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Russ Altizer

Russ had been managing a small radio station in Bassett, Virginia, when he moved to Tampa in the spring of 1973 to work in sales for WQYK. One of the biggest and most remembered promotions the station ever ran was one that Russ cooked up in 1974 – a guitar picking contest at Paragon Music Center on West Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa.

The premise was simple: the last participant still picking after all others had been eliminated was declared the winner. The contest started on a Sunday at 12 noon and ended early the following Friday morning. WQYK carried live on-the-scene reports every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, from Sunday through Friday. Dick Rumore, the owner of Paragon Music, says that it was the Pick-a-Thon that got his business up and running. Look in the Photo Album under Mobile Units to see a picture of the Pick-a-Thon in progress.

Russ continued to work in radio sales until 1981 when he joined the sales staff of WFTS-TV Channel 28. In 2002 he took early retirement and today (2005) continues to live in Tampa where he runs a media buying service. With a partner, he also runs a company called Big Hit Reunion.

Station History

1973 - 2002 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (Sales)

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