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Lexington Radio Ink
A collection of newspaper articles about Broadcasting
in and around Kentucky's Second Largest City

Top Hits in Fast-Paced Formats
This article appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on June 30, 1974

By Tom Carter
Staff Writer

 
Fast-paced, predominantly hard-sell and programmed to lull the fickle audience into a kind of electronic euphoria.

That's AM "rock" radio in Lexington at WVLK and WLAP, where giving the audience what it wants means playing more of the same hits more often.

Fast pace - the knack of fusing a commercial message and a rock hit into one indistinguishable spiel - has been well-mastered here.

The hard-sell isn't totally dominant. Lexington is still enough of a country town to harbor a few advertisers who won't tolerate it.

But listeners get more records per day here than in bigger markets, but not a whole lot more.

At WVLK, approximately 35-40 contemporary records are played daily - in addition to three "oldie goldie" hits per hour -- and at WLAP -- where oldies are played one-to-one with current hits -- the record survey is 30 contemporaries (each played once every two hours) and 10 played three to four times a day.

The city's third AM station, WBLG, is programming generally for "easy listening" and is not geared to the same audience as the other two stations.

The multiple replays of the same stuff may sound like saturation to someone who doesn't know Billy Preston from Barry White, but in the bigger market stations there's even less variety.

More and more stations have moved into the rock music market in recent years. The competition is fierce in bigger cities where stations play only 15 to 20 different top hits a day to keep the audience's attention.

But this has put the record industry into the position of releasing less records because they get so little free air play anymore for the bulk of them.
 
"Oldie" Problem
 
"Oldie goldies" are a big part of the problem. The other is the teen-age (or younger) record buyer whose short-term, ever-changing music preferences make the industry the maddening business it has become.

The oldies are a broadcasting phenomenon. Old can mean a record from a few months to several years out of its prime interest period, but most often means records of the 1960s and late 1950s.

Herb Kent, program director at WLAP, says that he hasn't noticed any decline in record production in recent years.

And both he and Jim Jordan, program director at WVLK, indicated that the new record market is littered with losers.

Jim Allison, station manager at WLAP, doubted that any more new releases would be played if the old records were not enjoying a revival.

"You'd probably only hear the new ones a little more frequently," he said.

But determining how often something should be played is decided after someone determines what should be played.

At both WVLK and WLAP, the program and music directors have this chore and disc jockeys aren't at liberty to deviate from it.

Both station's personnel review the music lists weekday. The barometers for deciding what records should be played are:
  • What are the stations in the bigger markets play? Playing copycat isn't a bad risk when the copy is a high-powered station like WABC in New York. Local stations get weekly lists on what everybody is doing.
  • What are people buying locally and nationwide?
Both stations canvas record stores in Lexington to see who is buying records or requesting records the stores don't have.
 
Requests Count
 
Outside influences often affect the local market if requests are made for a record many people have heard either on other stations or while visiting or travelling out of town. Spotting a trend-setter gives a local station an edge.

The nationwide sales figures come through trade magazines like Billboard and Cash Box which keep track of current and promising hits as well as bad bets.
  • Call-ins to the radio station. WVLK has a request line with an automatic recorder. It is checked twice and hour.

"If people take the time to call in a request, they obviously like it," Jordan said, adding that the day and night call-ins generally reflect the tastes of the different audience and the station changes its oldies to reflect it.

Admittedly, there is not much variety in music programming on rock stations in markets the size of Lexington.

Variety usually happens in two other locations:

  • Small towns with only one radio station where programming variety isn't hampered by competition.
     
  • In cities the size of Chicago, where variety doesn't come from the individual stations, but among them.

Jim Allison, manager of WLAP, said a station's goal is to get the biggest "share" of the market. In Chicago, the classical, jazz or talk-show format share could be as large as the entire Lexington area listening audience.

But in most cases, the rock audience is the best target for advertisers and even in the biggest cities where stations are vying for it.

With the stations so concerned about giving a lot of time to the national hits, it would seem discouraging to local talent which looks to the local radio stations for promotion of the products. It is.

"We Listen…"

"We listen to them" comments Kent, "but we can usually tell they're not going to be anything. I can usually listen to a record and tell if it has it or not. Lexington is not a market for big records."

Allison added, "It's a risk to play an unfamiliar record. Our people are close enough to the business to be pretty sure of something before they play it."

