April 2024



Our most recent monthly business meeting at the Shop and via Zoom was Monday evening, April 22nd. The next meeting is scheduled for June 3, 2024, as usual, at 7:00 PM; this is to avoid conflicting with Memorial Day.  Thereafter, we will revert to our usual schedule of the 4thMonday of each month: The next meeting will be June 24th. We will check with Boyd Bailey, who hosts our meetings to assure the link is active for each of these dates.

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 863 3057 9924

Passcode: 631140

There have been internet outages at the Shop, including during our last business meeting. These have been relatively short-lived but unpredictable and pesky. Steven Westbrook contacted our ISP and the problem has hopefully been corrected remotely.

One of the new initiatives is the formation of an Executive Commitee (EC) consisting of our elected leadership (VP, Treasurer, Secretary, and President) plus one representative member from each segment of the Board]. The Board members are John Outland, Ray Giles, and Tom Killian. We plan to meet for an hour or so prior to each Monday night business meeting to identify, prioritize, and resolve issues. Of course, major items will still need to be addressed by the full Board. Our first meeting was April 22 wherein we worked on our charge and organizational details. One thing we determined is the necessity to assess our nonprofit 501 (c)(3) status, to assure our record-keeping remains fully compliant. Although not triggered by any event, warning, or audit, we feel it is consistent with good business practice. Society finances, by the way, are in good shape.

I want to personally thank those on the EC for their willingness to serve above and beyond in this capacity.

Boyd Bailey’s electronics class was deferred in April, but will be held on Saturday, May 4th at 9:00 AM and will cover resources offered by the California Historical Radio Society. If you wish to attend via Zoom and have not gotten the link and “study materials” sent by email, let Boyd know at boyd.bailey@charter.net. We plan to send a society-wide announcement shortly. Please pencil in June 8thfor the next class. Isolation transformers is the tentative topic.

Finally, Boyd has created a chronological and comprehensive listing [that accompanied his email class announcement] of his classes during the past 4 years. On behalf of the Society, let me wish Boyd a happy anniversary for his past efforts, and those to come!!

Our next auction has been pushed back to mid-June, the 15th, but looks to have a nice selection. We will send the auction catalog and details when we get closer to the event date.

Dee Haynes, Steven Westbrook, and I drove up to Gadsden to meet with Harry Butler, author of the book: A History of Radio Broadcasting in Alabama 1920-1960. He has nearly completed its second revised edition and expects it to be published soon. We also visited the Gadsden Museum of Art and contacted another local museum to ascertain if there was any Society owned items in their collections. Although there are none found, this was part of our ongoing efforts to identify and catalog the Society’s library and other holdings. We wish Harry the best as he finishes the publication.

Our very own Dr. Wag, being a docent at the antique medical display at the Gadsden Museum of Art

The museum cabinets project in the Alabama Power atrium, that required lighting rewiring, have been largely completed. However, the members involved have become concerned with fading of the information placards that may signal potential light damage to original photos and documents, as well as the radio items on display. We asked staff at the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) with whom we worked on the exhibit in Montgomery for guidance. Their representative Dr. Erik London, who attended the Legends event, also visited our exhibits in the atrium and provided advice on conservation. Our plan is to shield objects from direct sunlight, as much as possible, and safely store original photos and documents, displaying only high-quality reproductions. Dr. London also provided resources relating to grant writing, long-term strategic goalsetting, and potential partners to further our work as an historical society. We look forward to working with him in the months and years to come.

Dee Haynes & Grady Shook working on the cabinet lighting project

Tubes! Tubes! Tubes! John Outland, Ray Giles, and Grady Shook have created a master plan to organize our hoard and plan to put out a call for volunteer sorters in the near future.

The recent Birmingham Amateur Radio Club’s BirmingHAMfest showcased members Russ McGuire and Dave Cisco, who presented a forum on their love of, and accomplishments in, DX-ing. The talk is to be presented soon in Tuscaloosa and in Gadsden to their respective amateur radio groups. The Huntsville Hamfest is not too far off and we plan to be there on Saturday, August 17th, 2024. We surely can use volunteers to help select items and man the tables. Please let us know if you can help!

