Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Sobering Thought Without Being Drunk

After writing the piece about Tony Brunton, I began to think about all the people I worked with at WICC.

Morning dj Bill Coddaire; afternoon dj Harry Downie; evening dj’s Reed Upton and Al Turk: all passed on. News Director Tony Brunton, reporter John Martin, same. I think our Chief Engineer, Pat Uliano, is gone as well.

They are frozen in my mind as people of a certain age, mostly in their 20’s. But that was fifty years ago and, as they pass on in their 70’s, I probably would never recognize them. Nor would they be able to pick me out of a crowd. When I look at my high school senior year photo, taken when I was already in radio a year, then look in a mirror now, there has been quite a change over the years.

The younger set doesn’t realize why the obituary reading is such an important part of the program I do for the visually impaired and elderly. You get to a certain age and you know a lot of people. You know them, or their spouses; you know them through your church, your work, your social organizations or their children.

In my case, so many of my friends are frozen at some time in the past. When I worked in a high school, there wasn’t much of an age difference between me and the students. They are now 57, 58 years old -- and I still see them as 17 or 18. They’re looking toward retirement and I see them cutting lawns for movie money.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought that a particular person "has it all?" I had a friend named Mike. He was popular, musically talented, and funny. He never met a girl he couldn't charm or a guy who didn't want to be his bestfriend. I spent my youth wondering why I couldn't be more like Mike - until I learned he had Leukemia. It's my grandfather's adage all over again... be careful what you wish for. Mike died in his early 30's. Popular to the bitter end, Mike packed 'em in for his funeral.

September 18, 2008 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Carten,

Bill Coddaire was my uncle. I'd be interested in any particular memories you have of him

October 29, 2008 8:02 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Bill was a really nice guy, could run a complicated and busy morning show as if it were the easiest thing in the world -- which it sure isn't.

He had a really good singing voice and, with his guitar and/or "Music Minus One" records (in this case, minus the vocal) he handled himself quite well.

I've never heard anyone who could "tease" a contest as well as Bill. He could tease it for the better part of half an hour and still keep you listening for it.

He was active in his church, where my mother (the parish secretary) knew him in that role -- both Bill and his wife.

He had his demons, most of which came out of a bottle. But he overcame this one and I rather suspect he was happy to be out of NYC radio, working at WGCH.

We used to correspond for a while after I left the station and he was at WHN (1050, whatever it is now) in NYC.

He was a true pro on the air and I have warm memories of him.

October 29, 2008 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks- those are some nice thoughts and I will send them along to my Aunt. He was a great guy.

October 30, 2008 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, I'm just his granddaughter thought i'd weigh.....then again I have nothing to say except it is cool for to me to know he was involved in music b/c that is my passion (my future) as well.
Marina Coddaire

November 19, 2008 7:10 AM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Hi Marina --

Welcome to the discussion. I miss Bill a lot, even though it's been many years since we worked together at WICC.

Terry and I talked on the phone the other day and had a nice chat.


November 19, 2008 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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