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Willard's Early Days

From the Washington Post, January 16 1955: This article by Lawrence Laurent was entitled "Where there's a Willard, there's a way in Radio-TV."

Willard in 1955 WRC announcer Willard Scott has achieved his main ambition very early in life.

At the age of eight he decided he wanted to be an announcer, a decision that resulted from a quick tour he took of radio station WJSV, now WTOP. This station was an outlet of the Columbia Broadcasting System. But Scott's ambition, lured by the sound of chimes, was to work for the National Broadcasting Company. (The chimes are still the only reason he can give for wanting to be in the employ of NBC.)

The way Scott remembers things, he began "playing radio" the day after his tour of WJSV. It wasn't until six years later, however, at the ripe old age of 14, that he found a job in radio.

The first job was with WGFM, which was looking for a high school reporter. Scott won the audition and was given 15 minutes of air time to fill every Saturday. After that, he branched out. Scott landed a job at Alexandria radio statino WPIK, working in dramatic programs featuring students at George Washington High School.

In 1960, he went into "big time" by landing a job as a page at WRC, then located in the Trans-Lux Building. He was 16 when he took his first NBC audition. But when he failed to get the summer relief announcer's job, he realized he needed "more than a page's experience before NBC would hire me as an announcer."

Wise for his age, Scott kept his job as a page and hired out as an announcer at WINX in 1952 and at WOL in 1953. He was with WOL when NBC gave him his first promotion. "I was made an NBC coordinator," he recalls. "This is a guy who rubs his stomach and scratches his head." But he was soon demoted back to page. "I think," Scott muses, "that I'm the only NBC page to be promoted from page to position and back to page again."

May 16, 1963, Scott won a job as an announcer. They still chuckle at WRC over the conscientious application he submitted when he went after this job. One of the questions asked if the applicant had any experience in leading people. He answered, "Yes." How many people? Scott wrote: "2000." In what capacity? He wrote: "President of Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior Classes at George Washington High School."

Three months after he landed the job, Scott was added to the permanent announcing staff. And shortly afterward he was given a program called "Twilight Tunes." What did Scott replace? He remembers it this way:

"I replaced a soap opera which was right in the middle of a thick plot. One guy was ready to break out of prison. A lady was about to have a baby. Instead of the climaxing installment, the listeners got me when they tuned in the following Monday.

"After a few complaints, I called New York and foudn how the dramas had ended and explained to my audience that everything was all right in the soap opera. This satisfied them to some extent."

"Twilight Tunes" later was expanded from 15 minutes to 30 minutes and Scott has been spinning disks six days each week from 5:30 to 6 PM ever since. He also heads a 5 minute nightly show on WRC-TV called "Shadow Stumpers." This is seen at 11:25.

There should be a bright future for this 20-year-old with seven years' experience. In June, he will be graduated from American University with a degree in philosophy and religion, and right after that he is scheduled to put his 6-foot 3-inch 235 pounds into an Army uniform.

Army duty doesn't particularly bother him except for one thing. He's still a growing boy and consumes five quarts of milk daily.

He's not certain the Army will supply the milk.

(We also have this series of articles by Laurent, covering more aspects of the Joy Boys show. Thanks to Kaptain Kidshow for contributing these items.)

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