Bernie Quayle
Sir Bernard - Knight of the Turntabl
e
Page Five


Knoxville 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.
WNOX was 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.
I 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.
It 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 Springs.
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 immediately. 
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 this:
"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."
The 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 bunkers.
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 simply 
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    

 

 

 

 

If 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.
continue   1 2 3 4 5 6   Next