to raise children. The rent was right, and just a few doors from her Mother who would take care of her new baby while she worked.

She found a used 1969 Mercury Marquis sedan at a local new car dealer. It had a new paint job it looked good. She made a deal Thursday afternoon. The dealer arranged financing and insurance. She took delivery intending to start work the following Monday. On her way home, she noticed a funny feeling in the rear of the car and an unusual clunking sound. She was alarmed and turned around to go back to the dealer. While turning around, the rear wheel fell of the rear right side and spun off into the swamp, leaving her and the car helpless at the edge of the road with no right rear wheel and body damage from sideswiping a telephone pole from the incident.

It seems that in preparing the car for delivery, a tire needed changing and the mechanic failed to tighten the wheel lugs beyond a hand turn. She got on her cell phone, called the dealer who promptly sent a tow truck to take it back to the shop. It would have to sit overnight. The dealer dispatched a car to take her home. Her car had wheel and disc brake damage, body damage and possible body alignment from hitting the pole. Examination showed that the body had serious previous damage and could be a future dangerous problem. She asked for her money back. The dealer laughed and refused. He told her she bought the car as is. It was now her problem. He would only fix the wheel.

Lena couldn’t deal with this problem at this time. She called a friend who was a teacher in “Self Help” classes for adults and unruly children. The friend whose we will call Jane, had a crew of hundreds of her class graduates, who will on call, come to the aid of any mistreated fellow graduates. There was a rally the next evening. About 12 people showed up and the agreed to help.

The following morning, they all converged at the auto agency with signs ready to paint. Jane, speaking for Lena, walked into the owners office, introduced the situation and demanded a rescission of the transaction and her money back. The dealer refused and ordered Jane out of the showroom. Jane advised that he had until 3 PM that day to return the money in cash, cancel any paperwork for the transfer of title and make the transaction disappear. The dealer said, get out of my showroom you B—-. Jane said, Mister, you said the magic word. I will get out. When you have the cash in your hand with evidence to show that you cancelled the deal, bring it to us. There will be 12 Ladies out on the sidewalk at the entrance to your driveway carrying signs telling all passers-by what you did to this lady. Oh! She said, just in case you didn’t notice, Lena is a minority and a widow with two children. I called the WINK TV and the News Press. They are waiting for my call and will all be here at 3:00.

At 2:00 PM, the transaction was cancelled and cash returned to Lena. She bought a Jeep SUV elsewhere and is now a happy camper with her new automobile. It’s good to have friends in the right places.


The Dinky Moore Trolley

(This is not actual trolley but exactly the same kind)
(reading time approx. 5 minutes)

I was in love very young, to be accurate I was only four.
Yet the love I shared then, was like none thereafter, nor before.
The love of my life was my Grandmom, her given name was Nell.
She loved me from the first day I was born, a story she used to tell.

Mom and Dad had to work, it was depression and they were rarely there.
When they got home each day, I was usually in bed, we really couldn’t share.
The fun I had was during the day, when Mom and Dad were working away.
When I awakened in the morn, they were gone, I was with Grandmom all the day.

I remember always being with her, each and every day,
Taking walks, singing songs, and the games we used to play.
My Grandmom Nell had a hobby, that she liked so much,
Riding the trolley car dressed in fancy clothes, that I liked to touch.

The Dinky Moore was a name, the townsfolk gave this tiny trolley,
Short and noisy, just two wheels each side, but lots of fun to ride by golly.
It only held 24 passengers, 12 on each side,
But when Grandmom started singing, it was just like a hayride.

It just cost a nickel to ride all day long, two could ride on a dime.
When we boarded the trolley, we were in for a good time.
My Grandmom was a music lady, and sang songs day and night,
When we rode the Dinky Moore trolley, she made a dull day quite bright.

Grandmom sang every day at home, and on the Dinky Moore trolley too.
People would take a ride just to sing along, like Grandmom Nell would do.
Most old timers will remember Sophie Tucker, from back in the thirties,
Grandmom Nell sang her same songs, from thirties and the twenties.

