Date   
Re: high school football, gone?

Seth Williamson <orthodox@...>
 

On Thu, 2004-08-19 at 06:09, @rgraves321 wrote:

What's gotten lost here, is one of the basic questions I asked (and
continue to ask) from way back when. What makes WJMA different from
the Clear Channel stations? If there's no real difference (either in
programming, or audience makeup), then why should I advertise on WJMA
when I can get a package deal with the Clear Channel stations?
Yeah--don't they call that the USP in business school, the unique
selling proposition? You've gotta have something to distinguish
yourself from the other guys.

Of course, it may be that your USP is nothing but cheaper CPM. That may
or may not be enough to make a living for you.

I continue to wonder how much "local-ness" is valued in media today. To
me, it makes a difference. I don't know how typical I am of other
people. I am probably not a typical media consumer--I haven't watched
television since 36 years ago today, for one thing.

I wonder about this question. In public radio they make a big deal
about core listeners being "citizens of the global village" and other
such phrases. I have a hard time imagining the typical public radio
listener as caring about high school football. But I may be wrong. At
any rate, that's a public radio audience and not commercial radio
audience that I am nowadays most familiar with.

Seth Williamson
Daleville, VA

Re: high school football, gone?

Ralph Graves
 

Seth:

Now you're starting to sound like me! I think there's something else going
on, though. Local sports, and especially the Sports Broadcaster's Club, always
provided a steady income stream for the station, so that's not the whole story.
Of course, under Digby's reign, the SBC got all screwed up, and I don't know
if it ever recovered.

I think in this case, the thought is more along the lines of not whether its
making any money, but is it making enough money. If they just run music, then
the station can be automated on Friday nights - no paid staff. For the
football games, you need a staff of three (that you have to pay for) plus the phone
connection.

Also, the SBC itself is fairly labor intensive to develop (although not to
maintain - from chats with Bill I got the impression there was a lot of rollover
once an advertiser got on board). Since Digby's time the thinking has been
that one advertiser paying $1,000 a month is much better than 10 paying $100 (a
la SBC). Of course, Digby blew off all of those $100 dollar accounts before
replacing them with the $1,000 ones, and in fact never did completely replace
that lost revenue.

Its already been noted that they've let a few sales people go. So now they're
cutting loose the programming that cost them salaries and have demanded the
most attention from the sales staff. It helps the station towards doing the
most with the minimum effort and staff.

What's gotten lost here, is one of the basic questions I asked (and continue
to ask) from way back when. What makes WJMA different from the Clear Channel
stations? If there's no real difference (either in programming, or audience
makeup), then why should I advertise on WJMA when I can get a package deal with
the Clear Channel stations?

The Sports Broadcasters Club may have been a little extra work, but it was a
solid revenue stream that brought in more money than the station paid out in
programming - and bought the good will of the community besides.

Ralph Graves

Re: high school football, gone?

Seth Williamson <orthodox@...>
 

R Roberts wrote:

I'd like to hear what you all think about Turner's attack on big media.
He has a point in that specific case. But when an owner of a mega-corporation like this starts asking for the market to be reorganized or restructured, it's usually because he wants to make it harder for competitors, not easier. I haven't noticed that Turner has been notably subservient to local wishes in the past.


Seth Williamson
Daleville, VA

Re: high school football, gone?

R Roberts <russroberts@...>
 

Have you read Ted Turner's recent article about media consolidation.
I'm sure it can be found on the Internet.

Among other things, he wrote of a train wreck in, I think, the Dakotas.
Tanker cars began leaking noxious fumes. Immediate public notification
of the danger was imperative. It's too bad the radio stations were no
help. It took him hours to get someone on the phones of the several
Clear Channel radio stations in the community.

He writes that the good of the public, the owners of the airwaves, has
disappeared. As we've written here before, the only thing that matters
now is the good of the corporation.

I'd like to hear what you all think about Turner's attack on big media.

Russ Roberts

-----Original Message-----
From: Seth Williamson [mailto:orthodox@...]
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 2:30 PM
To: WJMA@...
Subject: Re: [WJMA] Re: high school football, gone?


rmj142 wrote:

Dumping high school football in a market this size just does not add
up. This is a small market. In order to be viable a local station
has to give listeners in the area a REASON to listen to them instead
of one of the bazillion other options.
Agreed. You may be right about this particular decision. I don't claim

to know the economics of this programming option very well. I DO know
that local football seemed to be popular when I myself was at WJMA (and
at other small-market AMs).

