Who's Who at WLAK

Ed's Co-Workers

Powell Adams
Bert Arnold
Garland Burt
J.C. Davis
Grand Ole Opry
Zeke Holland
Tom Kennington
Lakeland Speaks
Bill Lee
NBC Monitor
Earl Rahrer
Randy Robinson
Joe Trivette
S.O. Ward

Ed Richmond

Ed was originally from Connecticut and moved to Lakeland in 1954. His interest in broadcasting began during his senior year at Florida Southern College after enrolling in a course in radio and TV writing.

At FSC, he met Gary Anderson of WLAK, who invited him and a friend to visit the station. As it turned out, the boys had developed a comedy program called “The Sam Show,” which featured humor based on satire and parodies of recent local and national events.  Gary told them that if they were serious about developing the show on a regular basis, he would donate a fifteen-minute segment of his “1430 Club” once a week to air it. They were, and it became a regular fixture on Gary’s show.

Then one day in 1956, general manager S.O. Ward called him into his office and asked if he would like to be a disk jockey.  Naturally, he jumped at the chance, and was hired as a part-time staff announcer to take over the “1430 Club.” He was also given the green light to continue producing “The Sam Show” each week, which began airing right after NBC’s 11:00 news on Thursday nights.

After a visit to the studios of WTVT in Tampa, Ed decided he wanted to leave radio to go into television, and landed a position as a projectionist/switcher with WEAT-TV in West Palm Beach in the fall of 1957. After working his way up to director, he left a year later to join WSUN-TV in St. Petersburg as a producer/director. Unfortunately, the station soon went on an austerity program. Since he was the last of five directors hired, he became the first to be pink-slipped in early 1959.

One of his tasks at WSUN was producing and directing a daily one-hour live variety program, featuring various guests from the region. One who appeared on the show numerous times was an explorer from the St. Pete area who invited him to go along on an upcoming expedition to Guatemala. As it turned out, he was the only one on the trip who spoke any Spanish.

Upon returning to Florida, Ed decided to leave broadcasting for a career that had something to do with languages, so he enrolled again at Florida Southern College for a second degree, and studied French, German, and Spanish. After graduation, he applied for, and received, a scholarship to the Free University of Berlin. The year was 1961, at the height of the building of the Berlin Wall.

Once back home in the fall of 1962, he encountered difficulty securing a job suited to his polyglot talents, so he accepted a position teaching high school German and Spanish in Miami.  Finding that he loved the profession, he went on to study for and earn both his Master’s Degree and Doctorate. After a stretch of 25 years at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, he wound up his teaching career in 2000 as Professor Emeritus of Modern Languages and International Affairs, and retired.

Today (2011) Ed lives with his wife, Toni, on Harbor Island, SC. These days, the only broadcasting interest he still has is his ham radio station, a hobby he’s been devoted to for more than 50 years.

Station History

1955 - 1957 WLAK (On Air Personality)

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