The Dinky Moore was one of those one-way trolleys, that didn’t turn around.
Motormen moved to the other end and reversed seats, to go back in town.
There were only a few of these trolleys on this line, with just one place to by-pass,
A sheltered spot for riders, where trolley cars could stop and wait to pass.

At the busy times of the day, when the workers were going or coming home,
They looked for Nellie to be on the trolley, and sing them a song or a poem.
It was a great way to brighten their mood after a hard days work,
A bonus for a worker with music on the trolley, was always a happy perk.

Yes I remember my first love, it was Grandmom Nell, singing in the Dinky Moore.
She showed me great happy times almost every day, when I was only four.
We both got our jollies, by riding the trolleys, and singing both going and coming.
Yes I was in love and it felt real good, it was a highlight in my early upcoming.

Being little as I was, my energy was in high gear, and I was active all day.
Grandmom would need a gap, to take a nap, but I still wanted to play.
After school hours was another exciting time, Gracie came to mind me.
Wow, was that my bonus, you should see Gracie, she was a sight to see.

Gracie was the kind men would leave home for, and I can see why,
Especially in shorts and blossoming as she was, she could have any guy.
We did things while Grandmom napped, that I can’t even describe,
But I will remember them always, some even better than my trolley ride.

But I don’t want to get off the point, this story is about the Dinky Moore ride.
And even though I loved my Grandmom, I can’t put Gracie aside.
She wore me out just minding me, and after dinner I was ready for bed.
That’s why I saw little of Mom and Dad, it was Grandmom and Gracie instead.

There is much more to tell, but this is the end of the trolley story.
Many things happened after this episode, in my youthful repertory.
But I can never forget Gracie, she out-shone them all, but only as second best,
Grandmom was my first love, then Gracie the sitter, was better than all the rest.

The Word

The Word

(reading time approx. 1 ½ minutes)

I have a friend, who challenged my acumen,
With a word that nonplussed me, to my chagrin.
It was hard to say it,
Or spell to display it,
Even understand what I would use it in.

Now this word is ONOMATOPOEIA, that’s it,
It was not in my lexicon, so be it.
But I looked it up,
And there it was, yup,
Bolden in type, for anyone to see it!

What does it mean, and what is its use?
Webster’s definition, to me, is all news.
It’s for words when spoke,
The sound it will evoke,
A quack for a duck or honk for a goose.

Where the spoken word is the same as the sound,
In all the dictionaries that I have found,
For cymbals it’s clang,
Or a gun, it is bang,
Such audible examples are all around.

Meow from cats, boom from a cannon, and so,
Bow-wow for a dog, and caw caw for a crow.
Now I understand,
The lesson at hand,
It’s a word I’ll never use, except for show.

If I feel pedantic, and wish to impress,
Those who will listen, whilst I express,
Useless information,
To liven conversation,
But it’s sometimes amusing, nevertheless.

Founders of America

Founders of America

(reading time approx. 5 minutes)

My ancestors came from Germany to Pennsylvania in 1754,
The families arrived just before the Revolutionary war.
They didn’t have anything but old clothes and ancient tools,
Grandmom could sew and cook, their biggest asset was two mules.

Now life for them was unbelievable, as we know living today,
I ask my readers to just imagine, the pains in words I am to say.
Think of yourself as being part and a character in this story I tell,
Living as they must have done, was just a bit better than this side of hell.

To eat, the choices were limited, they slew it or grew it to eat it.
That went for shelter too, the options were only one, to build it.
There were no homes to buy, nor a place they could rent and call home.
There were only land grants for farms, and some acres to call their own.

Indians were on the warpaths, the French Indian war had just begun,
Nanticoke, Lenape, Iroquois, Delaware ‘n Shawnee, kept settlers on the run.
Adversity was on everyone’s plate, things we wouldn’t believe were real,
Then came the revolution, Washington’s army battled for another ordeal.

Since 1750, history records 55 wars where America sent men off to fight,
Men who originally came to America, to avoid being killed in a European plight.
Where is that land of the free and the brave, where men could be free?
I can’t find it in the history books, I haven’t seen it, “Oh say, can you see?”