There are really only two reasons to listen to one station over the
other. Content and signal strength.
Signal strength is not an issue with dozens of broadcast stations
plus the infinite options via satillite (via DishNet and for no
additional cost over my TV channels, I get 20-25 music channels) and
the Internet.
So we come down to content. Without local news, sports, public
service, and weather (and I mean real weather, not canned, updated
twice a day stuff, if there's a tornado warning tough luck) why
choose the "local" station?
This trend is all over. I was in Charlottesville yesterday and heard
a local newscast on WINA. It was either 4:30 or 5:00. The "newscast"
consisted of:
A: A remote on a traffic snafu on Barracks Road (not even a main
commuter artery) due to a cement truck overturning TWO AND A HALF
HOURS BEFORE.
B. A brief mention of a back road closing in Greene County due to
bridge repairs.
Wow! This is what we are getting from "Charlottesville's News
Leader"?
Yeah, it sounds lame. I agree. The local AM talker in my market is
WFIR. They've got Limbaugh and Hannity and Boortz and Savage and a
badly paid local news staff. All in all, I don't think their local news

effort is as lame as what you describe above from INA. But on the other

hand, they do seem to concentrate on traffic accidents and traffic
tie-ups. I think there is a certain demand for that kind of thing, but
timeliness is everything.

It seems to me there should be some hard numbers here somewhere, and
some reasoning extrapolated from those numbers, that would explain JMA's

decision to dump local football. It may be sound reasoning, or it may
be a stupid call.

With any block-programming decision, of course, it's not merely a matter

of how big the potential audience is. There's the matter of what the
format-breaking block does to core listeners in that daypart. If it
attracts a completely different audience, a programmer might still
consider it a bad move even if the replacement audience was of the same
size or even bigger. Because you drive your core listeners away to some

other station for that one night, and that might be a bad strategy,
depending on what your market segmentation is.

On the other hand, the hard fact is that nighttime numbers are tiny for
ALL radio formats compared to television. It's hard to imagine there's
much of a nighttime audience at stake no matter WHAT the format is.


Seth Willimson
Daleville, VA



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Re: high school football, gone?

Seth Williamson <orthodox@...>
 

rmj142 wrote:

Dumping high school football in a market this size just does not add up. This is a small market. In order to be viable a local station has to give listeners in the area a REASON to listen to them instead of one of the bazillion other options.
Agreed. You may be right about this particular decision. I don't claim to know the economics of this programming option very well. I DO know that local football seemed to be popular when I myself was at WJMA (and at other small-market AMs).

There are really only two reasons to listen to one station over the other. Content and signal strength.
Signal strength is not an issue with dozens of broadcast stations plus the infinite options via satillite (via DishNet and for no additional cost over my TV channels, I get 20-25 music channels) and the Internet.
So we come down to content. Without local news, sports, public service, and weather (and I mean real weather, not canned, updated twice a day stuff, if there's a tornado warning tough luck) why choose the "local" station?
This trend is all over. I was in Charlottesville yesterday and heard a local newscast on WINA. It was either 4:30 or 5:00. The "newscast" consisted of:
A: A remote on a traffic snafu on Barracks Road (not even a main commuter artery) due to a cement truck overturning TWO AND A HALF HOURS BEFORE.
B. A brief mention of a back road closing in Greene County due to bridge repairs.
Wow! This is what we are getting from "Charlottesville's News Leader"?
Yeah, it sounds lame. I agree. The local AM talker in my market is WFIR. They've got Limbaugh and Hannity and Boortz and Savage and a badly paid local news staff. All in all, I don't think their local news effort is as lame as what you describe above from INA. But on the other hand, they do seem to concentrate on traffic accidents and traffic tie-ups. I think there is a certain demand for that kind of thing, but timeliness is everything.

It seems to me there should be some hard numbers here somewhere, and some reasoning extrapolated from those numbers, that would explain JMA's decision to dump local football. It may be sound reasoning, or it may be a stupid call.

With any block-programming decision, of course, it's not merely a matter of how big the potential audience is. There's the matter of what the format-breaking block does to core listeners in that daypart. If it attracts a completely different audience, a programmer might still consider it a bad move even if the replacement audience was of the same size or even bigger. Because you drive your core listeners away to some other station for that one night, and that might be a bad strategy, depending on what your market segmentation is.