Jordan admitted that most local records can't compare technically with the high-styled product from the big studios, but said, "We can give play to new artists and hope that we can 'break' the record. We're a little luckier because we're not in a major market."

Behind all this clamor to play the best of the least the most often is ratings. The most popular stations can charge the highest advertising rates. Besides, being number one is the point of doing anything with a commercial bent to it.

The results of the annual survey of the local radio market will be out in approximately two weeks. Number one -- WVLK is the apparent market leader -- will no doubt be vocal about it.

Figuring out who is number two, three, four, etc., will be another matter.

Radio lover signs on as co-owner of station
This article appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on December 1, 1986

By Tananarive Due
Herald-Leader staff writer

Paul Hughes, president of Hughes Media Cos. of Lexington, describes himself as a "multimedia enthusiast" but says that radio will always be his first love.

Hughes has dreamed of owning his own radio station since he was 16 years old. On May 27, that dream came true when his first station, WMAK in London, signed on the air. He hopes a second station will be on the air by next spring.

"It was a childhood dream. Once it's in your blood, it never goes out," Hughes said, recalling that when he was growing up in Baltimore, he built a recording studio in his bedroom so he could tape a high school radio show.
 
Before fulfilling that youthful dream, however, Hughes tried his hand at radio and television programming, broadcasting and production; advertising; and graphics. He also had a go at journalism.
 
Hughes Media Cos., which began as an advertising agency operated out of the back seat of a Chevy, today is parent company to an advertising agency, a graphics studio, and a separate partnership formed to build and operate radio stations.

The company is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. It has grown from employing three people to employing 13 people. The company offices recently were moved to a penthouse in downtown Lexington, where Hughes has a sprawling view of the city from his office windows.

Hughes got his start in the media at age 19, when he joined the Air Force. A recruiter had sold him on joining by telling him he could get some experience in journalism. Instead, Hughes was sent to Mississippi and told that he would be trained as an air traffic controller.

"It's the same story you always hear -- my recruiter lied to me," Hughes said.

But he was undaunted. While he was being trained as a controller, he got an unpaid air shift at a 50-waft bootleg radio station that had been built in the barracks.

Although the station operated without licensing it was shielded from Federal Communications Commission regulations because it was on a military base.

But the Air Force, too, frowned upon its operation. Hughes, seeking Air Force approval, said he approached superiors in Texas with an idea for developing carrier current radio stations on other bases. Carrier current stations use a type of closed-circuit transmission.

"They thought it was an intriguing idea, so I was sent to design some blueprints," Hughes said.

That experience merely whetted Hughes' desire to work at a real station, and he took a night job on a nearby Biloxi operation.

He also wrote for the Biloxi newspaper and worked some at a local TV station. Meanwhile, he also wrote for the base newsletter.

At a glance

Paul J. Hughes III, president, Hughes Media Cos.

Birthplace: Louisville; Sept. 27, 1949.

Education: University of Kentucky, telecommunications, 1973-76.

Family: Divorced.

Career: Air Force, 1969-1973; WTVQ Television, 1973-74: WEKY (Richmond), 1974-75; WBLG-AM/WKQQ, commercial producers, staff announcer, 1975-76; WVLK, commercial producer, 1976-77; Hughes Media, 1977-present.

Quotation: "Go to a small operation and get some real working experience. Try to define specifically what you want and go do it. That's how I feel I've benefited....A lot of schools don't prepare people for the realities that will be out there."
 

After leaving the Air Force in 1973, Hughes came to Lexington to study telecommunications at the University of Kentucky. He worked at the newborn WKQQ, then took a job with WVLK. By day, he was Paul J. Hughes to adult listeners, then "Pablo" to the younger set at night.

But that never seemed to be enough.

"I was always bored on the air,' Hughes said. That boredom sometimes led to run-ins with managers because Hughes liked to use plays on words and occassionally told jokes his managers though were unacceptable.

While still working full time at WVLK and attending classes at UK, he and two friends decided to start an advertising agency. One of the three had a friend at a local Radio Shack store, and they made a pitch for its advertising.

Radio Shack hired them. Hughes said the advertising campaign was "very primitive," but it was a small beginning. Their "offices" were the back seat of Hughes' Chevy.

Concerned about a conflict of interest, Hughes quit his position at WVLK and moved into a small office with his then-partner Skip Olson and a secretary.
 
