When helping Dad milk cows as a kid on the farm, we would always listen to WOWO, 1190 on the AM dial, a 50,000 watt clear channel station broadcasting out of Ft. Wayne. Dad felt WOWO had the most accurate weather forecasts since Ft. Wayne was west of us and their weather eventually made its way to midwestern Ohio. Most of the time, for a farmer, guessing the weather with some accuracy made all the difference in the world to crop yields, whether at planting or harvesting time. But when he guessed wrong, WOWO was to blame. Below is a photo of the WOWO weather wheel that was used to predict the weather back then. No wonder Dad blamed them!
Also, guessing the best time to sell the harvested crops was doubly important, and WOWO had endless reports of grain and livestock futures from the Chicago Board of Trade, the prime midwest source for commodity prices.
I recall Dad going on a bus tour sponsored by the local chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) at Ft. Loramie High school to see first hand the trading floor of the CBOT. Because the bus traveled through Ft. Wayne on the way to Chicago, the participants also toured the WOWO studios and were called out on the air by announcer Bob Sievers - 15 minutes of fame for Dad and his traveling companions!!
Sievers, pictured above, would claim the music played on the station relaxed the cows and produced more milk! As an example, listen to Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers singing Little Red Barn. The lyrics follow:
- I was born 'way down in Indiana,
- Wish that I were there right now.
- Want to hear my dog bow-wow
- When I go to milk the cow.
- Raised on corn 'way down in Indiana,
- So was ev'ry little hen.
- I was mighty happy then;
- Wish that I were back a-gain:
- In a little red barn on a farm down in Indiana,
- Let me lay my back on a stack of new mown hay.
- 'Round the barnyard where the farmyard folks are pally,
- Let me dilly-dally all the live-long day.
- I'm a Hoosier who's blue, thru and thru, and my heart is pining
- For the sycamore trees where the Wabash breezes play.
- What's more, I'm pining for a yellow moon that's shining
- On a little red barn on a farm down Indiana way.
- Work was done 'way down in Indiana,
- Picked the eggs the chickens lay;
- Pushed the plow and pitched the hay;
- Ev'ry day a busy day.
- Had my fun 'way down in Indiana
- When the sun would go to rest.
- Saw it sinkin' in the West;
- That's the time I liked the best.
- Back to WOWO, for me, the most memorable aspect of their daily broadcast was the segment by Paul Harvey, which will be the topic of next week’s blog. Good Day!
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