Hal joined the WONN sales staff in September of 1973 after a brief stint at WQPD at the other end of Lime Street. It was about the same time WONN’s new owner, Joe Garagiola, announced his intention to buy Winter Haven’s FM station, WHFL, and turn it into a full-time country music station. Joe made it known that he was relying heavily on Hal and the rest of the WONN sales staff to help make his new purchase fly.
At the time, most people seemed to think that a country music format in sophisticated Winter Haven would not be sellable and that sales on the new FM could never match the more established AM stations. As it turned out, it would be Hal’s job to act as point man to make it all happen – and happen it did. The station’s sales team began selling live remote broadcasts and participated in promotional events like local coverage of the Daytona Firecracker 400, Friday night high school football games, and local talent to fill live airshifts at WPCV’s studios in Winter Haven.
Hal personally met with Hugh Culverhouse of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers which resulted in the Bucs players and Swashbuckler dancers and cheerleaders making personal appearances at advertisers’ locations. There were tie-ins for publicity that brought a lot of excitement to the community. When Bobby Bowden took over at Florida State, no station wanted to broadcast the Seminoles games, so Hal seized upon the opportunity and marketed clients and events with the station, resulting in a winning combination.
Connecting sales, marketing and news events became an important integration. Under Hal’s leadership WPCV covered political rallies and broadcast election returns. On one occasion he had the staff go out with a mobile unit to bring back reports from a disastrous storm with accompanying tornadoes, providing coverage long before the area TV stations arrived. Hal was instrumental in other events of significance at WPCV, too, including broadcasting the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of the Lakeland Civic Center in 1974 with Florida’s governor, Ruben Askew, and U.S. Senator and former Lakelander Lawton Chiles.
Hal stayed with WPCV until Hall Communications bought the station. Since 1981 he has run his own promotional advertising business, Hal Paul Enterprizes, in Lakeland.
1973 - 1981 WPCV-FM 97.5 - Winter Haven (Sales)