If you talk of the good old days, better skip past the seventeen hundreds,
Daughters of the American Revolution bragged, if their men died in bloodsheds.
It was farmers who fed the settlers with corn, wheat, meat and cattle,
Washington’s troops starved and froze to death, in the Revolutionary battle.

In spite of horrible deaths and adversities, each generation went to war,
Since our country was born, it has been war after war and more.
Came half way ‘round the world to start a new life, then met the same old stuff,
Politics, religious differences, killings and wars, enough has not been enough.

Our ancestors came to America to make a new home and be free,
Stepped out of one war into another, to a future they couldn’t see.
Are there any leaders out there, who don’t know that our warriors must die?
Politicians start wars, draft troops, then send them to die with a blink of an eye.

What comes next? Is it World War 3, with high tech buttons to push?
Must it be an apocalypse where everyone perishes, is it a mad man’s rush?
No rocket scientist is needed, to make us aware,
The next bomb can be annihilation of everyone, everywhere.

It’s not hard to realize that what goes around, comes around,
Not one country in the world will hesitate to retaliate, with an Atomic rebound.
The news today makes us wonder, if there is any chance for anyone to survive.
Have leaders anywhere reflected, on just how precious life is and being alive?

Political talk is cheap, I don’t have the answers, but there is one thing I do know,
Threats, aggressions and wars beget wars. Losers rise, trying again from long ago.
An effective politician must be a negotiator, and bargain to save humanity,
Hope for future generations, is leaders with logical bargaining savvy and sanity.

Even families are divided by politics, as with territories since the world began.
Politics and religions separate loved ones, in their same otherwise loving clan.
We are not fed by the politicians, we must work and earn our way,
Did you ever know what the IQ’s of your politicians are, they won’t say.

If I were an advisor, on the Washington scene today,
I would reiterate at the opening bell each and every day,
That the first order of business, before the incumbent members,
Would be plans to save the world, before our remains are merely embers.

Political persuasions by demonstrating zealots, must not be paramount.
Waving flags and signs may feel good, but without solutions they don’t count.
Democrats think, everyone should think as they do, so do the Republican teams.
But with weapons now threatening the world, our futures may be only dreams.

All of our ancestors had the same dreams as we do today,
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and keeping madmen at bay.
Your ancestors and mine built America, to live fearlessly in peace.
You see what politicians have done, nothing but wars, and they won’t cease.

God help us. Amen

To view all of the wars in America, Google “Wars in America” and read the list of 55 wars since 1754, one after another. Republicans or Democrats, it didn’t matter. If you think your political party will keep us out of war, fasten your seat belts, hunker down and
“GET REAL!” (as the kids say)

Bruce Bastian at the HRC Gala

Speak the Speech

(reading time approx. 5 minutes)

“Speak the speech, I pray, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue.” In that quote from William Shakespeare, lies a lesson and a censure – a lesson to speak as did he, plainly, distinctly, sufficiently audible, with a clear pronunciation of each syllable in every word, to the end of each sentence.

As this writer sees it, Shakespeare’s message connotes that each word in itself is a jeweled treasure of a message creation. Each word is none less valuable than another. Jewels, with their own charge, to add brilliance and power notwithstanding the final word and its very own impactful conclusion.

Shakespeare’s censure is to remind that the spoken word is as indelible in the minds of the listener as with the penned writings of the scrivener.

Omar Khayyam reminds us: “The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on: nor all the piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor thy tears wash out a single word of it.”

Shakespeare’s genius can non-plus even the most astute of scholars in the abstract thoughts and abstruse meanings, but not in the audibility of his speech. His individuality and orations are imitated ad infinitum. His spoken words are indelible in the annals of literature, clear to the period at the end of each sentence. Why, because he pronounced his words completely, articulately, not with the feeble, weak babble, and timid verbal delivery, vaporizing off into inaudible nothingness at the end of a sentence. This is a major foible in the delivery by many speakers, teachers in high places, especially politicians, frequently punctuated by word whiskers or word crutches, such as, “uh, like, like you know, you know what I mean, right, OK”, this that or the other thing, and the word, BASICALLY. I hate that word crutch.