On the other hand, the hard fact is that nighttime numbers are tiny for ALL radio formats compared to television. It's hard to imagine there's much of a nighttime audience at stake no matter WHAT the format is.


Seth Willimson
Daleville, VA

Re: high school football, gone?

Mark Johnson
 

--- In WJMA@..., Seth Williamson <orthodox@n...> wrote:

I haven't looked at the numbers on programs like this, but I would
be
surprised if station owners were obtusely and out of some
perverse,
masochistic motive opting for programming that netted them fewer
listeners and fewer advertising dollars.
Seth,
My problem with this mindset is that it assumes that all business
owners know what they are doing, are asking the right questions, are
making the right moves etc.

In my business I don't intentionally do stuff that limits my profit
potential, but I'll bet you gold bars to dirt clods that I could do
better, and that some things I do are downright dumb.

Even a corporate power like WalMart makes bad decisions.

I doubt that KMart intentionally went broke.

In spite of degrees from Harvard, focus groups, and market research,
business people foul up.

Dumping high school football in a market this size just does not add
up. This is a small market. In order to be viable a local station
has to give listeners in the area a REASON to listen to them instead
of one of the bazillion other options.

There are really only two reasons to listen to one station over the
other. Content and signal strength.

Signal strength is not an issue with dozens of broadcast stations
plus the infinite options via satillite (via DishNet and for no
additional cost over my TV channels, I get 20-25 music channels) and
the Internet.

So we come down to content. Without local news, sports, public
service, and weather (and I mean real weather, not canned, updated
twice a day stuff, if there's a tornado warning tough luck) why
choose the "local" station?

This trend is all over. I was in Charlottesville yesterday and heard
a local newscast on WINA. It was either 4:30 or 5:00. The "newscast"
consisted of:

A: A remote on a traffic snafu on Barracks Road (not even a main
commuter artery) due to a cement truck overturning TWO AND A HALF
HOURS BEFORE.

B. A brief mention of a back road closing in Greene County due to
bridge repairs.

Wow! This is what we are getting from "Charlottesville's News
Leader"?

Mark Johnson
81-84

Re: high school football, gone?

Seth Williamson <orthodox@...>
 

Very old school Ross, like before calculators. Ya gotta take these factors into account:
A) Americans hate sports, especially rural folks, and especially football.
B) NOBODY cares about a bunch of KIDS playin' sports, especially their parents, grandparents etc.
C) The outrageous rights fees the school system charges are deal breakers alone.
D) Local businesses generally refuse to support such efforts.*
Add it all up and it adds up.
As much as I hate to see high school football go, I feel compelled to add that the average radio station owner or stockholder isn't likely to abandon programming that promises the best revenue stream. In commercial radio, money absolutely rules all, and Arbitron numbers = money.

I haven't looked at the numbers on programs like this, but I would be surprised if station owners were obtusely and out of some perverse, masochistic motive opting for programming that netted them fewer listeners and fewer advertising dollars.

Not really intending to play devil's advocate here--just trying to inject what I think is a bit of melancholy realism into the discussion.

Seth Williamson
Daleville, VA

Re: high school football, gone?

Mark Johnson
 

--- In WJMA@..., Dominion Market Research <Ross@m...>

I can't imagine Friday night is a very high listening time. Niche
programming could provide some nice revenue. But maybe that's old
school thinking and not viable in today's radio market place.
Very old school Ross, like before calculators.

Ya gotta take these factors into account:

A) Americans hate sports, especially rural folks, and especially
football.
B) NOBODY cares about a bunch of KIDS playin' sports, especially
their parents, grandparents etc.
C) The outrageous rights fees the school system charges are deal
breakers alone.
D) Local businesses generally refuse to support such efforts.*

Add it all up and it adds up.

Mark Johnson
81-84


*Back about 7-8 years ago I asked about being a sponsor for the OCHS
games. Nupe. Sorry. Sold out.

Re: Digest Number 351

jon kay <vacolonialboy@...>
 

--- recently, Ross (not Russ) rote:

I recall dozens of times you couldn't tell whether
the phone >caller said Russ or Ross; or whether Watson
yelling "Russ" >or "Ross"; or whether the person just
got confused and
called the first name that came to mind...When Watson
called you be last name there was no doubt who she
was
looking for or that you had crossed some line.
Wow! After all these years, I'm just now learning
that I must've spent most of my time at WJMA somewhere
on the wrong side of that mythical Watson line!

