A Publication of the Alabama Historical Radio Society January 2023
NOTE FROM PRESIDENT WAG
Monthly business meetings are typically the 4th Monday and so we’ll be back on schedule this month. The next is Monday, January 23, 2023, at 7pm with officers and board members coming in at 6:30. For the out-of-towners and those who cannot get to the shop downtown, a Zoom link will be sent before the meeting. Mack White will give our program. Speaking of Mack, he restored a real antique Edison cylinder gramophone; we’ll try to post the video online in the near future.
The year-end, Holiday party was a success. We had nearly 50 attendees including guests and spouses. The fellowship and dishes were wonderful, and it felt so great to be back post-COVID
Three Board members rotated off their 3-year terms (Tom Killian, Dave Johnson, and Julian Brook), and officers (President, VP, Treasurer, Secretary) completed their single year terms. Tom Killian and Dave Johnson were re-elected for new terms and a new member was elected, David “Doc” Holladay. Thank you, Julian, for your years of service and welcome aboard, Doc! All officers were re-elected for 2023.
Doc sent us a brief bio for us to share:
Hello to all our AHRS members! My name is David Holladay, nicknamed Doc because of, well, the obvious. I retired from industrial facilities machinery installation in 2015 and shortly thereafter I saw the insides of my first tube radio. Looking for someone to tell me what I was seeing, I contacted AHRS after finding a video of Dee Haynes rewinding a field coil. He invited me to come to the shop and I fell in love with tube radios.
For the next year I looked over Dave Johnson's shoulder and absorbed everything he said and did. Of course, I began buying every old radio I found, and eventually I gravitated to Zenith, mostly consoles. I have at present over 150 radios in various stages, and at least one radio in every room of our home including the bathrooms. My wife Susan loves them and I know I've done a great restoration job when she says "Ooh, that would look really nice in the...." and proceeds to tell me where she wants to display it. I am proud to have been elected to the board of AHRS and I promise to do all I can to promote our club and encourage new membership. Need a hand with a radio repair? That's why we're here, so bring it in!
Another photo from the party with Rick Curl (pouring) and Jim Cawthon making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. New board member Doc Holladay (arrow) is behind Rick, with Dee Haynes in the background.
Member Ed Boutwell has stabilized at Fairhaven nursing home here in Birmingham. Please reach out to him and visit if you can.
Our generous gift from the Holle Family Foundation will be used to help with our cataloging and archiving of books, documents, and media holdings to further our mission of preserving radio history in Alabama and nationally. Speaking of radio history, we are planning to hold our annual Legends of Broadcasting in April, tentatively on April 20th, 2023,
Our next Hamfest attendance will be Birmingham’sMarch 3rd-4th (Fri-Sat), 2023. We want to really engage our membership, so please volunteer to help. AHRS has given a forum in prior years and Mack White has volunteered to present one on solar panels, with emphasis on amateur radio.
The exhibit in Montgomery at the Alabama Department of Archives and History is ongoing and its staff has scheduled several invited presentations:
- On Thursday, January 12th , Sharon Tinsley, president of the Alabama Broadcasters Association, hosted a panel on radio programming.
- On Tuesday, February 7th, Bob Friedman will talk on “Black Radio in Alabama.” We are also working with Shelley Stewart on a presentation for a larger Black History Month event on February 11.
We hope to participate in upcoming venues. For times and other details, contact the ADAH.
Our latest electronics class at the Shop was on Saturday, January 7th and focused on safety, testing and alignment, Chapter 11 of Richard McWhorter’s The Vacuum Tube Short Wave Radio. Next month’s class will begin the final chapter on troubleshooting and is scheduled for Saturday, February 4th.
The next auction at the shop is scheduled for Saturday January 28th. The list of offered items will be emailed to you soon.
Be on the lookout for emails “inviting” members to work parties to help sort tubes and parts. The leads for these will be John Outland and Tom Killian.
Hopefully everyone had a joyful Holiday Season and the best possible 2023 to all.
Remember, annual dues of $25 are due as of January 1st, 2023. You can pay by cash, check, or by Paypal on the AHRS website. If you use a check, please mail to PO Box 131418, Birmingham, AL 35213, ATTENTION AHRS dues 2023.
A Brief Biography of Samuel A.T. Spring
By Rick Curl, AHRS Member
My great-grandfather was Samuel A. T. Spring. He was an overachiever (to put it mildly), and a man of many interests. For many years he worked at the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railroad Company (known as “TCI”) in Fairfield, Alabama. He was foreman of the rolling mill at TCI, but he was much more involved than that. In addition to his duties as foreman, he was the Drum Major of the TCI Marching Band, and was coach of both the company softball and basketball teams.
