Listening to Count Basie play Lil’ Darlin’

Wow. It has been a long time since I listened to this.  I had the chance to meet Count Basie when I was in High School in Cincinnati. He was playing at the Miami Boat Club. Many thanks to Bob Lodder for taking me to hear him!

740 AM WNOP, The Jazz Ark, Radio Free Newport, was the radio station that I listened to the most. As they often said, “A little to the right of WLW 700.” The only AM radio station that programmed jazz.  WNOP played lots of big band and small ensemble jazz. Instead of traffic reports they would report on the boat traffic on the Ohio river: “Oh look, there’s one over there” was a pretty typical report.

I actually got to go aboard the Jazz Ark one nite. Me and a friend of mine (Rob) drove over to Newport, KY and down to the riverside where the station floated. Close to the suspension bridge. Yes, WNOP actually floated in the Ohio River.  One of the evening DJs was standing outside studio on this little balcony and saw us looking at this thing.  Three large, orange tanks connected together bobbing in the Ohio river.  He invited us in for a tour. It did not take long. Think of touring the inside of a large RV.  Inside it was quiet, sort of office like.  I only wish I had the photos from back then.

Anyone else familiar with WNOP ?


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