It occurs to me that Pat Watson rarely (if ever)
called me by my first name. It was always "KEAH-nin!"

"KEAH-nin! That was the whust newscast I EVAH huhd"
or KEAH-nin, why don't you play some GUUD music once
in a whal?"

Now that I'm thinking of it, I do remember her calling
Goodwin "Phil" on rare occasions, though it was
usually just "Goodwin."

But I honestly don't remember her ever calling me
"Jay."

Oh, but what a sweetheart she was! I thought the
world of Pat Watson, and I do think of her from time
to time, and I always smile when I do.

They just don't make 'em like that anymore.

jay kiernan
76-79





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Re: old wjma phone number

R Roberts <russroberts@...>
 

Ross,

Maybe the confusion between "Ross" and "Russ" is what prompted me to
start calling you "J. Ross." Of course, I was always pretty clear who I
was; I never had a blurry identity crisis even though everybody else in
town thought we were both "Ross" (perhaps we shared the experience of
identical twins). At least once I had merchants tell me about the typo
on my checks!

I think I hoped my calling you "J. Ross" would become part of the
collective consciousness (often I've had the quixotic hope that I could
change people's habits ...)

It's too bad the moniker we gave you for the big soft ball game never
stuck... "Tuna Fish Hunter."

Russ Roberts

-----Original Message-----
From: Ross Hunter [mailto:xhunter@...]
Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2004 7:18 AM
To: WJMA@...
Subject: RE: [WJMA] old wjma phone number

Sometime in the mid 70's I received a letter from a listener addressed
to:

"Russ
Orange, VA"

Sonny Dodson and the staff at the Orange Post Office knew where it was
supposed to go; they delivered it to the station.

Russ Roberts
Russ,

You are pretty sure that was a "u" and not an "o"? :-)

I recall dozens of times you couldn't tell whether the phone caller
said Russ or Ross; or whether Watson yelling "Russ" or "Ross"; or
whether the person just got confused and called the first name that
came to mind. It was easier to just answer and sort it out later.
When Watson called you be last name there was no doubt who she was
looking for or that you had crossed some line.

I also recall lots of phone calls for "Phil" and having to determine
if the person was looking or Goodwin or Audibert. Then there were the
news calls for Phil where the person clearly had no idea how to
pronounce Aubibert. Phil solved that problem to some degree with his
license plate "O D Bear".

Then there was Big Bob (Bob Wade aka J.D. Slade) and Mad Bob (Bab
Barnett). By the way Bod Wade's email has been bouncing for at least
6 months. Does anyone on the list have contact with him?

Ross (not Russ)
71-85



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Re: old wjma phone number

Ross Hunter <xhunter@...>
 

Sometime in the mid 70's I received a letter from a listener addressed
to:

"Russ
Orange, VA"

Sonny Dodson and the staff at the Orange Post Office knew where it was
supposed to go; they delivered it to the station.

Russ Roberts
Russ,

You are pretty sure that was a "u" and not an "o"? :-)

I recall dozens of times you couldn't tell whether the phone caller said Russ or Ross; or whether Watson yelling "Russ" or "Ross"; or whether the person just got confused and called the first name that came to mind. It was easier to just answer and sort it out later. When Watson called you be last name there was no doubt who she was looking for or that you had crossed some line.

I also recall lots of phone calls for "Phil" and having to determine if the person was looking or Goodwin or Audibert. Then there were the news calls for Phil where the person clearly had no idea how to pronounce Aubibert. Phil solved that problem to some degree with his license plate "O D Bear".

Then there was Big Bob (Bob Wade aka J.D. Slade) and Mad Bob (Bab Barnett). By the way Bod Wade's email has been bouncing for at least 6 months. Does anyone on the list have contact with him?

Ross (not Russ)
71-85

Re: old wjma phone number

R Roberts <russroberts@...>
 

Sometime in the mid 70's I received a letter from a listener addressed
to:

"Russ
Orange, VA"

Sonny Dodson and the staff at the Orange Post Office knew where it was
supposed to go; they delivered it to the station.

