Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Marietta's James Wilder

James Wilder - He is one of the many people who parade through my life that I found amazing.  He owned WBIE Radio Station, which was a walk up to the second floor, on the first block of Atlanta Street.  He was an indebt reporter of local news and was a hands on operating owner of the radio station he owned.

He drove a two-two baby blue and white Ford, something like a 1956 model.  It had emergency lights on it which helped him get through traffic to a fresh accident.  I was told he made a lot of money being the first photographer on hand at automobile wrecks, not for the news for his radio station but to sell the photographs to insurance companies involved.

At times he would work endless on his prerecorded radio program and lie down on the floor of his office, take a brief nap, then, get up and back at it.  I have heard Jim giving the time and the whole show was recorded days ago.  I guess he had a system or a formula  by the rolling digits on the tape recorder that he could translate into minute and seconds, and if the tape started playing the exact moment it was suppose to, then the time of the day could be accurately said.

WBIE played country and western.  It also played lived Rock-a-Billy.  True,  Billy Joe Royal and his band performed live for a short time on a week day (after school.  I forgot the exact time of their show, I think it was something like 5:00 pm, I think it was either a 15 or 30 minute show.  Which, I was fortunately enough to attend several of the live shows.

At the time we lived on Richard Street in Marietta.  Jim and his family lived on the street behind us on Toliver Street.  It was not a pretentious house at all.  It was  a house that could have very well be the farmhouse of a poor family.  The type of house with big rooms with high ceiling - like a 4 room house.

When he died in the 70s his station was worth millions.  His son was a musician with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  I don't know, but I doubt if country and western music was his son's forte'.   

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