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What are your "All Time Favorite" songs?
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"All Time Favorites!"
I was caught off guard again today when I learned of the passing of another WESC Alum, Country Earl. It seems like yesterday we said goodbye to Wally Mullinax and now it's time to say goodbye to Earl. Wally and Earl were a lot alike in many ways. They both knew how to make a radio listeners and advertisers feel special.
Country Earl was really "old school" for WESC working there in the early days before FM radio was prevelent. Just Google his name and search the images. You'll see a very young man behind a WESC microphone. In the 1980's, Earl came back to WESC for a 4 hour show on Sunday nights playing Classic Country music. Sunday nights does not generally garner lots of listeners, but Country Earl had a large following of not only loyal listeners, but loyal advertisers. One of my jobs in the early years was calculating the number of commercials Earl did so he could be paid. It amazed me how successful he was.
What really made Country Earl's show popular was, it was kind of like a club. He named just about everyone that came to eat at his restaurant, "Country Earl's Chompin' And Stompin'"...talked about their illnesses...what they were wearing....and also called out some for not being there. Advertisers loved him because some nights they got the 60 seconds they paid for.....and other nights Earl would go on for 3 to 4 minutes about an advertiser.
One of my favorite Country Earl memories is that anything with a 2 in it was "Tootie." It's highway One Tootie Three in Easley. Or, the Tootie Five by pass. He mastered phrases that we'll remember for years.
What I will take away from Country Earl is his enthusiam for what he did. Being a musician himself, he loved the music he played. He knew that it took a ton of skill to make what his listeners enjoyed. He was also enthusiastic about those who advertised with him. It wasn't about ratings or the length of time Earl spent talking about them. It was more about the person that listened to Country Earl would be the type of person they would want as a customer. Times have changed, but the simple things you learn in life last forever.