Russ Roberts

-----Original Message-----
From: mary thompson [mailto:emmyte@...]
Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2004 9:54 PM
To: WJMA@...
Subject: [WJMA] old wjma phone number

Arch,
Remember the time we rec'd a letter for SWAP SHOP addressed as
follows:
WJMA Radio
672-1000
Orange
Guess those addresses have changed over the years. -Mary T (now W)


From: Arch Harrison <xhunter@...> (by way of Ross Hunter)
Reply-To: WJMA@...
To: wjma@...
Subject: [WJMA] Re: old wjma phone number
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 18:09:04 -0400
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FILETIME=[52A44320:01C47F29]

Speaking of that old four-digit phone number:
When I had occasion to talk with New York Ad Agencies - not very
successfully I admit - and it came time to give the phone number, the
buyer
couldn't believe we only had four numbers!
This provoked some "Aw. c'mon. you're kidding ?" conversations.
I expect that's why we never got much national business!
Come to think of it, when we graduated to seven numbers and the easily
remembered 672-1000 nothing much changed.
a r c h
61-84
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high school football, gone?

Dominion Market Research <Ross@...>
 

Ross,
That is very interesting stuff. With all the sports we did back then I
remember the many carts for the SBC (sports broadcasters club). Seems there was
an entire rack or two for just local sports, Orioles, Redskins and UVa. Those were the days. As I believed, WJMA will no longer carry Orange Football or Virginia Tech
this fall. Fifty years for Orange football was a great run and maybe some
kind of record. It also appears that Louisa and Culpeper will loose their live
broadcasts on Friday. The station is trying to work out drop-in stories (on
Friday's) for fans on all area games from 7:30 - 10:30. Plan are not complete.

Clint
Estes
1977 -
Present
Clint,

Perhaps you can provide some more detail on this. I always thought high school football was an easy sell to advertisers and an audience builder. I don't know the thinking behind this decision, but it does seem odd. Have you had any feed back from school ADs or on the street?

It doesn't seem to me that drop-ins really satisfy either camp. It's an interruption for those who want only music and not very satisfying for those who want to hear the game. Does this mean that Culpeper, Louisa, Madison and Orange counties will have no high school sports coverage?

I can't imagine Friday night is a very high listening time. Niche programming could provide some nice revenue. But maybe that's old school thinking and not viable in today's radio market place.

Fifty years of high school play-by-play was a pretty good run. You guys sent it out in style last year with all the retrospective features.

Ross
--
Dominion Market Research-mailing services for Central Virginia
309 Madison Road
PO Box 791
Orange VA 22960-0464
540-672-2327 800-328-2588 fax: 540-672-0296
_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/

Re: Digest Number 348

Mark Johnson
 

--- In WJMA@..., Phlodbear@a... wrote:

We moved to Gordonsville when I was eight, and I remember vividly
being able
to call anyone within the Gordonsville exchange (832) by dialing
the last
four digits.
I remember that as well. That changed sometime in the mid-70's as I
recall.

Thanks to all who answered my query.

It is amazing how fast we forget how things used to be.

Mark Johnson
81-84

Re: Digest Number 348

Les <grandmananer@...>
 

When I was a kid in Grove City, Pennsylvania, we had THREE-digit phone
numbers. Ours was 994.

Numerically challenged in Maine.
Les

On Sat, 14 Aug 2004 10:07:59 EDT, Phlodbear@... said:

In a message dated 8/14/2004 9:36:54 AM Eastern Standard Time,
WJMA@... writes:

The Dark Ages of telephone service

I still remember the phone number when I was a small child living in
rural
New England...HEmlock 5-9292.

We moved to Gordonsville when I was eight, and I remember vividly being
able
to call anyone within the Gordonsville exchange (832) by dialing the
last
four digits. In fact, you could dial three because back then everyone's
four
digit number started with a "2." Ours was 2225 and it remained that way
until
we sold Tivoli in 1999. Look up any long standing resident's phone
number in
Gordonsville and I'll bet you their four digit number starts with a "2."

And yes, a call to Orange was indeed a long distance affair requiring the
services of the operator. I also remember doing an interview with some
phone
company people, and they told me that whenever WJMA had a call in
contest, the
mechanical switching in the building on Bellview would go crazy,
effectively
rendering the town of Orange incommunicado for a brief moment.

