Thursday, January 12, 2012

One for the Road

I noted with sadness the passing of Bill Trumbull on Tuesday at Prince William Hospital, about a mile from where we live. I wasn't aware he and his wife lived in the area, in Bristow. Bill was part of the ambiance of the Washington area during a 36-year run on WMAL-AM.

During the years when 'MAL ruled the airwaves, they had a lineup that that ran all day and all night with memorable personalities and, yes, good music on the AM band. FM radio was not established in the area at that time. People set their clocks and checked their schedule against the shennanigans of Harden and Weaver in the morning, followed by Tom Gauger, then Bill with partner Chris Core in what was called at first "Two for the Road" and soon changed to "Trumbull and Core" and Felix Grant with his cool jazz program and Bill Mayhugh overnight. John Lyons was an incredible weekend guy and fill-in.

Like many other people, my car pool buddy Mike Bartlett and I listened to Trumbull and Core on our drive home. They made taking the traffic a lot easier. The show featured an eclectic mix of music and comedy. Trumbull's self-deprecating humor was laugh-out-loud funny and the fellow always seemed to be suffering some disaster. By all accounts, he was a nice man, a rarity, I understand, in the radio business.

Chris Core did a touching tribute to his friend and partner yesterday on his "Core Values" feature on WTOP-FM. You can follow this link to listen to it:

I remember the fun and the silliness, but I also remember that terrible day thirty years ago tomorrow when Air Florida Flight 90 slammed into the 14th Street Bridge. We had had an early dismissal from school because of the snowstorm and it took Mike and me three hours to drive from Fairfax. Trumbull and Core kept us company the whole way. As we were coming down Barnett Street to Mike's house (we did not move to the neighborhood until 1988), Chris Core came on and announced that an airplane had hit the bridge and gone into the Potomac. It was a chilling and memorable moment, part of the dark matter of life in the Washington area.

My condolences to Bill's family and friends. Somehow, that friends category includes all his listeners. Rest in peace, Bill Trumbull.

1 comment:

  1. I'm cutting in an email I received from Mike Bartlett as a reaction to the post. Mike is a good man.

    Good Morning Dan,

    Just finished your blog for today. Great job, truly one for the road. Sorry to hear about the passing of Bill Trumbull. I remember that story of the drive home like it was yesterday. Pat even remembers what we had for dinner!!! as we were glued to the TV in the kitchen. That same night as I recall there was also a fire in one of the Metro tunnels which really created a shortage of emergency responders. This in addition to the snow which by itself is enough to bring things to a standstill.

    Those guys on WMAL were all great announcers. We especially liked Felix Grant. Pat says he had a really sexy voice, and the music was not bad either... goes on and we are enjoying every minute.
    Thanks for a walk down memory lane. Those were the days of the shiny red Bobcat and the great Impala.

    Keep warm and healthy,