Outside of his job, he was a skilled artist, woodworker, metal worker, gunsmith and radio enthusiast. He was also active in the Zamora Shrine. Many who knew him said he was usually grouchy, but it was just because he was driven with so many interests. He would always find time to make lots of toys out of wood to be distributed to children at Christmas.
His radio scrapbook was made from a repurposed ledger from his office. On the first page you can find the combination to the lock on a huge vault that was hidden in the basement of his house in Ensley, Alabama. Most of the articles in the scrapbook were clipped from the Birmingham News newspaper and relate to the art of radio. As far as I know, he was the first person to put a radio in an automobile. He had an elaborate radio set at home, and would place the speaker next to an open window so people could enjoy a picnic lunch on his lawn as they listened to distant radio stations on his amazing receiver. I have donated his scrapbook the Society.
He passed away in 1946.
Front of A. T. Spring Scrapbook
Sample page of articles cut from the The Birmingham News involving radio. The 2” thick scrapbook is full of these articles all @1920.
One of Mr. Spring's chalk drawings
Mr. Spring in his basement vault
Mr. Spring - Drum Major of the TCI Marching Band
Radio Programming: Present & Past
On Thursday, January 12, the Alabama Department of Archive & History presented the next installment in our Alabama Radio Moments lecture series. A panel of experts and veteran radio hosts discussed the history of radio programming and how it has changed during the course of their careers. The program was moderated by Sharon Tinsley, president of the Alabama Broadcasters Association.
Panel members included:
Rick Peters, CEO, managing partner, president and general manager of Bluewater Broadcasting in Montgomery.
Fletcher “Fletch” Brown, operations manager and program director of Big River Broadcasting in Florence.
Tom Hanrahan, former area senior vice president of programming at iHeart Media in Birmingham.
Lee Perryman, owner of RadioAlabama based in Sylacauga
The program was held in the Joseph M. Farley Alabama Power Auditorium and also streamed live on the ADAH's Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Alabama Radio Moments is a companion lecture series to the Museum of Alabama’s exhibit of the same name, on view through May 2023. Each month through the run of the exhibit, speakers will explore the history and influence of radio in Alabama. The Alabama Radio Moments lecture series is sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Alliance.
Birmingham’s ‘Country Boy Eddie’ passes away ‘peacefully in his home’ at 92
Gordon Edwards Burns, an Alabama TV personality nicknamed “Country Boy Eddie” who was an early supporter of Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Emmy Lou Harris and other budding country superstars, has died at 92. His family confirmed his death but did not provide a cause, saying merely that he died “peacefully at his home” in Warrior, Alabama.
Burns was the host of The Country Boy Eddie Show with Country Boy Eddie, a talent showcase for rising stars. The folksy Burns hosted the show from 1957 at age 27 until his retirement in 1993.
His family’s statement noted “He was a trailblazer for both the Alabama music and television scenes, and his contributions will continue to live on. The Burns family would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the viewers, fans, musicians, and everyone else who made his life so special.”Burns was akin to New York’s long-running Joe Franklin Show, where guests were treated like superstars even though they had yet to gain widespread acclaim.
That helped my show,” Burns once said. “I love people, and I love people who didn’t have a chance.”
Beyond music, Burns provided a platform for comedy, interviews, funeral announcements, advertisements, and general folksy talk with an assortment of locals, ranging from politicians to pro wrestlers.
The program aired mornings on WBRC and on 100 other television stations throughout the South, according to Al.com.
No details on survivors or memorial plans was immediately available.
By Bruce Haring
Radio & TV Around Birmingham
A mural on the wall of a LabCorp building at the corner of 18th Street, South & 1st Avenue, South in Birmingham, Alabama
If unique is what you seek?
Quote of the Month
“Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. ”
― Dale Carnegie
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 8h Avenue North and 18th Street, (1801 8th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203. The GPS address for the parking lot, next Shop, is 759 18th Street, North. 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 Committee 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 what 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. There are coil winding classes, and one-on-one repair help. Come join these classes!
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 dates, topics & links.
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 AL 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 overhaul our website and add additional content and new capabilities
President – Richard “Wag” Waguespack
Vice President – Steven Westbrook
Recording Secretary – Grady Shook
Treasurer – Mike Woodruff
Boyd Bailey, Member and Instructor
Newsletter – Steven Westbrook