Shakespeare was a master! He is one to be emulated, save his grandiose gesticulations, which may not befit all orators, excepting with the most histrionic thespians. Yes, as begged by the Master, “Speak the Speech”, proudly and immodestly, to the last word as with the first, plainly, articulately, concisely and especially to the last syllable in every sentence. Continue with volume to the end of the line, proudly and unabashedly, with panache. “Speak the Speech”, says the master.

Verbal presentations differ from the same written message. Vocal delivery, whether reading from a script or extemporizing, exposes your ability to speak the speech, as well as write your essay. You must use every speaking tool and technique to your advantage, physical and mechanical, as with a pen for the scrivener. The microphone is paramount. Few speakers use the mic as intended. Being “off mic” is the biggest abuse. Few speakers use a mic correctly; hence the message is fractured by on and off audio. Rule number one: if you hear your voice being amplified, it’s working. If you don’t hear the amplification, you’re off mic and only you hear you. Your message is lost. Speak into a mic as into a cone, possibly holding it so that your thumb rests on your chin, keeping it in place. Radio broadcasters use headphones to hear how they sound.

Do not drop your voice at the end of sentence, and don’t rush the last words. Emphasize and speak up, to the very last syllable. When reading from a script, underline the last three of four words of each sentence as a reminder. Dropping your voice looses your message.

If you have that horrible, annoying silly habit of ending a sentence with a giggle, like heheheh, or feigning a laugh, stop it! If it’s funny, the audience is supposed to laugh at your amusing words, not you as the speaker. Watch the comedians. They make the jokes, the audience makes laughter.

Rule number two: Referring to Shakespeare again, “Speak the Speech”, more explicitly, pronounce the word and every syllable. Casual relaxed conversation can differ from making a presentation. The biggest offense is contractions, dropping the last letters of a word as in: goin’, commin’ doin’ sayin’, etc. Contracting the pronunciation is a no-no for public speaking. Uh, basically, ya’ gotta’ say da’ whole ting, right, you know what I mean, OK? Hahaha.

Slowing down makes it easier. You can then hear how you sound. Don’t be one of those annoying fast talkers, like the phone secretaries in your doctor’s office, rushing words to the end of sentence, dropping volume, punctuating with foibles, laughing with hahahas, talking off mic, not to the audience, talking too much, too long. After five minutes, people get restless, like you may be right now. So, if you have a story, when you tell it “Speak the Speech”! I have told mine. Thank you for listening. I’m Russ Miller.

King of the Barn

King of the Barn

(reading time less than 2 minutes)
When you reach my age in life, the most enjoyment is looking back.
Memories are cherished, mostly because we didn’t know then, how we’d feel now.
As teens our worries were few, we didn’t have bills to pay, or kids to raise.
All that concerned us then, was what we could do to have fun, and how.
My teenage years are what I mostly revere, I lived in the country, on a farm.
We had a great red barn, two hay lofts, chicken coupe and four horse stalls.
After school, when my work was done, the barn was mine, my kingdom to beget.
I did homework and hobbies there, made and fixed things, with tools hung on the walls.

My memories becalm me, it was my joy and pleasure, I was in total charge.
Who would think I’d enjoy my lonesome, in heat or cold, but it was my domain you see.
With the big door open, my Mom could always see me, working at something or another.
I could hear the dinner bell, or when she called my name, “RUSSELL”, that was for me.

I wore a bear coat in the winter, like the Eskimos wear in the far north.
Kept me warm as toast in frigid months, when I worked at my bench watching the snow.
I know the feelings of both very hot and very cold, but there is no place like in a barn,
No sound like stillness of snow, or rain on a tin roof in a barn, same today as a long time ago.

Woodside Station

The Woodside Station

(reading time approx. 7 minutes)

The year is 1934. There’s a small one-room schoolhouse with six grades, in a place called Woodside Crossing. Four school chums in the 3rd grade are Chubby, Slim, Moses and Skippy. They all go to the Woodside Crossing School. Most students are from farm families. There are a few houses and a railroad crossing, with an old time railroad station next to a heavily wooded area. It’s mainly for farmers in past years. The station building is an empty unheated structure, once used for the occasional pick up of a passenger or two, on a flag signal. The train goes to the industrial areas outside of Philadelphia, hauling farm produce and lumber from upstate eastern Pennsylvania. It has an engine, one small half-size passenger car, an open coal car and a caboose.