Our annual Legends of Broadcast function and luncheon was held Thursday, April 18th, 2024, and by all measures, was a true success. We estimate 50-55 attendees; the event gave the broadcast legends an opportunity to socialize and our society to share in the experiences of these individuals who made Alabama radio history. The keynote speaker was Bob Mayben. Among the attendees were Dr. Bala Baptiste, Professor of Communications and Division Chair at Miles College and Alan Franks, MFA, Assistant Professor and Broadcasting Director at UAB. Dr. Baptiste is author of the book Race and Radio Pioneering Black Broadcasters in New Orleans. Mr. Franks brought several UAB students with him.

We had a full house at Legends 2024. Harry Butler (bottom right in grey) is addressing the attendees and standing on the right, in black, is Bob Mayben, the keynote speaker.
.Harry Butler and his daughter; Dave Cisco and wife Celeste; Dr. Erik London from the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Facing away are members Maurice Lovelady, John Outland, and Maurice Hill (who took photographs of the event for our archives).
Our Legends door prize, was a NOS (New Old Stock) vintage novelty radio and WRKK logos.
Our sign-in table with a photo honoring the late Ed Boutwell.
“Dollar Bill” Lawson, his wife Mary and Janice Young, who graciously welcomed our guest to the Legends event.

In keeping with our mission as an historical society, we were recently provided an antique radio and operator for inclusion in a documentary film being produced and directed by local filmmaker Greg Womble. He is producing a film on Nazi spies in New York City during World War II.

Society member, Rick Curl recently donated hundreds of episodes of the following radio programs to the Society’s archive:

Chicken Man

Firesign Theater

The Goon Show

The Tooth Fairy

In closing, I took my wife to the Shropshire English countryside last month. A very nice visit though still a bit cold, wet, and blustery. No antique radio sightings until the last day when I was allowed a couple of hours in the RAF Museum Midlands at Cosford near Birming’um which did have a small section on bomber wireless operators and navigation. This is a topic for another time….

Respectfully submitted,


President, AHRS


Biography of Bob Mayben, the Keynote Speaker at the 2024 Legends of Broadcast event


Bob Mayben and wife-to-be Joanne, WETO Gadsden Alabama, 1963

Bob Mayben, WJBY Gadsden Alabama, 1973


Bob Mayben, WMYU Oldies 102, Knoxville TN, 1998

Bob Mayben writes that his interest in radio began in 1958:

I went with my dad to visit   his lawyer friend, who had an office in the Pioneer Life Insurance building   in Gadsden Alabama. The building also was the home to the WCAS,   570 kc (a daytimer, then) studios. A big double glass window in the lobby   held me at bay while I watched in amazement as a guy played records on these   "HUGE" (16") turntables, while sitting at a science fiction   movie-ish control panel. And thus began my love of the radio business.

I began listening to local and   area radio stations. I was fortunate to be able to hear WSGN in   Birmingham and witness the magic that Jim Tabor brought with   him from WABB in Mobile. Then I discovered the   "clears" that skip in at night. I still have my Cousin   Brucie Fan Club card!

Since October 1963, I have made a   living from this wonderful business which is also my hobby. I went up through   the ranks of the stations in the area, WETO, WGSV, WPID, WAAX ,   and WCRL to finally become a PD of WJBY and WLJM-FM in   my hometown. Eventually my interest went to the engineering side, and I have   enjoyed being a "chief' at many stations in the southeast, including a   stint as Engineer in Charge of the CNN Radio Network for   "Ted".

Since 1999 I have been a   salesperson for SCMS Inc., (selling broadcast gear of course),   and I do a weekly oldies show for FUN 92.7 in Huntsville,   AL. I have collected stuff on tape for too long, and thought I would share   with you.

The Repository thanks Bob Mayben for sharing!

Greg Womble is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, freelance writer, location scout, and founder of Womcom Media. His current project is production of the feature documentary COVERT DEVOTION: THE AURORA RITTER STORY, a film about the WWII exploits of Greg's 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Ritter, and her infamous German spymaster husband. More info at www.womcommedia.com.

Greg's 2022 short documentary, LOVE WITHOUT PAROLE (a co-production with journalist Elaine Witt), which is currently being seen on PBS stations nationally via the series Reel South. His public radio experience includes working as a writer/performer in “The Science Police,” a franchise that evolved into science education programming for Kentucky Educational Television.

Greg has also produced the short films VISITOR TO VIRGIN PINES, A DAY AND TWO HOURS LATE: MY HUNTER S.THOMPSON STORY, and others.

Womcom Media’s current documentary production, COVERT DEVOTION: THE AURORA RITTER STORY, is the true WWII-era story of Aurora Ritter, an Alabama school teacher who is deceived by her German-immigrant husband, Nikolaus Ritter, when he emerges as the leader of one of the largest enemy spy rings in American history. Thirty years later, Aurora taught 8th grade English, and Greg Womble was one of her students.

