Thursday, August 11, 2016


Back in 1969, a friend of mine had gone to work at a radio station in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The legendary Orly Knutson called me at the station I was working at in Bismarck, North Dakota and said the Indy station was looking for a newsman and I should apply.

I didn't know about that.

I was a corporate news director, responsible for three television stations and a couple of radio stations, and a television anchorman and, frankly, kind of a big frog in a small pond.

Plus, I'd never worked outside of the Dakotas and this was in a city of a million people or so.

I didn't know if I was good enough.

But Orly kept pushing, saying if it didn't work out I would still have the station on my resume and could go back to probably anywhere in the Dakotas or Minnesota.

So I took a flyer and this guy hired me.

His name was Fred Heckman and he was a legend in Indianapolis, having been there for decades.

He scared me a little at first with his demeanor but once I got to know him I found him to be a kind man and a good friend.

Another guy I worked with at that station was, for those of you who grew up listening to the radio broadcast of the Indy 500 auto race, another legend.

This was the witty, sardonic Lou Palmer, who lived all year for the month of May, in which he spent his whole month at the track, chumming around with people like A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti.

Also on the staff was the "Voice of the 500", Sid Collins.

Well, suffice it to say that I had a mostly wonderful three years at WIBC.

I met my lifelong pal, Tom Cochrun and his lovely wife, and I met and married Judy, aka SWMBO.

Fred, Lou and Sid are all gone now but I have memories of them that are as clear as day.

And Tom, who retired to California and writes the blog Light Breezes, has been here to visit several times and we keep in touch.

Orly retired outside Indianapolis after a 50 YEAR CAREER as a disc jockey and I hear from him occasionally.

Oh, and Judy?

Amazingly, she's still with me.

Indy was very, very good to me.


Tom Cochrun said...

Good times and good memories. And I think you've morphed into a big cat in the PV wilds of Thimble lane.

Zhoen said...

Nothing like a town where you fell in love.

Jager said...

Fred...forced me to learn how to write a news story and put together a newscast. I learned enough from Fred and his staff that I was able, later in life, to run a couple of news/talk stations and actually know what I was talking about. Yes, Fred was a kind and just and good man. One of a kind. Just ask Tony Kritsis.

Anonymous said...

Nice throwback, thanks.


joeh said...

Good decision if only for SWMBO!

Stephen Hayes said...

How great that you have such wonderful memories from this exciting time in your life.

Frank Phillippi said...

Thanks for the memories. Who knew Naptown would produce so many memorable characters (yourself included)