February 2007 Jim
Harrington answered a series of questions about
his years as an air personality at WDRC AM/FM
in Hartford, Connecticut.
OK, tell me about the childhood radio influences that
convinced you to go into the biz.
I grew up in a small town in southeastern New England.
It was a time when television was unsophisticated and
radio was still magical. I remember listening to WPRO
which was THE undisputed radio giant in that area. Salty
Brine, Charlie Jefferds, Dave Sennett, Joe Thomas, Dick
Robinson (who I became friends with at WDRC)
and Andy "Big Ange" Jackson were the radio 'stars' of
my youth. As I began to pay more attention to radio,
I discovered other great stations like WBZ in Boston,
WABC in New York and even WKBW in Buffalo. I became
a fan of Jeff Kaye, Dick Summers and Dan Ingram.
very first non-paying job in radio was on "Youth Keeps In
Touch" on WALE in Fall River Massachusetts. My first paying
job was in the summer of 1967 at WCOD-FM in Hyannis Massachusetts
(it's first year on the air). My first 'rock' job was doing
weekends on WKFD in North Kingstown Rhode Island (500 watt
daytimer with a great signal). I worked at WPRO-FM in Providence
for a short time (they were easy listening at the time), then
WGIR when I attended Saint Anselms (I didn't graduate from
St. A's...I was in too much of a hurry to get into the 'biz'.
As a matter of fact, I ended up getting my BA just this past
year, from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton NJ which,
by the way, is a great school. Nothing like a little 35 year
pause between semesters, huh?). From WGIR I went to WSAR,
then WICE and then on to THE BIG D.
You found yourself jocking at WICE where, I believe, Bob
DeCarlo was not only PD but an institution. In January
1970 he left for Big D. Was that a surprise?
Bob was a superior talent and the PD responsible for really
'discovering' me. I haven't seen him in years but I can tell
you that he was a great guy. When he went to WDRC I
was disappointed. I loved working with him; he taught me a
great deal. A couple of months later, my patron saint of radio,
Charlie Parker called and before
I knew it, I was working with Bob again at WDRC.
Did Bob have anything to do with your getting a job in Hartford?
I don't really remember. I know that I became much more aware
of the station when Bob took the job. Don
Berns, who had worked part time at DRC, was the
evening jock at WICE and he used to say great things about
Charlie and the station.
Do you remember the interview process? What were your first
impressions of Charlie Parker?
It started with me slicing and dicing an aircheck in the WICE
production studio. I can remember thinking that that tape
would never get a full time job in radio. When I was summoned
to Hartford by Charlie, I was a nervous wreck. After all...it
was with THE Charlie Parker. By
this point in my career, I KNEW of Charlie. His reputation
preceded him. But I wasn't with Charlie five minutes before
I was totally mesmerized by this amazing man. He put me totally
at ease...and I think I was hired that very afternoon. I can
remember thinking that I was going to make more money than
my old high school principal (Who needed college right?).