Friday, June 14, 2013
I found this in a junk shop recently. The introduction reads "Welcome to a world of delicious eating, the 1984 WSBA/WARM 103 Cookbook! In the pages that follow, you will find recipes to please every Central Pennsylvania palate, as compiled by home economist Doris Thomas" It's existence led me to believe that in the early 1980s there had been a cooking program on one or both of those stations. Actually I assumed that 103.3 WARM was still simulcasting 910 WSBA-AM at least most of the day in that era. I was wrong. I also haven't figured out who Doris Thomas was.
WSBA-AM has been on the air since 1942. During the 1960s and 1970s, WSBA was a big Top-40 format station in the Harrisburg and Lancaster markets. But as FM rose in prevalence they moved inexorably toward a talk format like many. In fact in 103.3 FM in York only signed on in 1983 and in early 1984 it was still WSBA-FM. But it's programming was already AC and different from WSBA-AM. They didn't get the WARM-FM call sign until 1988. "WARM 103" was the brand name. They borrowed the brand and callsign from another Susquehanna property WNNX in Atlanta. They kept that brand and that stale playlist until 2011 when they dropped the pre-1980s cuts and became "Wink 103." After their usual multi-week stretch of all-Christmas music that December they returned in January 2012 as "Warm 103" but with the same newish playlist. More here. There is no way this station was airing a cooking show.
But I found in the 1979 edition of The Working Press of the Nation, a single reference to a home-maker show. The program "Housewife Oriented" hosted by Rod Burnham was airing as late as 1979. Rod was the PD of WSBA following their move from Top-40 to AC. Burnham is reputed to have fired a lot of staff in his tenure prior to their flip to news/talk, it's hard to say if the station had a cooking program—even briefly. While I've confirmed that WSBA-AM did have home-maker programs in the 1940s and 1950s... I suspect the real answer here might be related to a home economics program on WSBA-TV.