Monday, December 15, 2008

Nanticoke Historical Society in the news

Update, 2/12/2011:  The Nanticoke Historical Society has a new website, and a Facebook page.  Details here.

The Nanticoke Historical Society was featured in a story in today's Citizen's Voice:

Nanticoke Historical Society saves, documents pieces of city’s past

Published: Monday, December 15, 2008 11:58 AM EST
NANTICOKE — They’re preservationists, technophiles, detectives and, when the occasion calls for it, Dumpster-divers.

Members of the Nanticoke Historical Society have seen too much of the city’s history reduced to rubble, crumble to dust, get carted to landfills or otherwise irretrievably vanish to be squeamish. When it comes to saving records that might be crucial for charting the South Valley’s history or providing genealogical data, they’ll do what they have to.

“Believe me, it’s a rich, rich history we have in this town,” said Chester Zaremba, the society’s vice president and secretary.
You can read the rest of the article here. You can visit the Nanticoke Historical Society website here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

WNAK is gone

A few days ago I received this comment on my post about Nanticoke's radio station, WNAK:

As a former employee of WNAK it saddens me that Neilson sold the station. I enjoyed the eight years I was there on-air, and the Nightwatch was like saying "goodbye" when the station would go off the air. Mr. Neilson passed away a few years ago but he told me how he made a mistake in the sale and wished we could have all worked together to keep the station alive. Time ran out for all of us and, well under different ownership things changed.

Some good news perhaps, as of Dec 1, 2008, I hear the old sounds could be coming back to WNAK? Let's all hope and prayer!!

I do not know if the format has switched back yet - I haven't tuned in in a very long time. But as of yesterday, the former funeral home that housed WNAK from 1982 until the new owners relocated earlier this year no longer exists.

Former home of WNAK razed for church parking

Published: Thursday, December 4, 2008 4:06 AM EST

The residential Nanticoke building that was home to the small, but popular WNAK radio station for decades and launched many successful media careers was demolished Wednesday.

The building at 84 S. Prospect St. has been empty since early this year, when the station’s new owners, West Chester-based Route 81 Radio, moved operations to a multi-station headquarters in Avoca.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Sadly, when I was taking pictures of the churches in the area of WNAK - including the Nebo Baptist Church, which purchased the building and had it torn down to build additional parking - I didn't bother to take any of WNAK itself. I'm not sure if the sign indicating that it once was home to the radio station - an old-style NBC "N" logo, a holdover from the brief period when the station was an NBC affiliate - was still there. (Owner and broadcaster Bob Neilson would refer to the station on-air as "NBC" long after this affiliation ended, saying it stood for "Nielson's Broadcasting Company.")

Another piece of Nanticoke history is gone.

UPDATE: Yes, it's true. The "old sounds" have returned, at least in the form of easy-listening Christmas music. After the season, who knows? But it will never be the same as I remember it, with Hymn Time (an hour of religious music) every day, and commercial-free Sundays (with the special Sunday jingle "There's something missing from this's WNAK!"), and Bob Neilson giving a daily editorial called "Another Point of View" (with the sound of a chattering ticker-tape behind him) and ending it with the disclaimer that the station would broadcast other viewpoints from "responsible persons," although this always seemed to mean only one person, a woman named Marion Dunstan Karsten of Kingston, PA, and of course, Night Watch ending every day's programming.

UPDATE 2, 12/7/08: Jan Souther, in his column "The Wax Museum" at the Wilkes-Barre Citzens' Voice, confirms that these really are the "old sounds":

The station’s owners realized that what Luzerne County really needs is Adult Standards radio and they wisely kept the music library we listened to for so many years, with a little updating here and there.