Each year, those who worked at some point for WROV AM radio in Roanoke, when it was a rock powerhouse, gather at a home in Cave Spring for a reunion.
Since I served as the on-air discussion moderator in 1968 and 69 for a forum of teenagers on the old Teen Talk show hosted by the late Fred Frelantz, I was invited to this year’s reunion and got the chance to meet Pat Garrett, who maintains the WROV History web site and serves as one of the keepers of the flame that was once WROV AM at 1240 on the dial. Pat, it turns out, is a long-time reader and fan of Capitol Hill Blue, my political news website.
The reunion this past Saturday gave me a chance to visit with some old friends and remember Fred and others from the swinging 60s.
In these days of satellite radio and consultant-managed, chain-owned radio stations, sitting and talking with some of the old hands from the glory days of WROV was a special time. I worked in Roanoke from 1965-69 as a reporter for The Roanoke Times and wrote a column about issues affecting high schoolers, college students and younger adults. Frelantz was a neighbor in the old Jefferson Apartments near Elmwood Park and he asked me to join the show as the program’s guest moderator.
Floyd County has more than one connection to WROV. Pat Garrett has family here. Marty Hall, an FCHS alum, worked at the station as a DJ in the 60s. Martha Weeks, another FCHS grad and Miss Floyd County in 1968, is married to Charlie Boswell, a WROV alum from the 70s.
Marty died a few years ago. Fred died from smoke inhalation from a fire in his apartment in 1986. I ran into Martha at the reunion and we talked about the old days in both Floyd and Roanoke.
Remembering the past. That’s one of the reasons we go to reunions. The other is to see old friends.