"We were very determined, and perseverance and midnight oil kept us rolling," Hughes said.
 
Hughes and Olson bought Creative Concepts, a failing graphics studio in their building. Olson now is director of Creative Concepts.

"I'm in awe of the fact that he's held everything together," Olson said of Hughes: "He's got a determination and he's always got a real desire to do the best possible job. It's everything to him"

Hughes Media has handled Dawahare's clothing stores' account for 7.5 years. Hughes Media wrote the "No One Does It Better" slogan, for which Hughes does the voice-overs.

His company's growth has its price, Hughes said. He used to have a role in every aspect of this company, from writing to shooting the videotape to voice-overs. Now, "I'm involved less and less with the creative side of the agency," he said.


Paul Hughes, president of Hughes Media Cos., has a good view of downtown Lexington from his offices.

Despite his success as a businessman, "my real love has been radio programming, the marketing approach the station uses on the air to secure listeners," Hughes said.

In 1981, he began to think about owning his own station. He met his partner, Kevin Moore, through Moore's work as sales manager for a statewide radio station network, the Kentucky Network.

Hughes and Moore found they had a mutual interest in radio and spent two years researching locations to determine where a new station might work.

They formed Hughes-Moore Associates Broadcasting Co. in 1983 and obtained a permit to operate an AM station in Midway and began building a tower on the Midway College campus.

That decision was "Biting off more than I chew, as usual," Hughes said.

The school administration changed its position about the tower, so Hughes and Moore had to find a new site and repeat the application process. They ended up spending $30,000 more than they had planned.

Meanwhile, their attorney in Washington , D.C., told them about an AM radio station in London that had gone off the air.

"We were a little leery of it," Hughes said. "We looked into Laurel County and looked at...the community and population to determine if the station could do well."

They bought the station's equipment and license, and they were in business.

"It's twice as hard as you might think it is," Moore said. "It's quite an investment."

They picked an oldies format, primarily songs from the '50s, '60s and '70s. Many of the records are from Hughes' personal collection, he said.

They chose the call letters WMAK because they had belonged to a popular Nashville station Moore had listened to while he was growing up there. And they picked Sam Cornett, who once worked for the original WMAK in Nashville, as the operations manager.

Cornett previously had worked with Hughes at a Richmond station.

"He seems to be consistent," Cornett said of Hughes. "Anybody who's consistent in this business is going to be successful. … He would not be where he is if he didn't have some method.

Cornett said that while the station is starting small, he expects to see it grow.

"This is the first time I have worked for a station that signs off at sunset," Cornett said. "The reason I'm here is I do have long-term plans with this corporation. I believe in Paul."

Moore said he and Hughes are "interested in pursuing other properties, primarily in Kentucky." The Midway station has been on the back burner because of WMAK, but Moore said they hope it will be on the air by spring of 1987.

Moore said that he and Hughes make a good team. "I think we complement each other because Paul is good with the on-air part of radio and I'm goad with sales" Moore said. "It's got to sound good, and it's got to make money."

Hughes said it is difficult to measure WMAK's listenership for advertising purposes. Stations in smaller markets do not get ratings in the same way that larger ones do.

"Basically, you just convince the local merchants that you're doing the right thing," he said.

He said that community activities his station has sponsored also give it recognition. Promotional campaigns have included a Halloween dance, opening an abandoned bank safe to find historical "treasures" his station had planted inside, and mailing tickets with numbers to everyone in town.
 
"We believe that being very locally oriented is the key in our success there. It's not just the music that makes the radio station."

If anyone knows what makes a radio station, Hughes does, his friends say.

"He probably works too doggone hard, to tell the truth," Moore said. "But he knows the radio business very, very well. He knows Lexington media very well."

"His strength is his intuition and knowledge in the broadcast media," Olson, at Creative Concepts, said. "I'd put him up against anyone in that area."

Hughes' perspective has changed in one significant way -- he has gone full circle from breaking radio rules to making them.

As a manager, he recalls his own on-air antics and acknowledges that be would now object to such tactics.

"The one thing I've learned in radio is that you have to stay within the local community's good-taste definition," Hughes said. "A radio station walks a fine line when it decides to do something off color or risqué.

"It's a matter of community awareness as an owner. You have to follow the community instinct."