There’s a fireman and engineer on the train when it comes by weekly. The engineer is Louie Frankenfield, who lives near Woodside Crossing. He never chased the four kids off the train when they hitched a caboose ride on the way through the countryside into town. The old Woodside Station is the unofficial clubhouse where the kids can meet and plan their mischief for the day. Just two old benches are inside, so they built a table and workbench, using boxes and boards from an abandoned, falling down barn nearby. They’re excited about their clubhouse in the old Woodside Station.

The engineer, Louie Frankenfield’s house is just a half-mile from the old R.R. station. When the train is on schedule, Louie’s wife Sophie rides her bicycle to meet the train. She always packs a very thoughtful lunch for Louie, with sandwiches and a bottle of cold homemade beer. This is only when he’s going north and won’t be home for a few days. Louie always talks endearingly about his most wonderful and faithful wife, Sophie. She feels so alone for the three or four days when Louie is on his trip, taking his next load to the Poconos. Everybody loves Sophie, including the Duncan’s Bakery man. He delivers baked goods along his route twice a week, both days when Louie is gone. When Louie’s train heads north, it means that it won’t return to Woodside Crossing for at least four days. Poor Sophie will be alone, all by herself for four days every week. Well, sometimes. The Frankenfield’s house is the last delivery on the Duncan’s Bakery route, twice weekly, when Louie is working.

About 20 miles north of Woodside Crossing, there is a collapse of the Indian Creek Bridge, and the rails fall into the creek. Louie’s train has to be diverted into a nearby siding until the creek crossing can be rebuilt. That will be at least a two-week delay. Louie’s excited. It will mean a vacation with his beloved, super lover, faithful wife, Sophie. He’ll surprise her.

He hitchhikes to the house from the fallen bridge. He’s surprised to see the Duncan’s Bakery truck parked in his barn. What could that be? It doesn’t take long to figure out who’s visiting his beloved wife, Sophie. Before breaking in on a scene he really doesn’t want to see, he loads his 12 gauge double-barreled Remington shotgun with pumpkin ball shells from the barn. He silently creeps in the back kitchen door. He can hear recognizable moans, laughter, screams and squeals emanating from his bedroom. It’s too much to bear. He opens the door to the bedroom, takes one look, and fires two 12 gauge blasts directly into the naked bodies of Sophie and the loving Duncan’s Bakery man. Blood is everywhere. He panics and can’t think clearly. What to do? Desperate, he foolishly gets into the bakery truck and drives to the Woodside Station. He goes inside, sits down weeping, puts the 12 gauge shotgun in his mouth, pulls the trigger and says good bye to this world.

Moses, Skippy, Chubby and Slim stumble on the scene after school the next day. Blood and pieces of head everywhere. They don’t know what to do. They’re sure they will be accused of this horrible sight as a murder. They have to get rid of the body. The four boys wait until there’s no one in sight, then drag the body into the woods behind the station. They drop it into a deep inaccessible ravine along a creek, just a few hundred yards from the Woodside Station.
It was now the secret of the Woodside Station clubhouse. They were never to return to the station and swore to each other, under an oath of a horribly excruciatingly painful death, to remain silent.

In a few days, the missing truck is reported to the county sheriff. The sheriff finds the Duncan Bakery truck abandoned by the train tracks, near the Woodside Station, but no driver. This opens an investigation. Where was the driver? They trace along the Duncan’s Bakery route, making inquiries. Several days later, they come upon the Frankenfield house. They knock. No Answer. They forcibly enter the house and discover Sophie with the driver, their naked dead bodies blasted into their final rewards, in Louie’s bed. The concluding and logical assumption is that Louie killed the secret lovers. He must have driven the truck to the station, boarded a passing freight train to escape, somewhere along the route to Philadelphia, then vanished. The sheriff makes a profound statement, just like the big city cops, “Find the gun and we’ll find the killer.”

