Sir Bernard -
Knight of the Turntable
is the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, an
area of outstanding beauty, I can highly recommend it for
a holiday. Tennessee also has some of the most
beautiful and cleanest lakes in the USA. I learned to
water ski there with my friend Nicky Spiva.
In 1970, I took my sister along to a party where she met Steve
Dehaven, they subsequently married and the first 2 of their 3
daughters were born there. The Dehaven family
moved to the Isle of Man in the late 70s, and now that Steve has
retired, they've moved back to Tennessee.
always looking for ways of getting publicity to help with the
ratings in a very competitive market.
|Someone put out the rumour that my visa had expired and I was about to be
deported. The newspapers got hold of the story and called
the station to interview me. At this time, Johnny Pirkle
had taken over as programme director, Don had moved to WOHO in
Toledo. Johnny realised the potential and told them I was
unavailable for comment which only served to fuel the rumour.
They ran the story in the Knoxville Sentinel which of course
resulted in all kinds of publicity - even 3 marriage proposals
to help me stay in the country. Another story that made the
Sentinel is reproduced below and this wasn't planted.
was doing the breakfast show one Saturday morning: the newsman
on duty was Ron Ashburn. Like every Saturday we were expected to
test the Emergency Broadcast system. A simple procedure
that went like clockwork - except this morning.
Ron came into the studio, ashen faced, his hands shaking
and asked me to hand over to him. I could not believe what
happened next. The message was so grave, I truly believed
World War 3 had started.
NORAD had once before detected what it believed to be missiles
headed towards America but they did not alert the population at
that time - we were now on full alert. I've reproduced part of
the text from the picture.
was almost as if they had a war and nobody came. Only it
wasn't a war. It was a mistake on the part of the North
American Air Defense Command (NORAD), at Colorado
Instead of the regular test message NORAD sends
broadcasting stations across the nation every Saturday
morning, NORAD sent the real thing.
"This is an emergency action notification directed
by the President. Normal broadcasting will cease
Only stations holding NDEA (National
Defense Emergency Alert; may stay on the air.
WNOX is the NDEA station here, the one that stays on the
air to broadcast at such times, and had to broadcast
"The President of the United States has directed that we
interrupt our normal program. This is the Emergency
Broadcast system, Normal broadcasting has been
discontinued for an indefinite period during an
emergency action condition. This station WILL
continue broadcasting to furnish news, official
information and instructions."
emergency message was repeated a number of times over the next
half hour, no music was played, just tones then the
message. Ron and I were literally quaking in our boots
waiting for the bombs to drop. NORAD realised their
mistake and sent a correction down the wires. I was so relieved
to make that announcement. We had reports that some
citizens had already gone into their old 1950s cold war fall-out
|Pictured on the right is a clipping from
one of the most popular teen magazines
in the USA in the sixties "Sixteen
Magazine" I've reproduced it here
because I was amazed, as I flipped through my
scrap-book, to find that I had acknowledged that the Bee
Gees were Manx, as early as 1969. The text from
the article says I was born in the same town as the
brothers Gibb - more about my Bee Gees connection later.
Here's a 3 minute
air-check on WNOX
you are ambitious in the American radio business, you
try to move up to a larger market, one with a bigger
audience and all the perks that go with it. In
1972, programme director Don Armstrong landed the job as
PD for WOHO in Toledo, Ohio. It was quite a move
up the radio ladder. American cities are rated
according to a number of factors. Knoxville was
around about number 70 but Toledo was about number
40. It was inbetween Detroit and Cleveland, both
top twenty markets. Don did all he could to get me
to join him but I loved Tennessee and the company had
been so good to me. Eventually, the offer was too
good to turn down, I moved to Toledo early in 1973.