Phil Audibert
'76-'86










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Charley misses Jay

Ross Hunter <xhunter@...>
 

For those of you who might be wondering how Jay Kiernan fared under the threat of Hurricane Charley, Jay says "reports of my demise are definitely premature!"

As you may know Jay lives in the Tampa area which was the predicted landfall point. Jay evacuated and headed for "higher ground" assuming that his home would be flooded at the least and destroyed at the worst. The same came ashore south of Tampa and his house was spared any damage.

Jay says he learned from Hurricane Andrew to take these things seriously. He moved to Florida two days before Andrew struck in 1992.

Ross
71-85

Re: Digest Number 348

Leri <msleri@...>
 

I had a party line in Alaska. The only one who got in trouble with it was the other party who was drunk most of the time. The shortage of sunlight in the winter tends to render even the soberest disoriented after nap time. One winter evening I was talking on the phone my drunk compadre came on the line and shouted "Is it morning or night?!?!?!" Taken aback, I scolded him and told him to get off the line. He retorted, "I will as soon as you tell me, godddammmiiittt, Is it morning or night?!?!?!"

Leri Thomas

----- Original Message -----
From: JWhitten@...
To: WJMA@...
Sent: Saturday, August 14, 2004 10:44 AM
Subject: RE: [WJMA] Digest Number 348


Did anyone as a child get in trouble for listening in on a party line?

It seems a bit silly now that people have private conversations in public places on their cell phone.

Thank goodness for the Amtrak Quiet Car.

-----Original Message-----
From: Phlodbear@... Sent: Saturday, August 14, 2004 10:11 AM
To: WJMA@...; WJMA@...
Subject: Re: [WJMA] Digest Number 348

In a message dated 8/14/2004 9:36:54 AM Eastern Standard Time, WJMA@... writes:

> The Dark Ages of telephone service


I still remember the phone number when I was a small child living in rural New England...HEmlock 5-9292.

We moved to Gordonsville when I was eight, and I remember vividly being able to call anyone within the Gordonsville exchange (832) by dialing the last four digits. In fact, you could dial three because back then everyone's four digit number started with a "2." Ours was 2225 and it remained that way until we sold Tivoli in 1999. Look up any long standing resident's phone number in Gordonsville and I'll bet you their four digit number starts with a "2." And yes, a call to Orange was indeed a long distance affair requiring the services of the operator. I also remember doing an interview with some phone company people, and they told me that whenever WJMA had a call in contest, the mechanical switching in the building on Bellview would go crazy, effectively rendering the town of Orange incommunicado for a brief moment.

Phil Audibert
'76-'86









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Re: Digest Number 348

Janet Hague McKay
 

When I was in high school, I lived in St. John's Newfoundland. The phone
numbers there were very strange. We had numbers that were four, five and six
digits and letters. My number was 7878A. One of my friend's was 90965A. The
number to call the base was 4113!
When I first moved to Gordonsville, you could still call Gordonsville
numbers by dialing 2 and the last four digits. My number was 832-2788. Orange
Tire and Recap was 672-2788. Every Saturday morning I would be awakened by the
phone and when I answered it would be some man in Gordonsville who out of habit
dialed 2-2788 and wanted tires! Of course it was always very early Saturday
morning when they called.

Janet McKay (Hague)
86-87

In a message dated 8/14/2004 10:09:32 AM Eastern Standard Time,
Phlodbear@... writes:
In a message dated 8/14/2004 9:36:54 AM Eastern Standard Time,
WJMA@... writes:

The Dark Ages of telephone service

I still remember the phone number when I was a small child living in rural
New England...HEmlock 5-9292.

We moved to Gordonsville when I was eight, and I remember vividly being able
to call anyone within the Gordonsville exchange (832) by dialing the last
four digits. In fact, you could dial three because back then everyone's four
digit number started with a "2." Ours was 2225 and it remained that way
until
we sold Tivoli in 1999. Look up any long standing resident's phone number in
Gordonsville and I'll bet you their four digit number starts with a "2."

And yes, a call to Orange was indeed a long distance affair requiring the
services of the operator. I also remember doing an interview with some phone
company people, and they told me that whenever WJMA had a call in contest,
the
mechanical switching in the building on Bellview would go crazy, effectively
rendering the town of Orange incommunicado for a brief moment.

Phil Audibert
'76-'86

Re: Digest Number 348

JWhitten@...
 