Society member John Outland being filmed operating a Morris code key for the film in the break room of the Society
Film Director Greg Womble, Cinematographer David Smith & Society member John Outland
Actors who portray Aurora Ritter and her family in the documentary film

Obituary of Society Member, James Thornley Rogers

SEPTEMBER 21, 1933 – MARCH 22, 2024

James T. Rogers (Briggs), age 90, of Hoover, Alabama, passed away on Friday, March 22, 2024. Jim was born on September 21, 1933. He was retired from the Jefferson County Courthouse IT Division. Mr. Rogers was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy K. Rogers; parents, Briggs M. Rogers and Jospephine Schollar. He is survived by lifelong friend, Marguerite Rome (Don) and nieces, Leslie McCarley, Laura Hancock (Steve), Lizabeth Rigsby (Jimmy), Susan Mann (Jim), Cynthia Jordan (Sonny), Joanna Jackson (John), and Jennifer H. Flynn. Jim was a loving husband of Nancy for fifty-one years until her passing in September 2023. He called their marriage “the love story of a lifetime). Jim served in the U.S. Navy in Communications. Jim was also an artist (using the pen name of “Briggs”, after his father). He was an ordained minister and worked with the Advocate program at Lifesong Ministries. He was a HAM operator enthusiast and a member of the Alabama Radio Museum. The family will receive friends on March 27, 2024 at Elmwood Chapel Funeral Home from 10am until 11 am in the Maple Room. Burial will be at Elmwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to one of Jim’s favorite charities: St. Judes and Samaritan’s Purse.

Meteorologist-Reporter Fred Hunter to retire from WBRC FOX6 News

Fred Hunter(WBRC FOX6 News)

By Shannon Maze, WBRC News Director

Published: Apr. 2, 2024 at 9:37 AM CDT

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - WBRC FOX6 News Meteorologist-Reporter Fred Hunter is stepping away from the studio after 27 years of forecasting and delivering Absolutely Alabama to our viewers throughout Alabama.

Hunter has been with those viewers through it all -- from 1997, to the deadly tornadoes of April 27, 2011, to Snowmageddon of 2014 and dozens of tropical systems from New Orleans to Palm Beach. He’s traveled the state to deliver stories that are Absolutely Alabama. His stories have covered famous places and people across the state as well as everyday Alabamians applying their talents and going about their everyday lives.

For years, viewers have spent Christmas mornings with Hunter as he traveled the state highlighting some of the best stories of the previous year. His Absolutely Alabama Christmas series is an Alabama tradition.

Hunter’s career began at a small radio station, WZOV, in his hometown of Ft. Payne in 1971. He has worked in television since 1976 in Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Myrtle Beach, and Austin. He eventually joined WBRC’s First Alert Weather team in 1997.

“I am filled with gratitude and love for the viewers who have welcomed me into their homes over three decades,” Hunter says. “It has been an honor to share your stories.”

Hunter has been recognized with numerous awards including recognition from The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, Jefferson County Historical Commission, Daughters of the American Revolution, Alabama Broadcasters Association, and Alabama Department of Tourism.

As he steps away from forecasting and reporting, Hunter plans to spend time with his grandchildren and pursue outside interests.

“I look forward to having quality time with my family, to rejoin my church family, and the freedom to do something new,” he added.

Hunter will end his time at WBRC in April of 2024.

Copyright 2024 WBRC. All rights reserved.


By John Portune   Submitted by Society member Rick Curl

A project builder’s version of the well-known law of the universe: “Buttered toast always falls butter-side downward.”

It was, I believe, Richard Feynman, the well-loved outspoken American theoretical physicist known for his seminal work in quantum mechanics, who said, “There are only two classes of people in the world: those who understand the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy), and those who don’t.” I think he may have overlooked electronics experimenters and ham radio operators. To me, they know otherwise.

Entropy — the supposedly inviolable law that all systems tend toward disorder — is, in fact, questionable for anyone who builds and invents. It manifests in the way screws and nuts jump out of your fingers when you’re working on a project. Clearly, these tiny, seemingly inanimate objects are the best evidence that there is more to the Second Law than meets the eye.

I put it this way, “Screws and nuts have a mind ... a visibly perverse mind.”

