"Hello Fellow Americans,
This Is Paul Harvey. You Know What The News Is...
In A Moment, You're Going
To Hear The Rest Of The Story."
Ok, so here's the question: how do you describe a
station that for 20 years has remained completely dedicated to both it's
format and listeners? Well, to start off, it takes a special kind
of radio personality to make it happen. This person has to have a rock
solid background in broadcasting, and should know Long Island like a book.
He must have the ability to keep his ship
(or radio station if you prefer) 'steady as it goes', even through the most
difficult of times.
It must be a warm person who not only cares about his station's listeners, but personally
remains active within the local community as well. I can only
think of one person who completely fits
description and made everything happen. That person is Long Island's very own Jack
Ellsworth, better known within the radio community as "The Silver Fox'.
Radio Station WLIM AM 1580
Stereo (Home Of The Silver Fox)
Before I go any further, let us not forget the driving force behind the man who
made everything at WLIM possible.
I am talking about Jack's lovely and
highly talented wife Dottie, who for over 20 years was the station's Vice
President & General Manager. Both Jack and Dottie made WLIM the premier
station for Long Island's favorite music... American Popular Standards
& Big Band.
Dottie and Jack Ellsworth
In the words of Paul Harvey:
And Now- The Rest Of The Story!
The year was 1970. I
was 13 years old when my family moved from Jackson Heights to Long Island.
Our kitchen radio was set to one station... WALK 97.5 FM, which is where I first
heard the Jack Ellsworth program. Our entire family really enjoyed Jack's
splendid taste in big band and popular standards music, along with his warm
personality and charming on-air sense of humor.
For many years to follow, I
grew up listening to the Silver Fox. From witty news comments about the
big band artists to winter school closings, my family was hooked on Jack's
program. I also learned a lot about the Big Bands from listening to him!
One morning, things were especially quite in our
kitchen. Much to my surprise, the radio was off. I asked my mom if
it was broken. She softly said the music had changed on her favorite
station and all the people sounded different. Sad to say but the station
we listened to each morning for many years had completely changed it's format
over night. Most of the familiar voices we grew up listening to were all
but gone. Luckily, one very familiar voice had returned on another
station. You guessed it... the Silver Fox was back, this time on
WLIM AM 1580.
Very Own Jack Ellsworth On WLIM 1580 in Patchogue
(Photo 2001 courtesy of Russ Ted)
The Silver Fox - Spinning Those Great Big Band Hits
on WLIM 1580 in Stereo!
Click The Above On-Air Sign
To Hear Jack Ellsworth's Original
First Air-Check Transcription Demo!
The WLIM Broadcast Facility
For over 20 years, Jack
and Dotty were the proud owners and operators of WLIM 1580 in Patchogue, New
a station which previously held the call letters: WPAC. I never thought I would meet the person
who charmed my entire family on the air with his great choice of music selections. I am happy to
say, that day came in December 1996 when I was introduced to Jack and Dotty by my
friend Mike Erickson (WFAN), and long time WLIM On-Air Personality and
operations coordinator Bob Stern.
Mid-day Host Bob Stern of the
WLIM Broadway/Hollywood Revue
Bob and I share many common
interests. In particular, we are fascinated with vintage recordings and
movies. Thanks to Bob and Mike, I was introduced to Jack and I must say,
it was truly an honor meeting the Silver Fox in person for the very first time.
We all sat down in Jack's office and started talking about radio and all the
famous recording artists he knew personally. I was completely taken back
when he showed me a picture of him posing with Benny Goodman (the photo is located on the upper left side of the
main air studio wall). Jack was also personal friends with Dick Powell.
In fact, Jack and Dick were considered pen pals and kept in close contact
each other for many years.
Most impressive is the
extensive music library at WLIM. This the heart of the programming and
what sets this station apart from all the others. You name it, WLIM had it
and played it!
WLIM's Music Library (Vinyl
is still alive and well... they also use digital compact discs too!)
Processing Rack, Phasing Cabinet and Transmitter
When atmospheric conditions
were perfect, this station could actually be heard thousands of miles away. That's
right, specifically Nova Scotia. I was at the station with Bob Stern one
evening when Mike walked in with a QSL letter and a cassette from a DX'er in Nova
Scotia who recorded about 10 minutes of Mike's show, and requested a
reception confirmation. I believe the receiver used in the DX which
captured Mike's WLIM station identification announcement was a Grundig.
WLIM News Room (An Affiliate Of
ABC Network News)
WLIM Production Studio (basic, yet highly functional)
One truly interesting piece of information about Jack Ellsworth's past radio
history deserves to be mentioned. Early in his career, while working at
WALK FM, Jack was going through a pile of air-check tapes submitted by
Disc-Jockeys seeking employment. He came across one tape, which back then,
had an unfamiliar name and voice on it. Having a well ‘tuned’ ear for
prospective talent, Jack wasted no time hiring the 'unknown' person on the tape.
Today, that person is credited as being the all time #1 air-personality and
voice-over artist in the broadcast industry, both here in the USA and throughout
the entire world. His name: Dan Ingram.
"Big" Dan Ingram
news arrived on July 16th 2013, when we heard that Dorothy (Dottie) Shiebler,
the wife of Jack Ellsworth had passed away at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital
Medical Center, after
complications from illnesses. Dottie was 85.
More sad news arrived less than 2 months later on
September 12th, 2013, when we also learned that Jack Ellsworth had passed away
from a recent illness. Jack was 91. Both Jack and Dottie were true Long Island radio icons,
and will be missed but never forgotten.
I personally thank both Jack and Dottie for allowing me to be
a small part of WLIM's family of friends, and for bringing many years of great
music, happiness and
splendid memories to their audience. I
have never met
a nicer pair of people in the entire Long Island
community. Thanks again for all the wonderful memories. This WLIM tribute
page is dedicated to the
both of you!
Your Buddy Rick Hall
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