Did anyone as a child get in trouble for listening in on a party line?

It seems a bit silly now that people have private conversations in public places on their cell phone.

Thank goodness for the Amtrak Quiet Car.

-----Original Message-----
From: Phlodbear@... Sent: Saturday, August 14, 2004 10:11 AM
To: WJMA@...; WJMA@...
Subject: Re: [WJMA] Digest Number 348

In a message dated 8/14/2004 9:36:54 AM Eastern Standard Time, WJMA@... writes:

The Dark Ages of telephone service

I still remember the phone number when I was a small child living in rural New England...HEmlock 5-9292.

We moved to Gordonsville when I was eight, and I remember vividly being able to call anyone within the Gordonsville exchange (832) by dialing the last four digits. In fact, you could dial three because back then everyone's four digit number started with a "2." Ours was 2225 and it remained that way until we sold Tivoli in 1999. Look up any long standing resident's phone number in Gordonsville and I'll bet you their four digit number starts with a "2." And yes, a call to Orange was indeed a long distance affair requiring the services of the operator. I also remember doing an interview with some phone company people, and they told me that whenever WJMA had a call in contest, the mechanical switching in the building on Bellview would go crazy, effectively rendering the town of Orange incommunicado for a brief moment.

Phil Audibert
'76-'86





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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Re: The Dark Ages of telephone service

JWhitten@...
 

Good Question

I think that it would have been ORange2-1234. As a former Daniel resident, I made-up my own as a child: UKraine4.

Anyone know what it was really?

It's amazing where those old exchange names pop-up. Older residents here in Jersey City still use them, and it's confusing to many others.

In Manhattan, there's a restaurant - very chic, very expensive - named after its old exchange name, which still matches its telephone number.

In the age of the cell phone, I fear that this piece of Americana will be lost, especially in Manhattan where two area codes are geographically mixed. (Residents fought actually over keeping their 212, which is the “status” code.)

Let's start a nostalgic, exchange-name Website!!

Joe Whitten

-----Original Message-----
From: xhunter@... Sent: Friday, August 13, 2004 8:21 PM
To: WJMA@...; WJMA@...
Subject: [WJMA] Re: The Dark Ages of telephone service



Back in the late 60's Virginia had just one area code, 703. So, 703
got you to Virginia. My question is : How was only four additional
digits enough to complete a call from outside the area? There had to
have been hundreds of exchanges in Virginia even then.

Was there a word code used as well? "Orange 1234" for example?

Mark Johnson
81-84
Mark,

I sent your question to a college radio friend who used to work for Illinois Bell. Here's his reply. Does that answer the question?

Ross
============================

I had to dig back quite a way to get an answer for you - and it may only
have applied in Illinois. In the very early 70s (and before), a few tiny
communities in Illinois were served by what was called "community dial
service". These were all small, rural towns. The central office (CO)13 served
either 1 or a group of small communities. The CO had only 1 office code.
Sorry - there is an Area Code (NPA), a central office code (NXX) and the 4
digit individual number associated with each telephone number. This was true
then as well as now. Since the CO had only 1 NXX, it was easy to have LOCAL
CALLING (from one number to another in the same CO) be the last 4 digits of
the telephone number. This is how today's Centrex systems work. If the CO
has 2 NXXs, this was no longer possible since each NXX could have the same
last 4 digits and create code conflicts. In the community dial service, if
you wanted to make a call outside of your home CO, either to another CO in
your NPA or a long distance call, you had to dial an access code to inform
the switch you were not making a local call. Usually, the access code was
"9", just like making an outside call from many of today's company business
telephone systems.

Given the fact that an access code was required to go outside the CO, and
the fact that at that time touch tone was NOT widely used so that eliminated
the # and * as an access code, "9" was the choice, at least in Illinois.
That meant that the CO had a maximum capacity of 9000 numbers to be used for
subscribers. Using 9 as an access code eliminated 1000 usable numbers from
the CO.

When calling into the community dial service, the outside party, if in the
same NPA dialed the full 7 digit telephone number. Callers from a different
NPA dialed 10 digits. The 4 digit calling ONLY applied to calls within the
local community dial CO. Hence that person's problem if he only gave the LD
operator 7 digits (most likely the NPA and the last 4 digits).

That is the way it worked in Illinois. It could have been a different setup
in Orange, but I would suspect it would have to have been similar.


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