They're radio active
Live morning-show lineup keeps disc jockeys hopping
This article appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader Lifestyle section on November 15, 1987

By Robert Keiser
Herald-Leader staff writer

It is 8 a.m. and Larry Holmes is short, pudgy and white.

Most commuters listening to him on the radio as they inch towards jobs in Lexington do not know that, though.

Only the coffee-powered morning crew at WKQQ-FM can see, through the window of Studio B, that Holmes is really creative director Alex Bard.

Bard, whose hottest on-air impression is of Holmes, looks nothing like the champion heavyweight. He has shoulder-length hair, a round, cherubic face and a harder-hitting assortment of punch lines than punches.

But all that is fine, because this is radio: a never-never land where the Eagles still play together, the 1960s live and people never look like they should.

"You can sound like Robert Redford on the air and still look like Mickey Rooney," said Karl Shannon, morning disc jockey at WVLK-FM.

Some listeners think it's the real Larry Holmes they hear on WKQQ, said Bard, who also does a number of other voices for the station.

"If you have an imagination," he said, "you can create any kind of world you want."


Dave "Kruser" Krusenklaus and Kelli Gates

Call letters: WKQQ (98.1).

Target audience: Ages 18 to 49 with emphasis on baby-boomer listeners from 25 to 40.

Typical artists played: John Cougar Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones.

Krusenklaus' favorite artist: The Chuckwagon Gang.

Gates' favorite artist: Zamphir, master of the pan flute.

Memorable on-air moment: When a call-in show began to flop, Krusenklaus made a joke about the phones not working. A General Telephone Co. repairman promptly visited the studio to fix them.

Philosophy: "We try to do a show in which we're just average Joes doing a radio show," Gates said.

 

The challenge, more than ever, is to capture the listener's imagination in an increasingly competitive market, disc jockeys say.

Most of that responsibility falls to the morning "drive-time" jocks, whose shows -- all of which are live -- receive the most exposure.

"If you get a good morning team and it clicks, the rest of the day clicks, too," said Barry Brown, general manager of WMGB-FM.

Kelli Gates, who shares the WKQQ control room each morning with Dave "Kruser" Krusenklaus, said the "competition keeps us on our toes."

Stations in larger markets were faced with more competition after the Federal Communications Commission deregulated radio in 1981, said Ralph Hacker, general manager of WVLK-AM and -FM.

Until then, radio stations had been required to air some programming geared to the town in which they were licensed to operate.

Since deregulation, stations licensed to smaller towns have been programming to compete in larger markets nearby, Hacker said.

Central Kentucky communities with stations that compete in the Lexington market include: Winchester (WFMI), Paris (WCOZ) and Georgetown (WMGB).

"Small towns gave up having radio stations," he said. "In every case, the little stations were bought up by out-of-town folks and moved as close as they could to the big city."

As a result, Lexington radio listeners have more choices than ever, Hacker said. Bud Walters, co-owner of WFMI in Winchester, concedes that many of them listen to at least two stations each day.


Indy Jones

Call letters: WFMI-FM (100.1).

Target audience: Ages 18 to 34 and women; teens.

Typical artists played: Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Whitesnake:

Jones' favorite artist: Paul McCartney.

Memorable on-air moment: Jones, who prides himself on being quick on the uptake, did not see the punch line coming when a man called live to suggest a joke of the day. "Joe mamma," the man said. Jones, stunned, just laughed. Most phone calls are taped now.

Philosophy: "Music is the basis for our success.'"

 

Morning listeners, many of whom are facing another day at work, search for a friend, said Frank Baker, one of the morning "Breakfast Flakes" on WMGB-FM.

They also listen to the radio for escape, he said.

With music videos and increasingly explicit television and movies, radio writers and personalities say their medium is the last frontier for the imagination.

"People's imaginations are one of the neat parts of radio," said Krusenklaus, the WKQQ disc jockey and operations manager.

Krusenklaus, 34, is a veteran disc jockey whose irreverence, quick wit and dry brand of humor make him the David Letterman of Lexington radio.

In fact, an old issue of People magazine, its cover adorned with Letterman's cigar-chewing face, is propped up on a table in Krusenklaus' office so that anyone entering is greeted by them both: the wags of late night and early morning.

Don't let Letterman's presence fool you, though. There in his office, "Kruser" becomes Krusenklaus, the semiserious operations manager who smokes a lot of cigarettes.

