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408 ı am not sure of the date of this event, but I think it is 1968. There was so much social and personal change in my life from 1966 to 1970 that exact times are a bit gray or foggy in my memory.However, the details of the event I am going to tell you about are still sharp and clear in my mind. I am in the little WABX production room with another staff member and I am voicing a spot for a Donovan album. At this point in the tale I need to add some background information on what was happening at this crazy little radio station located on the thirty-third floor of the David Stott Building in downtown Detroit: Our crappy little office space was jammed with radio equipment and record shelves piled on top of cheap royal-blue carpeting. The engineer at this time was a character named John Detz. John was also in the naval reserves and served as an assistant to a naval chaplain. His job was to accompany the chaplain when he had to visit a Detroit family and tell them their child had been killed in the Vietnam conflict. John was about to meet fate along with a small gang of hippie DJs with delusions of changing the world, one Cream, Frank Zappa, or Beatles song at a time. John Small was the program director and general manager of WABX at this time. John was an affable, glad-handing kind of guy that was easy to like. Without any warning, he suddenly resigned and became head of WKNR-FM. The owners of WABX also owned a small chain of FM stations in the Midwest and knew that they might have a money machine in their Detroit property.They told Detz he could be the big kahuna if he could prove he could sell commercial time to sponsors. Meanwhile, they brought in a sales guy from somewhere in Ohio who was told the same thing. At this time WABX still had some of the sponsored programs that had been the station’s main money stream. We had the German hour and the Polish something-or-another plus some right-wing The Day I Saved WABX Dan Carlisle Dan Carlisle sitting on bench at WABX-FM. Photo Courtesy of Dan Carlisle. 409 Dan Carlısle Bircher crap—but they paid good money. So this other guy was going to try to sell the station as a block programmed facility. Now back to the day in the production room doing a Donovan commercial. We knew that we were twenty-four hours away from the deadline of who could prove they had signed up more business for the station. The winner would get the prize, complete control of our beloved WABX. The little studio we were in was no more than a closet really, and opening the door with two of us in it was not possible. Suddenly, it opened just enough for me to see someone’s face. It was the Ohio guy, leering at us,and he said to me,“You hippies might as well not do that commercial because tomorrow I am going to be your boss and you are all going to be fired.”He laughed and shut the door. At six p.m., I was to start my show, and on my way to the studio I glanced into the depressing and dingy office that the establishment guy was using. On the desk was a yellow legal pad and on it were his leads with names and phone numbers and how much they would pay to book time. It was a warm evening, and the building, which was a lovely old deco thing, had no air conditioning so the windows were open in the office.The windows in this building were tall and wide. They were framed by dark wood that probably was elegant in the 1920s. I remember the curtains were kind of ballooning from the kind of light breeze you get when you are thirty-three floors up. I picked up the yellow legal pad and began tearing out the sheets and reducing them to small confetti-like pieces. When I had completed the destruction, I grabbed a couple of handfuls and let them drift out into the early evening and onto the streets below. I told Dave Dixon what I did later in the evening when he came in to do the night show. The next evening...


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