The week following the incident, the four school chums meet after school. Their discussion opens with, “Did any of you guys ever go back to the station?” Moses, Chubby and Skippy say, “No!” Slim sheepishly admits, “Yes, I did, once!” “Why?” they yell. “To get that neat Remington 12 gauge, double-barreled shotgun, that’s why!”

And so goes the unsolved Frankenfield murder mystery at Woodside Crossing and the disappearance of Louie, the railroad engineer.

Turned on to the Radio-1

Turned On to the Radio

(reading time approximately 5 minutes)

Driving home from my Real Estate office, on Sunday afternoon in 1974, I was listening to Bernard Meltzer’s talk show on WCAU radio. He talked about many things, including real estate. His profession was as a Real Estate appraiser. Listening to his call about a real estate deal, it sounded familiar. His response to a caller was completely incorrect. As he continued with his advice, I recognized that the transaction was actually one of my deals. By his lack of details and inaccurate information he was besmirching my reputation. I was furious!

When I arrived home, my wife recognized my obvious anger by my demeanor. “What is wrong with you?” she asked. I explained. For his lack of experiences in this type of transaction, he was making me look like a charlatan to my client, who regarded Bernie as the second coming of the savior. My wife sat by my side to calm me. As I’m sipping a cool drink, she stood up and gleefully suggested, “I have an idea. Why don’t you start your own radio talk show?” I thought for a minute and said, “That is a great Idea!” I had plenty of experience with radio having been a ham radio operation for over a dozen years. One problem—Bernie was on the only talk radio station in Philadelphia. He had the one show of this kind, and management believed he knew what he was talking about.

In my attempt to interest another station in a talk format, I called radio stations from the Yellow Pages list. All other stations were successful with a music format and wouldn’t consider changing. I found one small 1,000 watt station, WEEZ in Chester Pennsylvania, which was struggling to survive and build a talk format. As they say, “Timing is everything, being at the right place, at the right time.” I called the owner Ernie Tannen who listened closely to my plan. He responded by saying, “Let’s do lunch today. I am definitely interested!”

I met with Ernie and his program director Wynne Moore, at a downtown restaurant that very day. They were trying to make a “talk radio” format work on this small station, and get into big business. My format would be real estate, insurance, building, remodeling, repairs, ancillary issues to home ownership and prudent management of family finances.

The next question was, how much income did I expect to produce the show? My answer was, “ZERO!” I would do it as a committee project for the Board of REALTORS. When it gets popular and makes money for the studio, we’ll talk. Meanwhile, it was a free-bee! How could they refuse? As the former President of my Board of REALTORS, a reputation of some kind had preceded me. They felt safe.

The next question was, how much time did I want. I said, “Four hours, 8 to 12 Saturday morning.” They laughed and said, “Nobody does a four hour talk show anywhere.” It was out of the question. Two hours was the absolute limit. My reply was, “I want four hours. I countered, “After my first show, if you don’t like the program, I’ll fold my tent and go. If you see it is working, I want four hours to continue doing a show.” Their answer was, “OK, let’s see how it goes.”

It went perfectly, with “wall to wall” callers. After 1 ½ hours on the air, the owner came into the studio and said, “Keep going for three hours today. Next week, you have your four hours.” That is how I became a radio talk show host.

Within a few months, I was offered a show on 50,000 watt WWDB in Philadelphia, on my own terms. I accepted. I was on the air for the next 28 years, including broadcasting live while traveling all of the lower 48 states. In 2002 the station was sold. The format changed to music and I retired at age 76.

I also did a short time with NBC Talk Net and was offered a full time show. I had to choose: move to New York full time, or keep my radio show in Philadelphia and my real estate business, which were convenient, established, comfortable and very profitable. I chose Philadelphia.

This was all from my wife’s advice, being at the right place at the right time, and offering a no cost deal to the station owner to get started. A win win situation, especially for me, with a special thanks to my competition, Bernie Meltzer, who made me mad enough for it all to happen.