Only in the booth is he Kruser. But he clings to that identity once he walks into the control room -- whether he's on the air or off.

"Could you grab me some coffee?" he asked Ron Mace, the station's right-hand man.

They are in the booth, but they are not on the air.

"What do you drink, decaffeinated?" Mace asked.

"Yeah," Kruser said. "Black."

Then he smiled.

"You," he told Mace, "are like Lauren Tewes of 'The Love Boat': the perfect cruise director."

Laughter filled the booth as the disc jockey started up Steely Dan's "Kid Charlemagne."

"Like some people have genes for baldness or dark hair, sometimes I think I have a performance gene in me," Krusenklaus said later.

"I'm kind of a private person….But I like to have a good time and be wild on the air."


Jack Pattie

Call letters: WVLK-AM (590).

Target audience: Ages 25 to 54.

Typical artists played: Bruce Springsteen, Carly Simon and Kenny Rogers.

Pattie's favorite artist: Manhattan Transfer.

Memorable on-air moment: Pattie doesn't care to talk about the most memorable moment. Just say this: He wrote a letter of apology soon afterward.

Philosophy: "If you want to listen to music, you can always stick a tape in. Full-service radio, like what we do, is better. Well, maybe not better, but more solid."

 


Jack Pattie, the 35-year-old veteran disc jockey who rides WVLK-AM's morning show, said he also had "kind of a wild, crazy image" on the air.

"But I'm not," he said.

Pattie, who looks -- and sometimes acts -- something like a life-size leprechaun, has attracted a loyal following with his fun-poking humor and call-in show.

He has two young daughters, one of whom gets the credit for the idea behind his whimsical ads on LexTran buses. The ads depict Pattie hanging on the side of the bus, his tie whipping in the wind.

Yes, this is the same man who teaches Sunday school classes and works in his family's jewelry store in downtown Lexington.

The disc jockey's life is not glamorous, said Gary Green, 34, morning man on WLAP-FM.

"When I get off the air, I just like to go home and play with my gerbils and not be bothered."

On the air, it's a different story.

As long-distance owners take more risks, stations are taking more callers, sponsoring more contests and doing more special shows. Take WKQQ's Ms. Morning Show pageant, for instance.

For fun and prizes, the contestants parade in front of judges, including Baird's Holmes -- in bathrobes. Oh, yes -- and they answer questions such as, "Lava lamps: passing fad or permanent part of American culture?"

"What they're looking for is someone who's able to take a little bit of abuse," said Phyllis O'Dell, 41, who won the 1986 pageant.

"I like the morning show," she said. "It's a lot of fun."

At least two stations -- WLAP-FM and WMGB-FM -- have tried injecting more fun into their morning shows just this year.

WLAP-FM, which abandoned automation in favor of live broadcasts in March, has seen its once-faltering ratings rise dramatically since the change.


Pete Hamlett and Frank Baker

Call letters: WMGB (103.1).

Target audience: 20 and up; women.

Typical artists played: Steve Winwood and Whitney Houston.

Baker's favorite artist: George Thorogood.

Hamlett' favorite artist: Sting.

Memorable on-air moment: Days before Lorne Green's death, Hamlett announced the actor had died. "I guess we really scooped 'em on this story, didn't we?"

Philosophy: "...If listeners feel a little bit better and go to work smiling and laughing, we've done our job," Baker said.

 

WMGB enlivened its music some but attracted more attention by retooling its morning show March 16.

The morning disc jockeys, program director Pete Hamlett, 28, and Frank Baker, 37, are imports from Columbia, S.C. and call themselves "The Breakfast Flakes."

Their off-the-wall humor and suggestive repartee with listeners is a mild form of "shock radio," a popular approach in many large cities.

But even with that, Baker, who makes most of the off-color comments, would stand out because of his Deep South accent.

The tacky joke of the day, he tells listeners, is that International Business Machine Corp. is making a new typewriter called the presidential Selectric.

"It has no memuhry," he says in his speeded-up Jimmy Carter drawl, "and it has no colon."

Off the air, he laughed about the joke, "I'm sick," he told Hamlett. "I'm sick, sick."

Hamlett agreed.

"Cahmudy's tough," Baker said, grinning. "Cahmudy's tough, and we prewve it ev'ry day."

