It was one of those cold, rainy and raw days that leaves you chilled to the bone. The year was 1996 and I sold radio for 94.7 WMAS and the mighty AM 1450 WMAS. The Music of Your Life was still tearing up the airwaves and Your Pal Murphy was in fact George Murphy who went on to great success as the host for WGBY’s Making It Here. AM 1450 WMAS was actually the top Adult 12+ station in Springfield through the late 90’s. George was the morning guy with his News Director Kevin Lynn.
I was a young radio sales rep that didn’t know you weren’t supposed to burst into the studio with heart felt stories about clients……Especially with the On-Air light on. But, that’s exactly what I did. A little girl needed an operation and it was going to cost $10,000. The insurance was only going to cover part of it, and her parents were having a hard time coming up with the rest of the money. George and Kevin finished up their show at 10am….I popped my head into the studio about 9:58am.
I told them the story and there was a long pause. A REALLY long pause as George just stared at me…….He just stared and probably thought who was this stupid salesman and why was he telling me these sad stories?……… But, George just flipped the mic back on and re-told the story to his fans. He and Kevin stayed on the air for the next 12 hours as they pitched, prodded, and poked at their listeners in hopes of raising the money. The parking lot was full of cars, truckers were blocking West Street, and there was a stream of people dropping off money all day….(Yea, PayPal hadn’t been invented yet). Just cold, hard, cash being dropped off at the studio……Sometimes in pennies, dimes and nickels.
AM 1450 always had a horrible signal after dark, and it was extremely bad on rainy days. It would “motor boat” and you could barely hear anything above the roar. None of that mattered, because the people who could hear George kept flooding into the station. Until we reached the magic number….$10,000. We did it! George and Kevin did it. The power of live, local radio and a community of listeners who came together to help save a little girl. This is why I love radio. This is why I have made it my life for over 26 years.
I remember and share this story today after going to George Murphy’s wake. Looking at all his pictures, and talking to his family brought me back to that day. Thank you to all the radio DJ’s who have done the same….Thank you George. ….You did good. Real good. R.I.P my friend.