I’ve been keeping my eye on them for years now. They are FAR from inanimate, believe me, I know. Here’s the evidence at your workbench. See if you don’t agree.


  • It will always roll much farther than you believe it can.
  • If there’s something it can roll under, it will.
  • It will always roll in the opposite direction of the sound it makes in falling.
  • If it falls without making a sound, you will never find it.
  • When it hits, it actively seeks a hiding place that you “just can’t quite reach.”
  • If you try to find it with a magnet, it will be made of brass or stainless steel.
  • If it falls on a carpet, it buries itself deep in the pile.
  • When you think you’ve found it, it will be the screw you dropped from your last project and could not find. What’s more, your action will warn all the other dropped fasteners so that they will continue to elude you (sent to me by Phil Irwin).
  • If you lay it down all by itself on your workbench, it will move. It takes the opportunity to move so that it won’t be in the same place when you come back for it.
  • You’ll find it in your shoe when you’re undressing that night.
  • If you are able to watch it fall, it will know you’re watching it and will give up and forego its evil intentions. This is your only hope of beating the Second Law.


  • Big bolts and nuts will always hit and damage something, like a late-model Mercedes, Lexus, or Cadillac.
  • If you’re at home, they will always bounce just outside your property.
  • They will seek out flower beds and dense ground cover, and scrupulously avoid plain surfaces and driveways.


  • If you need four screws for a roject, there will only be three in your junkbox.
  • If you need a one inch screw, the longest that will be in your junkbox will be 3/4 inch.
  • If you need a 6-32 nut, all the nuts in your junk box will be 8-32 or larger.
  • All screws in your junkbox will be slot-blades if you need a Phillips.
  • Your local hardware store is always out of the size you need, except in brass if you need stainless.


  • Solder hardens one millisecond  after a component is too hot to hold onto.
  • If you spill something on your workbench, the only paper in your reach to wipe it up will be your schematic.

I’m sure at least a few of these have resonated with you. Feel free to send your own screw(y) rules to me at jportune@aol.com.

Quotes of the Month

“A radio with no listeners is just a transmitter that is talking to itself.”

- Unknown

“Nothing is more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

-Sherlock Holmes

We meet every Saturday (unless a Holiday weekend) at 8:30 A.M. until around 11:30 A.M., at the one-story AHRS Shop at the corner of 8th Avenue North and 18th Street, (1801 8th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203). Please use the rear (Southeast) entrance.

The Shop is open on Tuesdays at 8:30 A.M. until around 11:30 A.M. Note that parking can be a problem on Tuesdays, so you may have to find street parking occasionally.

Regular monthly members meetings are on the fourth Monday night starting at 7:00 PM with the Executive Meeting starting at 6:30 PM

Please come join us!

The electronics classes are generally on “Zoom” and “in-person” at the AHRS Shop, typically the first Saturday of each month (except when something special is taking place, then we agree on an alternative Saturday)

Check your emails for the schedule and how to participate.

We start from the beginning Ohms Law, inductors, resistor and Capacitors color codes, as well as what each component does within the radio circuits. We also teach how to use test equipment used in the repairing of radios. We teach troubleshooting radio troubles, as well as how to read a radio diagram.

Currently the class is studying advance topics relating to troubleshooting and project radio repair. We are retooling our website in hopes of archiving prior classes for those who may have missed a prior class. Email will provide timely details on date, topics & links.

There are coil winding classes, and one-on-one repair help. Come join these classes!

Membership dues are $25.00 a year, payable beginning in January. If you have questions about your dues, you can contact Treasurer Mike Woodruff at 205-823-7204. Dues can be mailed to AHRS at P.O. Box 131418, Birmingham, Alabama 35213 or paid on-line at https://alhrs.org

Be sure and check out our website at https://alhrs.org, which has copies of all newsletters from 2006 to the present (click on News), videos, photo galleries, museum, Old Time Radio columns, Projects, Reading Rooms, Archives, and Contact Information. Within the next few months we hope to update our website and add additional content and new capabilities

President – Richard “Wag” Waguespack

(205) 531-9528


Vice President – Steven Westbrook

(205) 305-0679


Recording Secretary – Grady Shook

(205) 281-3007


Treasurer – Mike Woodruff

(205) 823-7204


Boyd Bailey, Member and Instructor

(334) 412-6996


Newsletter Editor/Webmaster – Steven Westbrook

(205) 305-0679


Web Address:


E-mail Address:


Youtube Channel: Alabama Historical Radio Society - YouTube