The key to being competitive is aiming for a certain audience, general managers say.

How each fares with listeners of different ages and men and women is reflected in the ratings compiled by two services, Arbitron and Birch.

Those in the industry disagree on which service is more valid, but they do agree on one thing: Birch ratings tend to favor stations with younger listeners, while Arbitron favors those with older audiences.

Birch's summer ratings show that for all listeners, WFMI had the largest share of listeners. Rounding out the top five were WKQQ, WVLK-FM, WLAP-FM and WVLK-AM.

The Lexington market includes 15 stations. In Arbitron's spring book, the top six stations overall were WLAP-FM, WVLK-FM, WFMI, WKQQ, WVLK-AM and WMGB.

The higher level of competition creates some additional pressure, disc jockeys say.


Gary Green, "The G-Man"

Call letters: WLAP-FM (94.5).

Target audience: Ages 18 to 49; women.

Typical artists played: Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen.

Green's favorite artist: Boxcar Willie.

Memorable on-air moment: Green made a prank phone call, telling a woman she would have to reschedule her wedding because of a mix-up at the site she planned for the reception. "Oh my God," the woman said, her panic being broadcast across Central Kentucky. "What the hell am I going to do?"

Philosophy: "People are primarily listening for the music, and more you yak, the less you play.'"

 

"There's a lot more competition here than in other places the same size," Green said.

"There's one thing about this business. When you come into one station and mention another station's call letters, it usually rings bells."

Green, a direct but friendly man with a boyish face, bristles at the mention of competing stations.

"We're leading the market, and you get all these little, suburban stations acting like they're doing so well," he said, sliding headphones over his ears.

Green does have kind words for one competitor: longtime friend Indy Jones, program director and morning disc jockey at WFMI-FM in Winchester.

Jones starts spinning dance tunes for this station's young listeners while the streets of Winchester are still dark and the Clark County courthouse glows a ghostly white.

"He's one tough jock," Green said, as the phone in the booth rang.

A young caller made a request.

"Sorry," Green said into the phone. "We don't play Motley Crue here."

"A lot of females listen to this station," he said after hanging up, "and they wouldn't like Motley Crue much."

"That kid who called is probably 13 or 14 years old and wears black T-shirts."

Not exactly WLAP-FM's target audience.

"The targeted audience is something more and more advertisers are looking for," said Brown, the general manager of WMGB.

Radio has made a comeback since stations began targeting their audience more, Brown said.

"I think what has happened with radio (is) it's a lifestyle medium now," Brown said. "You can have access to it almost anywhere you go. And young Americans are tremendously active now."


Eric Stevens

Call letters: WLAP-AM (630).

Target audience: Ages 25 to 49 with emphasis on 35 and older.

Typical artists played: Lionel Richie, Huey Lewis & The News and Marvin Gaye.

Stevens' favorite artist: Steve Winwood.

Memorable on-air moment: Once, at another station, while Stevens was telling listeners about a flood in which people died, a co-worker laid on his stomach on a table and made paddling motions with his arms. Stevens had to struggle to keep from laughing during the somber newscasts -- and was not entirely successful.

Philosophy: "The greatest compliment anybody can pay me is for them to say, 'Hey, he's my friend on the radio.'"

 

That includes disc jockeys, said Eric Stevens, WLAP-AM's morning man.

"You gotta be active," said Stevens, who WLAP newsman Craig Cheatham good-naturedly calls "GQ Johnny Fever."

Fever was the ragged morning disc jockey on the now-syndicated television series "WKRP in Cincinnati."

Stevens is an amiable, outgoing man who wears his hair swept back, his shirts crisp and his ties straight.

He stays active doing wedding receptions, parties and picnics to supplement his income.

"It's a high-risk, low-profit field," he said.

Especially in the mornings. On a recent day, the clock said it soon would be 10 a.m., and the booth around Stevens was filled with smoke.

He took a drag from still another cigarette and chased the nicotine with coffee.

"Boy, I sit here and chain-smoke and drink coffee like crazy," he said, smiling. "This show's hazardous to my health, I tell you."

Stevens sighed and looked up at the clock on the wall. "One more contest to go," he said.

Moments later, the clock said 10.

The phone was still, another morning was over, and Stevens plugged in one last song:

"Happy trails to you,
"Until we meet again.
"Happy Trails to you,
"Keep smilin' until then…"

 

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