Into the "Real" World

Print This Page Send This Page To A Friend

Graduation Day came and went. There I was --- 21 years old, 16 years of school, a college degree, and not a clue as what I was going to do for a job.

Then, out of the blue, came a phone call from station WOL in Washington. The program director, Max Marvin, was looking for an assistant. I was in his office as fast as I could travel into town from Silver Spring. Max wanted someone to program music, write some news, and do any odd jobs that needed doing. It was a fulltime job and it was a start in AM radio. Eventually, I even did a little announcing on Saturday nights. And through a contact I made at WOL, it led to a job as a producer with the Far East Service of the Voice of America. I was responsible for getting programs in Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Mandarin Chinese and Russian on the air. It was a lot simpler than it sounds.

The job at the VOA had a nice side benefit. The huge studio complex was housed in the same government building where my Dad worked. My work day started in the dead of night and ended in the middle of morning ... just in time to have a cup of coffee and a doughnut with my Dad before heading home. It was no longer a father with his boy --- it was a father with his adult son.

My dad didn't live as long as he should. But those mornings began a nice relationship I enjoyed with him the rest of his life. We were becoming adult friends.

In those days, young men were being drafted into military service. I had a deferment while I was in college. After graduation, I was automatically re-classified "1-A" ... the most eligible for active duty. Early in 1955, I was drafted into the Army. That was the end of my days at the Voice of America.